Manufacturing a Solid Case for IoT on the Factory Floor

Manufacturing a Solid Case for IoT on the Factory Floor

Apr 12, 2019

By Dan Jamieson, Manufacturing.net Sixty percent of global manufacturers will use analytic data recorded from embedded devices to optimize manufacturing and supply-chain operations by 2021, according to market intelligence firm IDC. That’s because small, inexpensive computing hardware (such as low-cost wireless radios and sensors) can wirelessly monitor and transmit data instantly on the state of any machine. In fact, with the perpetual mandate to cut costs, operate more efficiently, achieve greater visibility into processes and minimize supply-chain risk, all manufacturers should begin investing in IoT technologies—if they aren’t doing so already. IoT’s many benefits can transform your business and set you apart from your competitors. There are risks, to be sure, but they can be mitigated so long as the project is carefully and deliberately managed. Fortunately, that’s what competitive manufacturers are already good at. First, let’s take a look at the value the IoT can bring to your manufacturing floor, where seamless operations depend on reliably functioning machinery. Increase Visibility and Simplify Operations Smart industrial appliances can help increase visibility and simplify business operations: Increase visibility — With smart sensors, businesses can monitor important assets at every stage of the supply chain and report this information to a centralized database. Simplify operations — Businesses can use smart sensors to locate and assess inventory levels. Predictive Maintenance Capabilities Can Mitigate Disruptions Furthermore, manufacturers can eliminate error-prone service inspections with IoT technology. For example, smart sensors can anticipate problems before they become larger issues by relaying real-time analytics on a machine’s performance. Data collected from a machine, such as current or vibration, combined with real-time alerts allows manufacturers to engage in predictive maintenance, minimizing disruptions and work stoppages, which in turn increases asset utilization and mitigates the risk of missed deadlines, increases in production costs and reputational damage. In this scenario, best practices call for integrating a wireless connectivity module (Cellular or Wi-Fi-enabled, aka a smart sensor) that can communicate the status of the machine and its parts to humans on a cloud-based interface. These connectivity modules can also send and receive over-the-air (OTA) software updates even after the device has been deployed. A use case such as the one described above can yield the following benefits: Enhanced...

Desktop Metal Introduces New, Enhanced Model to…

Desktop Metal Introduces New, Enhanced Model to…

Mar 20, 2019

“Desktop Metal Introduces New, Enhanced Model to Production System Platform” Featured on D2pMagazine. com Company anticipates first shipments to start in 1st Quarter of 2019 FRANKFURT, Germany—A larger build envelope and faster printing speed are among the new advancements that Desktop Metal has made to its Production System™, a metal 3D printing system that the company calls “the fastest metal printer in the world.” Desktop Metal’s new Production System™ has a 225 percent larger build envelope (750mm x 330mm x 250mm) and a 50 percent increase in print speed to 12,000 cm3/hour, the company said in a press release. Desktop Metal (www.Desktopmetal.com) made the announcement before previewing a broad range of metal 3D printed parts at Formnext 2018, an international trade show for additive manufacturing. The first installation of the Production System is scheduled to take place during the first quarter of 2019 at a Fortune 500 company. Additional customer installations at major automotive, heavy duty, and leading metal parts manufacturers will follow throughout 2019, with broad availability in 2020, the company said.   “As we continue to expand our list of global customers and partners, companies that are turning to the game-changing technology available with the Production System, and installations set to begin rolling out in the coming months, Desktop Metal is looking to further shift the industry beyond prototyping to now include full-scale metal manufacturing, said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal, in a statement. Powered by Single Pass Jetting™ technology, the Production System is said to be the first and only metal 3D printing system for mass production that delivers the speed, quality, and cost-per-part needed to compete with traditional manufacturing processes. It is also reported to be more than four times faster than competing binder jet processes and 100 times faster than laser-based systems. The improved system includes two full-width print bars, advanced powder spreaders, and an anti-ballistic system that spread powder and print in a single quick pass across the build area. According to Desktop Metal, it is the most sophisticated single-pass inkjet printhead ever installed in a binder jet system. The system uses 32,768 piezo inkjet nozzles that enable a broad range of binder chemistries to print an...

Welding breakthrough could transform manufacturing

Welding breakthrough could transform manufacturing

Mar 7, 2019

By Heriot-Watt University Featured on Phys.org Scientists from Heriot-Watt University have welded glass and metal together using an ultrafast laser system, in a breakthrough for the manufacturing industry. arious optical materials such as quartz, borosilicate glass and even sapphire were all successfully welded to metals like aluminium, titanium and stainless steel using the Heriot-Watt laser system, which provides very short, picosecond pulses of infrared light in tracks along the materials to fuse them together. The new process could transform the manufacturing sector and have direct applications in the aerospace, defence, optical technology and even healthcare fields. Professor Duncan Hand, director of the five-university EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes based at Heriot-Watt, said: “Traditionally it has been very difficult to weld together dissimilar materials like glass and metal due to their different thermal properties—the high temperatures and highly different thermal expansions involved cause the glass to shatter. “Being able to weld glass and metals together will be a huge step forward in manufacturing and design flexibility. “At the moment, equipment and products that involve glass and metal are often held together by adhesives, which are messy to apply and parts can gradually creep, or move. Outgassing is also an issue—organic chemicals from the adhesive can be gradually released and can lead to reduced product lifetime. “The process relies on the incredibly short pulses from the laser. These pulses last only a few picoseconds—a picosecond to a second is like a second compared to 30,000 years. “The parts to be welded are placed in close contact, and the laser is focused through the optical material to provide a very small and highly intense spot at the interface between the two materials—we achieved megawatt peak power over an area just a few microns across. “This creates a microplasma, like a tiny ball of lightning, inside the material, surrounded by a highly-confined melt region. “We tested the welds at -50C to 90C and the welds remained intact, so we know they are robust enough to cope with extreme conditions.” Read more...

Disruptive Technologies Are Changing Automakers’ Needs…

Disruptive Technologies Are Changing Automakers’ Needs…

Feb 19, 2019

“Disruptive Technologies Are Changing Automakers’ Needs, Creating Opportunities for Suppliers” Autonomous, electric, and connected vehicles require new designs, new suppliers By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine   Carmakers in North America, Europe, and Asia are doing a lot of things today that they’ve never done, or even attempted to do, before. When you consider that the crown jewel of their research and development efforts—self-driving cars—is rewriting the rules of how cars are designed, manufactured, and used, that starts to make more sense. “When you look at autonomous driving, it still is amazing to me that you could sit in a car and it drives itself,” said Ken Beller, vice president of sales and marketing at The Weiss-Aug Group, a group of manufacturing companies headquartered in East Hanover, New Jersey. “It stops at red lights and parks itself, and that’s truly amazing.” Self-driving, or autonomous, cars are part of a larger trend currently sweeping the global automotive industry: the development of what are known as ACES—automated, connected, electric, and shared—vehicles. In a major announcement last March, General Motors said that it plans to begin producing self-driving cars, without steering wheels or pedals, in 2019. Along with the car, GM plans to start a commercial service centered on an app that enables people to hail rides. General Motors said that the car, the Cruise AV (autonomous vehicle), is based on its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV). It will be produced at the same plant where the Bolt EV is produced—GM’s Orion Township plant in Michigan. GM took a major step toward commercialization of the vehicle after it acquired Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology, in 2016. The car is part of GM’s efforts to enable a future with “zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.” General Motors’ efforts to commercialize autonomous cars at scale were bolstered last May, when the SoftBank Vision Fund announced that it would invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC (GM Cruise). In a statement announcing the funding, Michael Ronen, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers, said that “GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions, and congestion. The GM Cruise...

The Robots Are Coming, but Not the Way You Imagined

The Robots Are Coming, but Not the Way You Imagined

Dec 17, 2018

Industrial robots are driving improvements in productivity, quality, and flexibility that are helping U.S. manufacturers to compete globally. At the same time, they’re spurring the growth of a new ecosystem of jobs, from mechanical design to AI-based computer vision. By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine The robots are coming—that much is true. But manufacturers, by and large, don’t see them as the job-stealing invaders of the workplace that many people have imagined. It’s not that robots don’t excel in performing many tasks formerly done by people. It’s just that people also excel in certain areas where robots aren’t up to the task. And  in the manufacturing realm, industry leaders and company officials who have integrated robots into their plant’s operations say that their impact stretches well beyond the work that they’ve proven to do so well.   “These machines are going to have a huge impact into the broader economy,” said Tom Galluzzo, founder and chief technology officer of IAM Robotics, in a presentation at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Next Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in June. “They’re going to empower people to do the things that we’re innately better at—the creative thinking skills. And I think that’s where our employers have to take responsibility—to educate people and to empower them to do those kinds of creative thinking.” In manufacturing, people can focus on higher-level work because industrial robots are known to perform repetitive tasks with greater precision than their human counterparts. Manufacturers who use robotics in printed circuit board assembly, for example, often report greater peace of mind knowing that the robots are maintaining high quality while increasing the productivity of their operations. Sam Hanna, president of Quality Manufacturing Services, Inc. (QMS), a provider of electronics manufacturing services in Lake Mary, Florida, said that QMS has added robotics to its operation when a reasonable return on investment has justified the investment. The company has invested heavily in late-model surface mount pick-and-place equipment, a key contributor to quality as electronic components and packages continue to shrink in size. “We get consistent output, the machines never get tired, and they’re certainly faster than humans,” said Hanna. “The precision we can get out of machinery is far better than we can get out of...