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The Brave New (and Old) World of Manufacturing

My original intention for this column was to discuss a phrase getting a lot of buzz lately, artificial intelligence (AI). By any measure, interest in AI is expanding exponentially, both in the number of articles one can read on the subject and, according to Google Trends, the number of searches for those articles.

In-House 3D Printer Saves Firm Thousands

A fused filament 3D printer has saved a custom outdoor lighting manufacturer tens of thousands of dollars a year, improving operations and winning more business. The purchase also helped retain customers who would previously have gone elsewhere for specialized parts.

Why Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing Makes Sense for Aerospace & Defense

Additive manufacturing lets companies think “outside the box.” Engineers can now start to look at a part without restrictions on size, shape or material. Instead of taking 15 different CNC milled parts and brazing them together, these companies have reimagined the part entirely—to be built as one part.

Quality Inspection and the CAD Connection

Modern manufacturing is rapidly adopting model-based definition (MBD). When employing an MBD strategy, the CAD model becomes more than the nominal to which all parts are measured and inspected against. MBD keeps the all-important digital thread intact—from design to manufacturing to inspection and quality reporting.

Heading to Mars? Pack a 3D Printer!

If NASA’s Journey to Mars project succeeds, the astronauts who make the 140 million-mile (225 million-km) trip to the Red Planet in the 2030s will need someplace to stay. The space agency is looking at 3D printing, using on-site materials, to manufacture humanity’s first deep space home.

The Quest for Safer 3D Printing Materials

When Desktop Metal introduced its “office-friendly” Studio metal prototype printer earlier this year, the company renewed attention on the issue of safer materials for binder jetting, an additive manufacturing method.

Busting the Myths about Artificial Intelligence

Manufacturers face a difficult task juggling the current “innovation agenda.” Today, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), robotic automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are all poised to be the next big thing.

So, You Want to Implement MTConnect?

Shops today must track or measure their manufacturing operations to improve them. This need drives the growing use of MTConnect—an open, royalty-free protocol for extracting data from practically any piece of equipment, including machine tools and other manufacturing systems. The integration of MTConnect is a major undertaking, and can be a bit challenging unless certain preparations are made ahead of time.

Smarter Presetting: Using Post-Processor and RFID Technology

Tool presetting machines are a wise investment for machine shops that want to increase their machine utilization. Idle machine tools are often indicators of inefficient machining operations, and stopping a machine tool for any reason is synonymous to losing profits.