Industry News for 04/2017

It takes knowledge and skill to get a robot to do exactly what you want it to do in a manufacturing environment--and those are hard to come by in this skills-gap era. A new interface designed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers is simpler and more efficient than most interfaces, and doesn’t require significant training time. The user simply points and clicks on an item, then chooses a grasp. The robot does the rest of the work.
An issue slowing down 3D printing's advance into manufacturing is that the process itself is too slow to meet production requirements. Now, a collaboration between MIT, Steelcase and product designer Christophe Guberan presents a novel technique they call Rapid Liquid Printing, which can reduce the time of certain 3D printing applications from hours to minutes.
The Commerce Department on Friday provided its first statistical snapshot of the American economy in the first quarter, the gross domestic product estimate. The economy barely grew, expanding at an annual rate of only 0.7 percent. The growth was a sharp decline from the 2.1 percent annual rate recorded in the final quarter of last year. It was the weakest quarterly showing in three years. Consumption, the component reflecting individual spending, rose by only 0.3 percent, well below the 3.5 percent rate in the previous quarter.
ABB and IBM have announced a strategic collaboration that brings together ABB’s industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, with IBM Watson Internet of Things cognitive capabilities to unlock new value for customers in industry, utilities and transport & infrastructure.
One of the oldest die casters in the US, New Products Corporation, turned 95 on April 22. Founded in Benton Harbor, Mich., in 1922, the company is a global supplier of custom, precision die cast aluminum and zinc parts for applications in industries including automotive, military, industrial equipment, medical instruments, appliances, transportation, and furniture.
For years, cyber insurance was purchased mostly by consumer-facing businesses such as retailers and financial-service providers. But as factories are getting more tech-savvy and digitally integrated with other parts of the company, manufacturers are starting to realize that keeping those networks safe is essential, according to this Wall Street Journal report.
In a blog, Dann Demazure, applications engineer at Datron Dynamics, wrote: Machinists ask me all the time, “When do I go fast and when should I go slow with a single-flute endmill?” Well, as you can imagine, there are a lot of variables at play regarding feed rates for single-flute endmills, but let’s try to break it down.
Superior Drilling Products Inc., Vernal, Utah, designs, manufactures and repairs drilling tool technologies. SDP operates a state-of-the-art drill tool fabrication facility where it manufactures solutions for the drilling industry as well as custom products. Cameron Dick manages the firm’s machine shop.
Customers need to be careful when hiring services from Metrology Services Providers. There are many “Ma and Pa” business’ that may be run by technically capable people, but are lacking the depth to provide customers with a full range of support, especially when the unexpected occurs. The following list provides customers with a checklist to ask providers.
Detroit, Mich., is a haven for CAD designers according to a top 10 ranking of cities to live in for the profession.
TriMet Consulting, Wichita, Kan., has announced the launch of its consultancy to serve the growing number of manufacturers who want on-demand, expert-level CNC programming, CMM programming and other 3D data-driven services for industrial design-to-inspection applications. The company says it has assembled an “A-team” of industry advisors with market knowledge and hands-on expertise in manufacturing and metrology applications. TriMet Consulting has industry connections with top tier OEMs, a mastery of industry best practices, and an experienced team to deliver superior programming results for CNC milling applications and CMM inspection routines.
When Johnathon Wojciechowski of Bensenville, Ill., was 7 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and for the last 7 years has altered his life to battle this debilitating disease. Now recently having started high school at Fenton, Johnathon has received a highly trained Diabetic Alert Dog (D.A.D.) from the Ron & Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation, with partial sponsorship from Heidenhain Corp., Schaumburg, Ill.
Penn State industrial engineering researchers are part of a collaborative team that has received $1.2 million in funding to develop an advanced framework that will allow engineers to share and process engineering data as well as formally represent design and manufacturing-related knowledge throughout the product design lifecycle. The 18-month project is funded by the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII). The project is titled "Lower Life Cycle Costs, Improve Design and Performance Robustness through the Digital Thread."
The W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, Rices Landing, Penn., has a shiny new plaque designating it a National Historic Landmark. Rivers of Steel Heritage Corp. has been making repairs to the building since purchasing it from the Greene County Historical Society in 2009.
Typically in a scrap handling process, the how and where the scrap is collected and disposed of is not part of the conveyor system's design—but should be. That how and where could be crucial to the longevity of your conveyor. PRAB Inc., Kalamazoo, Mich., has a free, downloadable white paper on "The Importance of Design Elements in Maximizing the Life of Your Steel Belt Conveyor," that details what to be aware of.
Colson Group USA, a manufacturer of casters, wheels and other mobility products, continues to make significant investments to its production and distribution operations while reshoring manufacturing.
At the Omax Corp. blog, writer Gretchen Salois profiles Waterjet Cutting of Indiana, which often attracts customers "because they know they can hand over drawings for an intricate job Friday afternoon, and receive them first thing Monday," she writes. The company cuts everything from skid plates for Indy 500 cars to magnets for the oil industry to elevator weights for buildings throughout the company's hometown of Indianapolis.
In the machine shop of the future, a digital thread will weave through the pre-, in- and post-machining processes. Prior to machining, those processes include design, process and operations planning, and production logistics. After machining, part verification and outbound logistics enter the picture.
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) sees cyber security awareness and prevention in manufacturing as an emerging challenge and competitiveness issues that manufacturers are facing. In response, NCMS has released a new whitepaper, written by Senior Vice President Rebecca Taylor, “Balancing Productivity and Security: The New Cybersecurity Challenge for Manufacturers.”
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in March, and the overall economy grew for the 94th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.