Years ago, when I worked in New York City, I bought a Sony Walkman for my daily commute. It was cutting edge technology and I was an early adopter. I imagined that I looked pretty cool, listening to tunes I organized myself on a mix tape. Fast forward to today, where music is everywhere, on every conceivable device.
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Having a plan for maintaining and improving the performance and reliability of every machine on a shop floor is vital to manufacturing operations. Reliable machines make short-notice production runs possible. And the more flexible manufacturers are, the more new customers they’ll attract.
Fluence Analytics (formerly Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies), a manufacturer of smart industrial and laboratory monitoring systems, recently released the third generation of its ACOMP, an automated system that performs continuous, real-time monitoring and characterization of polymers for 3D printing and other uses during manufacturing and post-processing.
With a shortage of young workers willing and able to do today’s factory jobs, manufacturers are taking steps to retain the older workforce already punching in.
More durable and versatile therapeutic wearable material, more accurate part measurement and improved automation and 3D printing were among the many technologies on display at this year’s Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East conference, June 12-14, in New York City.
Alex Berry and his team at Sutrue Ltd. (Colchester, England) exploited the benefits of 3D printing prototypes when developing two new automated suturing devices. They also coined a phrase to describe their prototyping technique.
Some in the medical industry are using silicone rubber molds made with a 3D-printed master pattern for low-to-mid production runs of cast polyurethane device housings.
Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff.
I’ve had quite a month, again, covering clever software and gadgets that continue to inch their way into performing tasks once reserved for humans. These tasks range from mundane material handling to highly skilled engineering design. It has made me think quite a bit about how our world of manufacturing and engineering will be affected by all this artificial cleverness.
Digitization of industry has become an established global trend. Despite all the enthusiasm of visionaries, the machine tool is, was and will remain the core element in production.