What's Happening in Robotics? Five Trends to Watch

2016, through mid-June, shows 56 startups received $427.5 million; and that 20 acquisitions have happened thus far totaling $4.53 bn (from the 11 reporting amounts involved).

Ford's new robots can build cars, make coffee

Ford Motor Company announced today its early testing of a new type of assembly line robot that were co-developed with German robotics company KUKA Roboter GmbH with the intention of assisting human line workers. Two of these three-foot-tall machines are in use at the Cologne, Germany factory, where they assist human workers to install shock absorbers on Ford Fiestas. These workers would have originally had to juggle the shocks and tools to install them, but now the robot helps them position and install the parts.   More...

Standardizing Collaborative Robots: What is ISO/TS 15066?

Samuel Bouchard for Engineering.com:  Collaborative robots (also known as cobots) are changing how robots and humans interact in our factories and manufacturing facilities.  No longer separated by cages, humans and cobots can work beside each other on complex tasks from picking and placement to assembly and logistics.  Human-cobot systems bring together the best of human capabilities (complex reasoning, ease of learning new tasks, pattern and object recognition in cluttered environments) and robot functionality (the ability to perform complex, tedious tasks 24/7 and with high precision).  The close proximity between humans and cobots and its advantages are exciting for manufacturers, SMEs, and the robotics industry, but it also brings a unique set of safety challenges. Enter ISO/TS 15066 – the world's first specifications of safety requirements for collaborative robot applications.   Cont'd...

Logistic companies Swisslog, Dematic, Egemin and Intelligrated have all been Acquired

All these companies are logistics and material handling vendors and times are changing in logistics and fulfillment

Development of Battery-Free Multi-Rotation Absolute Encoder

In recent years, there have been many demands for equipment with high productivity to have a system that retains positioning information, even after the main power supply is turned off.

China's Midea buys nearly half of German robotics firm Kuka

The Star:  Chinese appliances giant Midea moved a step closer to fulfilling its ambition to acquire German industrial robotics firm Kuka with two weekend deals raising its stake to nearly a majority.  Two of Kuka’s biggest German shareholders – technology company Voith and entrepreneur Friedhelm Loh – said they had decided to take up Midea’s offer of €115 (RM512) per share and sell their stakes.  German news agency DPA reported that Voith had agreed to sell its stake of 25.1% for €1.2bil (RM5.34bil).  And Loh told the business daily Handelsblatt he had decided to sell his stake of 10% for nearly €500mil (RM2.22bil).  Combined with its existing holding of 13.5% in Kuka, the two purchases mean Midea now holds 48.5%, or not far from the outright majority, in the Augsburg-based robot builder.   Cont'd.. .

Robots, Jobs and Productivity in the Manufacturing Industry

Industrial robotics is changing the U.S. manufacturing industry portrait.

Aerospace: KUKA Omnimove Delivers Gigantic Aircraft Components With Millimeter Precision

Construction of the Airbus A380 in Hamburg involves moving aircraft components measuring 15 meters in length and weighing up to 90 tonnes.

Future Focus: Robotic Automation and Generation Z

Generation Z is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the surge in the development and implementation of robotic systems that increase productivity and cut costs in a variety of industries.

Types of Robotic Actuators

Actuators have become a crucial part of the automated system, as they help with controlling equipment using hydraulic, pneumatic or in some of the cases electronic signals.

Robotic Pickers and Forklifts

The new robotic movers no longer need to travel fixed routes, as they can be programmed while on the move. Focusing on automated materials handling processes, and the underlying robot perception technology, companies will be employing this sophisticated, state-of-the-art artificial intelligence now and in the future.

Foxconn Replaces 60,000 Labourers With Robots in China

Subhrojit Mallick  for GIZMODO India:    Apple and Samsung phone manufacturer, Foxconn has already taken a step towards the dystopian future. The South China Morning Post reported the manufacturing giant has replaced 60,000 laborers with robots. The total strength of Foxconn factory workers reduced from 110,000 to 50,000, marking a huge shift towards automation of routine jobs.  The Foxconn technology group confirmed to the BBC that they are automating many of the manufacturing tasks associated with their operations by introducing robots. However, they maintained the move will not affect long-term job losses.    Cont'd...

A Soft Control Architecture: Breakthrough in Hard Real-Time Design for Complex Systems

In the relentlessly changing world of technology, several important advances and trends have emerged that allow OEMs to transition to a soft control architecture that will not only move them away from dependence on FPGAs and DSPs, but also change the basis of competition in the equipment and machine tool industries.

China's Big Bid For Germany's Industry 4.0 Technology

Klaus E. Meyer for Forbes:   Midea, the Chinese household appliances (“white goods”) manufacturer just made what analysts called an ‘incredibly high’ bid for German robot maker Kuka. This acquisition would take the Chinese investor right to the heart of Industry 4.0 : Kuka is a leading manufacturer of multifunctional robots that represent an important building block for enterprises upgrading their factories with full automation, the latest human-machine interface functionality, and machine-to-machine communication. Midea want a 30% stake in Kuka and have offered €115 per share. Kuka’s shares traded at €84 the day before and had already increased 60% since the beginning of the year. This offer values Kuka at €4.6 billion, which means Midea’s 30% stake would be worth €1.4 billion – on par with Beijing Enterprise’s February 2016 takeover of recycling company EEW which was the largest Chinese acquisition of a German firm to-date. Midea’s takeover bid underscores Chinese interest in German Industry 4.0 technology; in January 2016, ChemChina paid €925 million for Munich-based KraussMaffei machine tools, in part because of their advances into Industry 4.0. Recent smaller Chinese acquisitions in the German machine tool industry, which include the partial acquisitions of H.Stoll by the ShangGong Group and of Manz by the Shanghai Electric Group are, in part, motivated by the objective to partake in the latest Industry 4.0 developments.   Cont'd...

Developing Manufacturing Workers Who Are Job-Ready on Day One

Over the next decade, 3.4 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 60% of them are likely to be unfilled due to the talent shortage. How can we close that number (and the skills gap)?

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