GM to Produce 20 New Electric Cars by 2023

GM to Produce 20 New Electric Cars by 2023

Oct 4, 2017

By Charles Murray, DesignNews Future GM battery-electric vehicles will include coupes, sedans, crossovers, SUVs and possibly even pickup trucks. General Motors raised the stakes in the auto industry’s ongoing competition to build more affordable, long-range electric cars this week, announcing it would roll out two more all-new EVs in the next 18 months, and 20 more by 2023. The giant automaker said that the first two vehicles will be “based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.” The others will include coupes, sedans, crossovers, and SUVs. GM told Design News that it would also not rule out the possibility of a pickup truck. To underscore its effort, GM released a photo including eight different vehicles silhouetted underneath drapes, clearly exhibiting different sizes and shapes. The silhouetted figures represent the array of pure, battery-powered cars that the company will release in the next five-and-a-half years, all designed from the ground, up. “The Bolt EV was the first, affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle,” said GM spokesman Kevin Kelly. “We’ve cracked the code. We know how to do it.” GM’s statement comes at a time when much of the entrenched auto industry seems as if it is racing to make bigger and bigger announcements about electric cars. Today, Ford Motor Co. said it has formed an internal unit, called Team Edison, whose charter it is to accelerate development of electric vehicles, while forging partnerships with other auto manufacturers and suppliers. Similarly, Toyota Motor Corp. said last Thursday that it is teaming with Mazda Motor Corp. and with supplier Denso Corp. to “jointly develop basic structural technologies for electric vehicles.” The announcements provide a broad signal that traditional automakers have accepted electrification, but it’s still clear that most of them are unsure how fast it will take place. Industry analysts, such as Navigant Research , have predicted that approximately 4% of vehicles sold worldwide in 2025 will be battery-electric. Other analysts, however, have forecast figures in excess of 20%. “If you try to guess anything out to about 2030, your crystal ball will be pretty fuzzy,” Kelly told us. Analysts today acknowledged that no one’s sure whether consumers, even the younger ones, will embrace pure electric cars. “Engineers are starting to see a...

Robots With More Common Senses

Robots With More Common Senses

Sep 25, 2017

By ThomasNet The ability for a mechanical device to understand tactile sensations and process reactions accordingly has long been a goal of medical researchers. Recently, a team from the University of Houston was able to realize this goal with the use of a stretchable material that can be used with robotic hands to sense the difference between hot and cold water, as well as other sensations. The new material is being referred to as an artificial skin with stretchable electronics. In addition to more lifelike prosthetics, the team led by mechanical engineering professor Cunjiang Yu feels their new advancement could serve a number of biomedical applications. And outside of the medical field, this new stretchable electronic skin could be used for creating wearable electronics and human-machine interfaces (HMIs). The key was creating a rubber composite semiconductor that would allow the electronic components to continue working even as the material was stretched over the robotic appendage. Traditionally, semiconductors are brittle, making their use in flexible environments challenging without complex mechanical support. In addition to gauging temperature, the rubber semiconductor allowed the new “skin” to understand computer signals sent to the hand, and translate them via American Sign Language. The skin is comprised of a silicon-based polymer called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The composition of PDMS was crucial for accurately placing and holding numerous nanowires. These nanowires transport the electric current used to generate the robotic hand’s ability to feel and...

Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB…

Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB…

Sep 15, 2017

“Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB Assemblies” By Mark Langlois, Design-2-Part Magazine Assembling a printed circuit board requires more than steady hands Robots aren’t just a cheaper assembly method—they’re almost required because some components are the size of ground pepper. Not coarse ground, either. “Today, in the end, automation is essential to manufacturing printed circuit boards,” said Accu-semblyPresident John Hykes, who founded the California firm in 1983 by making motion detectors with hand-held soldering guns in the family garage. He recruited the whole family, who turned out 100 to 200 of the detectors a week to start, and about 1,000 a week within a year. Accu-sembly added automated machines within a few years of the firm’s founding, Hykes said in a telephone interview with D2P. First, the company worked with surface mounted components. It learned and added components with leads. Then came ball grid arrays, which had to be X-ray inspected, and Accu-sembly automated the process. Accu-sembly (accu-sembly.com) operates today in a 30,000-square-foot factory with 100 employees in Duarte, California. The company’s markets include aerospace, industrial, commercial, and automotive businesses. As an electronics manufacturing services provider, Accu-sembly manufactures custom printed circuit board assemblies. In support of this, the firm provides design for manufacturing review, procurement and supply chain management, and testing services. Accu-sembly manufactures printed circuit board assemblies that meet IPC-A-610 and J-STD-001 class 2 and class 3 requirements. It can place the smallest 01005 (0.4mm x 0.2mm) chip components and large high pin count BGA devices. Its manufacturing processes are also suitable for placing tiny micro BGA devices as well. Hykes said in an emailed response that most of its products begin with surface mount device installation using fully automated assembly lines. “This includes solder paste screen printing, robotic P&P (pick and placement), and reflow. Our equipment and processes allow us to place large complex BGA (ball grid array) devices, as well as the tiniest parts and micro BGA devices. Through hole assembly is managed with a combination of wave soldering, selective wave soldering, and manual assembly. Post assembly inspection includes both automated optical inspection and X-ray inspection as necessary. Functional test routines using customer specific equipment is offered, along with flying probe electrical test...

U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Robot Density

U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Robot Density

Sep 12, 2017

  By Dyfed Loesche, Manufacturing Business Technology Automation is one of the developments that has many employees in manufacturing worried. Some experts cite large negative effects of robots on employment and wages. However, robot penetration in the United States is uneven. With nine robots per a thousand workers Toledo in Ohio has the highest density of robots, according to research published by Brookings. If you look at the absolute figures, then the Detroit-Warren- Dearborn area, one of the biggest manufacturing hubs, has the most robots. All five metro areas depicted have had big growth rates, more than 20 percent since 2010....

Reshoring Initiative: Automation is Not the Bad Guy

Reshoring Initiative: Automation is Not the Bad Guy

Jun 22, 2017

By Anna Wells, Industrial Equipment News Automation has long carried the blame for the outflow of jobs from the manufacturing sector, but the Reshoring Initiative says that it is actually key to job growth in the U.S. The Reshoring Initiative is reporting that, for the first time in decades, more manufacturing jobs are returning to the United States than are going offshore. According to a recent press release promoting the Reshoring Initiative’s 2016 Reshoring Report, the combined reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) trends grew by over 10 percent in 2016, adding 77,000 jobs and exceeding the rate of offshoring by about 27,000 jobs. “The 2016 results bring the total number of manufacturing jobs brought back from offshore to more than 338,000 since the manufacturing employment low of February 2010,” said the release, adding that there are still “huge opportunities and challenges to bringing back all the 3 to 4 million manufacturing jobs cumulatively lost to offshoring.” Secretly, I’ve always wondered if these kinds of stats were a little overhyped – playing into our desires to latch on to a feel-good story with a positive trajectory. But when the Reshoring Initiative takes a deeper dive into the “whys” of reshoring, they make a pretty compelling case that is clearly resonating. Some of the reasons they cite for the ramp-up include things like proximity to customers, government incentives, skilled workforce availability and “ecosystem synergies,” which I take to mean that intangible of culture that drives so many successful businesses. Transportation equipment remained the strongest industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total jobs returned, and plastics/rubber and furniture saw the largest increases in industry ranking. Preliminary 2017 data trends are looking to be at least as good as 2016, but it certainly begs the question as to how we can sustain this activity over time. The Reshoring Initiative believes that government plays a big role, but also, in a recent e-newsletter, has pointed to an unlikely champion: automation. For years, automation has been carrying the blame, rightfully or not, for the outflow of jobs from the manufacturing sector. But the Reshoring Initiative takes a different tact, going so far as to say that automation is...