Mobile Cobots are Coming

A mobile cobot (mobile collaborative robot) is an intelligent, transportable robot that will assist humans in a shared workspace.

Special Tradeshow Coverage for FABTECH

FABTECH will be held from November 16th - 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

The Real Cost of Robotics

Realize that the arm is but a tiny part in the long list of equipment that had to be provisioned, installed, and configured in the name of your automation project.

Japanese Robotics Giant Gives Its Arms Some Brains

Will Knight for MIT Technology Review:  The big, dumb, monotonous industrial robots found in many factories could soon be quite a bit smarter, thanks to the introduction of machine-learning skills that are moving out of research labs at a fast pace. Fanuc, one of the world’s largest makers of industrial robots, announced that it will work with Nvidia, a Silicon Valley chipmaker that specializes in artificial intelligence, to add learning capabilities to its products.

The deal is important because it shows how recent advances in AI are poised to overhaul the manufacturing industry. Today’s industrial bots are typically programmed to do a single job very precisely and accurately. But each time a production run changes, the robots then need to be reprogrammed from scratch, which takes time and technical expertise.  Cont'd...

Google Canceled the Launch of a Robotic Arm After it Failed the 'Toothbrush Test'

Mark Bergen for Bloomberg:  Google published research this week detailing how its software enables robots to learn from one another. To demonstrate, the company’s scientists showed videos featuring robotic arms whirling inside its labs.

Google’s robotics group built those machines and wanted to sell them to manufacturers, warehouse operators and others. However, executives at Google parent Alphabet Inc. nixed the plan because it failed Chief Executive Officer Larry Page’s "toothbrush test," a requirement that the company only ship products used daily by billions of people, according to people familiar with the situation.  Cont'd...

Cartoners, Case Packers, and Palletizers for Track and Trace Serialization of Pharmaceutical Packaging Lines

By integrating OEM serialization systems with packaging machinery, pharmaceutical manufacturers can secure their supply line from counterfeiting and meet current and future pedigree requirements.

Special Tradeshow Coverage for PACK Expo International

PACK Expo will be held from November 6th - 9th in Chicago, Illinois. This Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

Discrete Manufacturers: Special Considerations for Robotics and Demand-Driven Supply Chain Solutions

Misalignment with suppliers is often caused by existing replenishment policies such as min/max order policy.

Could the future of pizza be in the hands of robots?

CARTER EVANS for CBS:   In this emerging age of drone deliveries, anddriverless cars​, technology now brings us -- robo-pizza. 

Silicon Valley is at the forefront of reinventing the pie. The kitchen at Zume Pizza is where technology and culinary arts collide.

Humans and robots work side-by-side at Zume Pizza in Mountain View, California.

Veteran restaurateur Julia Collins founded the delivery-only pizza company with Alex Garden, the former president of online gaming company, Zynga.

“I saw an opportunity to go after the $40 billion domestic delivery pizza market,” Garden said.   Cont'd...

IMTS 2016 - Takeaways

Many of the OEMs were showing how their smart products and processes were driving new business models like servitization (manufacturing firms developing the capabilities to provide services and solutions that supplement their traditional product offerings) and new "power-by-the-hour" offerings.

Robot Sews First Complete Garment

From Sewbo:  Sewbo Inc. on Thursday announced that it has achieved the long-sought goal of automated sewing, by using an industrial robot to sew together a T-shirt. This milestone represents the first time that a robot has been used to sew an entire article of clothing.

Despite widespread use in other industries, automation has failed to find a place in apparel manufacturing due to robots’ inability to handle limp, flexible fabrics. Sewbo avoids these hurdles by temporarily stiffening fabrics, making it easy for conventional robots to build clothes as if they were made from sheet metal. Afterwards, the process is reversed to produce soft, fully assembled garments.

“Our technology will allow manufacturers to create higher-quality clothing at lower costs in less time than ever before,” said Jonathan Zornow, the technology’s inventor. “Avoiding labor issues and shortening supply chains will help reduce the complexity and headaches surrounding today’s intricate global supply network. And digital manufacturing will revolutionize fashion, even down to how we buy our clothes by allowing easy and affordable customization for everyone.”

Sewbo performed their feat using an off-the-shelf industrial robot, which they taught to operate a consumer sewing machine. Having successfully proved its core concept, Sewbo is now expanding its team and working towards commercializing its technology... (company webpage, MIT article)

Big Picture Processes Impact Efficient Lineside Delivery

The self-driving vehicle (SDV) using an autonomous guidance system breaks free of magnetic strips and pre-programmed routes.

Safety solutions for intelligent human-robot collaboration

Fanny Platbrood for SafeToWork:  Human-robot collaboration (HRC) describes a work scenario in which humans and automated machines share and work in the same workspace at the same time. Driven by Industry 4.0, this model of collaboration promises highly flexible workflows, maximum system throughput and productivity, as well as economic efficiency. However, ensuring that HRC is actually able to live up to this promise requires exactly the right safety technology for the application in question.

One of the major issues associated with Industry 4.0 is making work processes flexible. At the extreme end of the spectrum, this may involve manufacturing products in batch size 1 under industrial mass-production conditions – that is, manufacturing unique items on a conveyor belt.   Cont'd...

Special News Report for International Manufacturing Technology Show 2016

New product announcements and news from IMTS 2016. Post your company news or read about what others are doing at the show.

Industrial Robots and Manufacturing Jobs - A Catalyst for Loss or Growth?

When disruptive technologies are introduced to the marketplace, there is an initial uncertainty among the general population about these unfamiliar products, services, or new ways of conducting business.

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Factory Automation - Featured Product

Zaber's Fastest, Longest Travel Stage

Zaber's Fastest, Longest Travel Stage

Zaber's new and improved stage (X-BLQ-E) is a closed-loop, belt-driven motorized linear stage with built-in motor encoder and controller. With travel lengths up to 3 m, 10 µm repeatability, and a maximum speed of 2.0 m/s, X-BLQ-E stages are perfect for rapid positioning over large distances. A built-in motor encoder allows closed-loop operation and slip/stall recovery, and an optional indexed knob provides manual control for operation without a computer. Like all Zaber products, the X-BLQ-E Series is designed for easy set-up and operation.