“Ambition is a dream with a V12 engine.”
1. Alfa’s Lead in F1 Additive
Several 3D-printed parts are featured on the Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen C41 race car competing in the 2021 Formula One season. The team demands more precisely made parts created in an efficient and cost-effective way to be competitive. The new S1 system by AM Solutions provides them with partial to fully automated postprocessing of polymer and metal additive parts, such as automatic de-powdering and cleaning of small to medium-sized 3D printed parts. Delightful datum: Enzo Ferrari’s career and brand started and spun off from Alfa Romeo’s motorsports division!
2. Intelligent Automation
Intelligent automation (IA), also called hyperautomation or cognitive automation, is one of the most recent concepts in the field of artificial intelligence. IA combines approaches and technologies involving processes, people, organizations, robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning, low-code platforms, and more. It is aimed at automating end-to-end business processes in a computerized environment. It delivers business outcomes on behalf of the employees. The industrial sector can embrace IA in three ways: augmenting the workforce so they can function within the IIoT; digitizing the workforce to protect workers’ job security and make them more efficient; and lastly, refining data to gain actionable insights that help companies and workers alike.
3. Delta Cobot: This is a Thing!
When I hear cobot or collaborative robot, my mind immediately goes to an arm with physical performance governors and fancy vision systems – both of which exist mostly in the name of safety so as to not be a threat around human workers – but mostly I think of a collaborative, articulated robot arm, not a delta arm! Welp, that’s changed! The Swiss would like to introduce you to Wyzo, a subsidiary of packaging specialist Demaurex, a pioneer of delta robot technology. The same people who brought us one of the first delta arms have now brought us the first delta cobot! What a time to be alive.
4. Machine Tools and Watchmaking
I love manufacturing, and I really love mechanical watches. This is a cool story on an improved machining process, knowledge of basic machining practices, skills development including design software, redesigned fixtures, and sample part production for a product that has to follow closely to much more archaic and traditional means of manufacturing: the traditional mechanical wristwatch. Now, this article focuses on a small English company, and we’re all about ‘Murican manufacturing, right? If you too have a love (and the finances) for mechanical watches with a gentle implementation of modern manufacturing, Google “RGM watches” for some “Made in the USA.” Someday I’ll have one. Someday.
5. Artificial Artisanry
Skilled technicians use all the tools in their kit – machining, bending, welding, and surface treating – to make just the right part as quickly and accurately as possible. However, there’s a declining number of technicians with the right skills (the skills gap), and the quality of things made by hand is subject to the skills and mood of the artisan on the day the part is made (which can be alleviated with automation). Now there are numerous companies leading the way in autonomous manufacturing, including three venture-funded startups: FormLogic is developing automated high-quality machine shops; Path Robotics is putting the skills of a welder into a robot; and Machina Labs is out to create robotic blacksmiths. Other companies are developing systems to automate design and logistics.
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