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Time for Monumental Thinking in Additive

As additive manufacturing emerges from a long infancy, the industry is grappling with a key challenge: A file format and design tools from the 20th century are being asked to do 21st century jobs.

2016 Was a Good Year for Lasers; 2017 Looks Even Better

Strong 2016 earnings among top industrial laser providers, continued brisk adoption of fiber lasers, cheaper ultrafast lasers, and a host of novel applications and notable corporate acquisitions signal a big year ahead for photonics-based manufacturing.

ERP Software for Small Shops

Modernizing the smaller shop with the latest digital tools available from enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developers

Extending the Life of Automation Assets

If left on their own, material handling assets will slowly degrade and eventually fail, often at the most inopportune moment. But with a little planning, you can not only extend their useful life, you can also optimize performance.

Robot Company Creates Industry 4.0-Friendly Software

FANUC has made real one of the promises of Industry 4.0, that of predictive maintenance for factory equipment, with its Zero Down Time IoT solution. ZDT can be applied to any of FANUC’s robotic arms and their peripherals.

Medical Machining Shifts Into High Gear—With a Laser Assist

Constant refinement of medical machining from tooling design to finished product requires not only the ability to handle a broad range of plastic and metal materials but also to achieve predictable results—particularly in the face of strict regulations.

Just What the Doctor Ordered for Business Expansion

When making over-the-counter and prescription soft-gel products, the dosage that fills each gel cap must be precise. It follows, then, that the system for metering the amount of formulation demands the same exacting level of precision. Such is the requirement at leading contract manufacturers of nutritional and pharmaceutical soft-gel products. To keep their metering pumps and production equipment accurate and reliable, they look to Progressive Tool & Manufacturing Inc. (Greensboro, NC).

Optical Metrology in Three Dimensions

Basic trends in modern manufacturing are driving growth in 3D optical metrology. “One is the highly complex and high-tech material that manufacturers are using today. For example, in the aerospace turbine blade market, they simply cannot touch the part like they used to—the surface finish of the material is too readily affected by any kind of contact metrology."

Real Thinking About Artificial Intelligence

My instincts tell me we need a sense of urgency around the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in manufacturing. The urgency is driven by how quickly technology can move today, and how an unexpected breakthrough can quickly dominate.