Neil Hopkinson, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, has been developing the new method, called high-speed sintering, for over a decade. Laser sintering machines build objects by using a single-point laser to melt and fuse thin layers of powdered polymer, one by one. Hopkinson replaced the laser system, which is both expensive and slow, with an infrared lamp and an ink-jet print head. The print head rapidly and precisely delivers patterns of radiation-absorbing material to the powder bed. Subsequently exposing the powder to infrared light melts and fuses the powder into patterns, and the machine creates thin layers, one by one—similar to the way laser sintering works, but much faster. Hopkinson’s group has already shown that the method works at a relatively small scale. They’ve also calculated that, given a large enough building area, high-speed sintering is “on the order of 100 times faster” than laser sintering certain kinds of parts, and that it can be cost competitive with injection molding for making millions of small, complex parts at a time, says Hopkinson. Now the group will actually build the machine, using funding from the British government and a few industrial partners. Cont'd...
Using machine vision inspection with high-performance Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) cameras, ISW GmbH designs turnkey hardware/software solutions for the pharmaceutical industry to specifically ensure accurate dimensions and fill levels of ampoules in production, replacing error-prone manual quality control processes.
With a reach growing far greater than factory floors, robots will continue to aid and assist wherever needed. Here are five of the medical applications for robots in use today.
May was another big month of money flowing into robotic ventures. But May was even bigger in launching new robotics-focused venture funding groups.
The most immediate benefit of cleaning robots is what is called "Daytime cleaning": the fact that there is no need to keep the facility lights on at night for cleaning purposes.
Robots have been doing tough jobs for over half a century, mostly in the automotive sector, but they’ve probably had a bigger impact in Hollywood movies than on factory floors. That’s about to change. Today’s robots can see better, think faster, adapt to changing situations, and work with a gentler touch. Some of them are no longer bolted to the factory floor, and they’re moving beyond automotive manufacturing. They’re also getting cheaper. These improvements are helping to drive demand. In fact, we expect the global industrial robot population to double to about four million by 2020, changing the competitive landscape in dozens of fields — from underground mining to consumer goods and aerospace manufacturing. Robots will allow more manufacturers to produce locally and raise productivity with a knowledge-based workforce. Cont'd...
Capturing and processing camera and sensor data and recognizing various shapes to determine a set of robotic actions is conceptually easy. Yet Amazon challenged the industry to do a selecting and picking task robotically and 28 teams from around the world rose to the competition.
By John Schmid of the Journal Sentinel: The Texas facility that mass-produces State Fair corn dogs and Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick retooled itself recently as a hyper-automated smart factory. It installed 1,500 sensors to collect gigabytes of data on everything from raw meat inventories to wastewater and electrical usage. Then the Fort Worth factory took one extra step into the future of industrial technology: It added software that transmits all of that real-time data onto smartphones and tablets, making it possible for plant managers to monitor their production network from anywhere on the factory floor — and during coffee breaks or vacations, as well. If they choose — so far, most don't — this new breed of mobile managers can even operate factory equipment remotely, shutting off pumps or speeding up production lines. Technology has made that sort of operation as easy as playing a smartphone video game, but it can be reckless because a lot of equipment can interfere with or hurt those who are physically present. It's only a matter of time, some say, before factory controls migrate to Google Glass, the wearable displays mounted in eyeglass frames, or smart wristwatches. Cont'd...
Here are some crowd funding projects of interest.
Taking first place and the $2 million in prize money that goes with it is Team Kaist of Daejeon, Republic of Korea, and its robot DRC-Hubo
In a leap for robotic development, the MIT researchers who built a robotic cheetah have now trained it to see and jump over hurdles as it runs - making this the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously...
Founded by mechanical engineer Clay Guillory, who calls himself “a mechanical engineer by day, and a mechanical engineer by night,” Titan Robotics focuses on doing one thing and one thing very well: designing large 3D printers that are designed to last a lifetime. Among other applications that Clay has used his 3D printing know-how towards include prosthetic hands - which started as a request from a mother whose 8-year old boy was in need of a low-cost solution. Titan Robotics’ Atlas 3D printer was named after the famous Greek god who was known for fighting alongside the Titans and then later charged to bear the weight of the heavens on his shoulders. According to Clay, “the strength of this Greek god is an accurate depiction of the strength and size of this new 3D printer”. With over a year in development including real-world testing in various manufacturing facilities, the Atlas has proven to be a highly-accurate 3D printer that is capable of printing large prototypes reliably over time. According to the company, one beta user documented printing an extremely large accurate and functioning prototype with a total recorded print time of just over 200 hours.
Robotics Fast Track foresees cost-effective development of new capabilities by engaging cutting-edge groups and individuals who traditionally have not worked with the federal government
3-D printing could really change medical research. Important questions can be answered, saving both time and money, as 3-D-printed models give surgeons new perspectives and opportunities to practice, and patients and their families a deeper understanding of complex procedures.
"True to DARPA's mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target," said Jerome Dunn, DARPA program manager.
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The ATI Robotic Tool Changer provides the flexibility to automatically change end-effectors or other peripheral tooling. These tool changers are designed to function reliably for millions of cycles at rated load while maintaining extremely high repeatability. For this reason, the ATI Tool Changer has become the number-one tool changer of choice around the world. ATI Tool Changer models cover a wide range of applications, from very small payloads to heavy payload applications requiring significantly large moment capacity.