Taking IIoT to the Edge

Taking IIoT to the Edge

Jul 25, 2018

By Jeff Reinke, Industrial Equipment News (IEN) Edge computing’s ability to supply real-time, plant-floor data will continue to drive it forward. The Industrial Internet of Things has unlocked a number of opportunities that the manufacturing sector can now leverage in streamlining operations, improving quality and cutting costs. However, perhaps the most unique benefit of the IIoT has been the ability to customize the application of these technologies according to the needs and preferences of a specific enterprise – even as the number of solutions falling under the scope of IIoT continues to expand. To discuss one such example, IEN recently sat down with John Fryer, senior director of industry solutions at Stratus, to discuss best practices for leveraging IIoT capabilities with Edge Computing strategies.  Jeff Reinke, IEN Editorial Director: The concept of a connected enterprise has been around for a while, but what do you think were the driving factors that brought the term “Internet of Things” into manufacturing’s lexicon? John Fryer, Senior Director of Industry Solutions, Status: Firstly, we should not forget that “connectivity” and “analytics” have been key components of industrial automation implementations since the first uses of digital controls over 40 years ago. PLC’s have been used to control plant floor activities in many industries, but often in isolated silos. The key elements of the “Internet of Things” are ubiquitous connectivity, almost unlimited computing power and advanced analytics, often using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. The advent of the Internet has driven exponential growth in digital connectivity, primarily in human to machine interaction. In recent years, this has been extended to machine-to-machine interaction and the introduction of machine learning to enable automated control of “things”. Perhaps the best examples are self-learning thermostats in homes, which can also be connected to safety systems, such as fire alarms.  Providing plant-wide connectivity with standard technologies, such as Ethernet (or variants) and using the Internet Protocols (IP) enables interconnection of disparate systems, both within the plant, and between plants and Enterprise systems. This makes it easier to deploy additional computing power at the Edge, within a plant, or in the Cloud, and to apply analytic and machine learning technologies to improve a whole range of production and business processes....

Smart manufacturing technology is changing business…

Smart manufacturing technology is changing business…

May 30, 2018

“Smart manufacturing technology is changing business processes” By Jim O’Donnell, TechTarget The future is here: AI enablement and smart manufacturing technologies are transforming business systems today, according to technology futurist Jack Shaw. Imagine a scenario where a plane in midflight from Paris to Boston gets a signal from an embedded sensor in an engine fuel nozzle that indicates excessive wear. Once the plane lands, it will need to be taken out of service for hours or even days as the airline locates and installs a replacement part. The entire process is time-consuming, expensive and inconvenient for passengers and crews. But thanks to smart manufacturing technology and AI-enabled business processes and systems, there is a better way, according to technology futurist and consultant Jack Shaw. The digital transformation to an AI-enabled business ecosystem is happening now, Shaw said in a presentation at the Smart Manufacturing Experience conference this month in Boston. An autonomous self-contained process Rather than the current costly and time-consuming process, the smart manufacturing technology ecosystem encompasses a self-contained and autonomous parts replacement process. To start the process, industrial IoT (IIoT) smart sensor circuitry in the engine’s nozzle triggers the aircraft’s autonomous maintenance system, which then messages the airline’s global maintenance system that the part will be needed when the plane lands in Boston, Shaw said. The airline’s global procurement system is notified. It scours thousands of websites to identify Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified parts suppliers, negotiates the terms with the supplier’s AI-enabled order management system and executes a smart contract to procure the part. Once the procurement contract is authorized, a design file of the fuel nozzle part is downloaded to a 3D printer located near the Boston airport. The entire process — from the identification of a part defect to the design download to the 3D printer — takes less than four minutes and requires no human intervention, according to Shaw. But the smart manufacturing technology and AI-enabled ecosystem is not finished. Automatic procurement processes identify and select technical engineers who are experienced with replacing this particular part and available to do the work. The technical engineer who installs the part then uses augmented reality (AR) goggles that display a 3D video of the entire replacement process directly on...

Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind…

Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind…

May 24, 2018

“Direct Metal Printing Is Key to Bringing First-of-its-Kind Faucet to Market” Featured on D2PMagazine.com ROCK HILL, S.C.—Kallista, a designer and provider of luxury kitchen and bath products, unveiled its Grid™ sink faucet at KBIS 2018 earlier this year. 3D Systems’ Direct Metal Printing technology was instrumental in bringing the first-of-its-kind sink faucet—produced by 3rd Dimension using 3D Systems’ 3D printing materials and technology—to market. According to a release from 3D Systems (www.3dsystems.com), its technologies enabled Kallista to “design without limitations” in its efforts to bring the product to market. Kallista’s design team embarked on a journey to create a faucet in a unique geometry. In deciding to produce the spout via 3D printing, the designers were able to design without limitations to create an open form and discrete interior channels that allow water to flow easily through the base. “Designers usually need to consider a manufacturing process, and they have to design around that process,” said Bill McKeone, design studio manager at Kallista, in a statement. ”By choosing to produce this faucet via 3D printing, we opened ourselves to limitless design possibilities. 3D Systems’ breadth of materials and technologies allowed us the freedom to create a unique, functional faucet which would not have been possible with a traditional manufacturing process.” The faucets were produced by metal 3D printing specialist, 3rd Dimension, a production metal manufacturer specializing in 3D direct metal printing based in Indianapolis. 3rd Dimension (print3d4u.com) employed 3D Systems’ ProX® DMP 320 high-performance metal additive manufacturing system. To avoid rust and corrosion, the faucets are printed with 3D Systems’ LaserForm® 316L, a high quality stainless steel 316 powder material. “In order to realize the best product, you have to start with the best tools,” said Bob Markley, president, 3rd Dimension, in the release. “The strength of the 3D Systems technology and materials, coupled with the expertise of our engineers and machinists, allowed us to rapidly produce and deliver these high end faucets for Kallista.” As this was the first additively manufactured product for Kallista, the team at 3rd Dimension led them through a program to develop the as-designed concept for the 3D printing process. Developing the design for additive manufacturing meant that Kallista was able to avoid the...

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

Researchers 3-D print electronics and cells directly on skin

May 7, 2018

By The University of Minnesota Featured on Phys.org One of the key innovations of the new 3-D-printing technique on skin is that the printer uses computer vision to track and adjust to movements in real-time. Credit: McAlpine group, University of Minnesota In a groundbreaking new study, researchers at the University of Minnesota used a customized, low-cost 3D printer to print electronics on a real hand for the first time. The technology could be used by soldiers on the battlefield to print temporary sensors on their bodies to detect chemical or biological agents or solar cells to charge essential electronics. Researchers also successfully printed biological cells on the skin wound of a mouse. The technique could lead to new medical treatments for wound healing and direct printing of grafts for skin disorders. The research study was published today on the inside back cover of the academic journal Advanced Materials. “We are excited about the potential of this new 3D-printing technology using a portable, lightweight printer costing less than $400,” said Michael McAlpine, the study’s lead author and the University of Minnesota Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “We imagine that a soldier could pull this printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin. It would be like a ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the future with everything they need all in one portable 3D printing tool.” One of the key innovations of the new 3D-printing technique is that this printer can adjust to small movements of the body during printing. Temporary markers are placed on the skin and the skin is scanned. The printer uses computer vision to adjust to movements in real-time. “No matter how hard anyone would try to stay still when using the printer on the skin, a person moves slightly and every hand is different,” McAlpine said. “This printer can track the hand using the markers and adjust in real-time to the movements and contours of the hand, so printing of the electronics keeps its circuit shape.” Another unique feature of this 3D-printing technique is that it uses a specialized ink made of silver flakes that can cure and conduct at room temperature. This is different from...

What is PolyJet Technology?

What is PolyJet Technology?

May 2, 2018

By Stratasys PolyJet is a powerful 3D printing technology that produces smooth, accurate parts, prototypes and tooling. With microscopic layer resolution and accuracy down to 0.1 mm, it can produce thin walls and complex geometries using the widest range of materials available with any technology. Benefits of PolyJet: Create smooth, detailed prototypes that convey final-product aesthetics. Produce accurate molds, jigs, fixtures and other manufacturing tools. Achieve complex shapes, intricate details and delicate features. Incorporate the widest variety of colors and materials into a single model for unbeatable efficiency....