Smart Machines & Factories
ABB completes melt shop digitalization project with India’s leading steel company
Melt shop digitalisation project

ABB has announced it has built on a long-term relationship with JSW Steel, a leading Indian steel company, by integrating its digital solution ABB Ability Smart Melt Shop into a wider expansion at Dolvi Works plant in Maharashtra state.

Siemens and BioNTech intend to expand their strategic cooperation
Collaboration to expand global vaccine production

Siemens and BioNTech intend to expand their strategic cooperation in order to intensify collaboration for the rapid expansion and creation of production capacity for the Covid-19 vaccine.

5G communication
Digital Catapult joins forces with Ofcom to launch new high-tech 5G lab

A new high-tech lab to speed up the development of 5G communication kit has been launched by Digital Catapult who has joined forces with Ofcom to help boost network security and resilience.

United Utilities Trials Samotics’ AI-based Smart Monitoring System to Optimize Pump Efficiency and Reliability
Smart monitoring system to optimise pump efficiency

Samotics, a leading provider of AI-driven industrial analytics for asset performance management, has announced it has been selected for a 12-month trial by United Utilities Group PLC, one of the UK’s largest water and wastewater companies, to improve the reliability and efficiency of its operations.

University of Wolverhampton is creating an innovative new platform to help financial organisations
Funding secured to address lack of security and trustworthiness of AI

A team at the University of Wolverhampton is creating an innovative new platform to help financial organisations and banks to add security, trust and explainability to their Artificial Intelligence (AI) based decisions.

ADLINK Releases CompactPCI® Serial Processor Blade Powered by 9th Gen Intel® Xeon®/Core™ i7 Processors
Module supports hot-swap upgrades of demanding mission-critical applications

ADLINK Technology, a leader in edge computing, has announced it has launched the cPCI-A3525 series CompactPCI Serial processor blade in single-slot (4HP) form factor.

EAM provider Ultimo is joining forces with physical asset management company Optimal
Partnership to provide holistic solution for asset management needs

EAM provider Ultimo is joining forces with physical asset management company Optimal, in a move that the companies say will help customers in asset-intensive industries benefit from stronger maintenance strategies

The past few years, super-duplex stainless steel has proved a challenge in 3D printing
Materials matter: Super duplex in 3D printing explained

Smart Machines & Factories spoke to Nikhil Dixit* to explore the potential benefits of using super-duplex stainless steel in additive manufacturing (AM).

Smart manufacturing solutions

Comau has announced it will be exhibiting a vast portfolio of smart manufacturing solutions at the Automatica Sprint digital trade event, held online from June 22nd to 24th.

Royal Society & Primary Engineer’s STATWARS partnership to help pupils investigate climate change

In the lead up to UN climate summit COP26, The Royal Society is partnering with not-for-profit organisation Primary Engineer- and their new project STATWARS - to help primary and secondary pupils across the UK develop their data skills and investigate climate change.

3DPRINTUK is promoting its ability to act as a satellite manufacturing facility for any overseas manufacturers to service UK spare part demand by curating their digital inventory.
Accelerating satellite manufacturing

For manufacturing companies looking to revolutionise their responsiveness to customer spare parts demand, 3D printing opens up compelling opportunities.

BCA drives innovation through use of Robotic Process Automation
Harnessing the power of robotic process automation

BCA reports it is harnessing the power of robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline back office activity, drive quality and improve customer service.

More safety in harsh environments

3D safety systems are a good option for reliably monitoring danger zones. They present a safe alternative, even in harsh environments where e.g. sparks, dirt and dust occur. They are therefore also a solution for applications where previously optical sensors were unable to provide a reliable answer 

Teledyne FLIR launches A500f/A700f cameras for fire detection and condition monitoring
Smart Sensor ruggedised thermal cameras

The FLIR A500f and A700f Advanced Smart Sensor ruggedised thermal cameras feature high-temperature detection for extreme environments paired with on-camera analytics and alarm capabilities – said to be ideal for industrial early fire detection or outdoor condition monitoring applications.

Partnership to 3D print exclusive accessories

Replique, a Mannheim based venture of the BASF business incubator Chemovator, announces a partnership with Miele, a German premium home appliance manufacturer. Under the terms of the partnership, Replique receives the exclusive right to produce and ship high-quality 3D printed accessories from Miele using its decentralized production network. Miele can now launch new products with Replique's 3D printing platform. Thanks to the capability for digital storage and on-demand production, Miele is granted the flexibility to provide customers new accessories quickly and cost-efficiently from a batch size of just one. With Replique’s end-to-end solution, Miele benefits from an easy process integration that connects existing ordering and e-commerce solutions, automatic order processing and expert knowledge in industrial grade 3D printing.

HMS Industrial Networks AB, Control any air conditioning unit from Modbus or BACnet-based automation systems via IR
Controlling air conditioning unit from Modbus or BACnet-based automation systems via IR

HMS Networks has announced it has launched a new IR-based Intesis AC interface that enables integration of any Air Conditioning unit, regardless of brand, into Modbus or BACnet Building Automation Systems.

Briggs Automotive Company
Made Smarter surpasses milestone of 200 funded technology projects

Made Smarter has surpassed a major milestone of funding 200 technology projects to help manufacturers boost productivity and growth using digital tools.

Expansion of robotics research

Using robots to make offshore infrastructure inspection and repair safer is moving a step closer following the injection of £2.5 million of further funding from UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

Partnership to study new application areas for wearable robotics

Comau partnerss with Heidelberg University to study new application areas for wearable robotics within industrial environmemnts.

French start-up COR-e is launching a new platform that simplifies data collection and processing while offering forecasts modelled by artificial intelligence (AI).
Simplifying analysis of the power market

The energy markets are now much more than an obscure and speculative playground for a few specialised traders. The European legal framework is developing towards more free trade and the attitude of professionals and consumers towards markets is also changing.

Stratus Technologies, a global leader in simplified, protected, autonomous Edge Computing platforms, today announced that Schneider Electric has released EcoStruxure Micro Data Centre
Moving Industry 4.0 data centre capability to the factory floor

Stratus Technologies, a leader in simplified, protected, autonomous Edge Computing platforms, has announced that Schneider Electric has released EcoStruxure Micro Data Centre architectures standardised on Stratus Edge Computing platforms to accelerate the move of traditional data centre capabilities to the factory floor.

Four opportunities for machine-builders to increase revenues

Leading machine builders estimate that 20% of their revenue will come from digital services in 5 years. What’s your vision and plan?

The IERA Award highlights and honors the achievements of innovators with value creating ideas and entrepreneurs who propel those ideas into world-class products. The IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (IEEE/RAS) and the IFR jointly sponsor the award
Award for innovation and entrepreneurship

The 2021 “Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Robotics & Automation” (IERA) has been awrded to PixelPaint technology of ABB. Two high-precision robots make car painting faster, more sustainable and flexible – helping manufacturers to efficiently respond to individual demands. Two-tone and customised designs are applied in one pass. The technology eliminates overspray benefitting the environment.

Industrial Smart Switch from Moxa Achieves Network Interoperability and Integration Quicker Than Ever Before
Smart switch achieves network interoperability

Moxa has announced it has added the SDS-3016 Series to its Red Dot award-winning product family. The new addition includes Gigabit uplink, eight additional ports, and an easy-to-configure Industrial Automation (IA)-profile that allows automation engineers to quickly process the increasing amounts of data within the smart manufacturing industry.

Bringing products to market faster

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has set up the Global Lighthouse Network — a group of 69 factories that form a shining example of superior technology integration and optimised processes.  With the fourth industrial revolution well underway, facilities other than Lighthouse factories must also invest in equipment that can bring them up to speed. Here, Stewart Goulding, managing director at precision drive system supplier, Electro Mechanical Systems Ltd, explores how powerful and high precision micromotors can advance automated equipment.

Futureproof digital manufacturing facilities are all about responsive, data-driven operations. Advanced industrial networks that incorporate Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) are key enablers for such systems. By selecting them, companies can benefit from high-speed, reliable communications for smart manufacturing applications.
Technology is a gamechanger

Christian Bergdahl, product marketing manager at HMS Industrial Networks, a member of the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA), explains why the technology is a gamechanger and how the company is getting ready to launch its first TSN compatible products.

Neil Ballinger, head of EMEA at EU Automation explains how to achieve intelligent automation by combining process automation with artificial intelligence.
Achieving intelligent automation

Neil Bellinger, head of EMEA at automation parts supplier EU Automation explains how to achieve intelligent automation by combining process automation with artificial intelligence.

The Scalance MUM856-1
Siemens makes first industrial 5G router available

The Scalance MUM856-1 – the first industrial 5G router from Siemens – is available now. The device connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks. The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, control elements, and other industrial devices via a public 5G network – flexibly and with high data rates. Demand for this type of solution is growing in industry. In addition, the device can be integrated into private 5G networks. The Scalance MUM856-1 therefore supports future-oriented applications such as mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians. Thanks to a robust IP65 housing, the router can also be used outside the control cabinet, for example under harsh conditions in production or in outdoor facilities in the water industry.

Strategic data analysis is also gaining momentum in the production environment
Data analysis is key to gaining momentum in the production environment

Whenever "Big Data" is mentioned, most people think of social media or the analysis of customer behaviour in online commerce. However, strategic data analysis is also gaining momentum in the production environment.

New report on the warehouse automation service market

 In a new report on the warehouse automation service market, research company Interact Analysis has revealed that soaring growth in the warehouse automation equipment market is causing parallel growth in the market for service contracts – worth $4.3bn in 2020 and projected to grow to $8.7bn by 2025.

Overcoming the challenges associated with smart manufacturing

Big data is transforming a variety of sectors, ushering them into the era of Industry 4.0. However, having access to raw data and knowing what to do with it are at completely different ends of the digitalisation spectrum.

The last twelve months has demonstrated that the ability to diversify product offerings can provide a serious competitive advantage
Diversification offers a serious competitive advantage

Companies who have had the ability to diversify their product offerings over the last twelve months have reaped the benefits by having a serious competiive advantage, but why are so many manufacturers struggling to adapt? Martyn Williams explains.

Unifying the process control network through a single gateway
Successful component integration

Greg Wainhouse, field segment manager for Water at Bürkert explains how to optimise process control integration.

Barry Weller, Solutions Marketing Manager – OEM at Mitsubishi Electric, looks at how to identify what type of robot best suits your application and how to integrate it.
Industrial or collaborative robot?

Barry Weller, Solutions Marketing Manager – OEM at Mitsubishi Electric, looks at how to identify what type of robot best suits your application and how to integrate it.

, Jon Divers, Customer Service Director, Jungheinrich UK considers the creation of a smart workforce
Creating a safe and smart workforce

Jon Divers, customer service director, Jungheinrich UK considers the creation of a smart workforce and the evolving skillset for the material handling and logistics engineers of tomorrow.

Virtual factory acceptance of a diagnostics line at OPTIMA automation
System to assemble blood collection tubes

Optima Automation has announcd it has recently completed a comprehensive system to assemble blood collection tubes, including the dosing of additives.

ABB launches new condition monitoring digital service, tailor-made for predictive maintenance of conveyor belts
Condition monitoring digital service for predictive maintenance of conveyor belts

ABB has announced it has launched a new condition monitoring digital service and says it is tailor-made for predictive maintenance of conveyor belts

Investment in robotics research

As the economies reopen from the pandemic, Asia, Europe and America adjust their robotics research funding programs (R&D). What are the targets of the officially driven government programs today? This has been researched by the International Federations of Robotics and published in the 2021 update paper of “World Robotics R&D Programs”.

Increased security and a more detailed overview of industrial networks

Paessler AG, an IT monitoring specialist, has announced a partnership with Rhebo to provide joint customers with all-round monitoring of their IT and OT environments.

Ruth Hailwood, organisational and workforce development specialist adviser for Made Smarter
Drive to up-skill over 1800 workers to create the teams of tomorrow

SME manufacturers, supported by Made Smarter in their drive to digitalise, are up-skilling over 1800 workers to create the teams of tomorrow.Smart Machines & Factories reports.

Welcome to the future

Innovative automation projects for manufacturers 

Robot shuttles for smart cities

Robot Shuttles are not Robotaxis, Explains IDTechEx

E-CAD integration reduces time to market

The time to market for automation system design and development has reportedly decreased by up to 80% for a control technology specialist following the introduction of a comprehensive electrical system design package.

Succeed with preventive maintenance

Tork, an Essity brand, is launching a new guide to “kaizen” that aims to help businesses implement a culture of continuous improvement. Kaizen is the Japanese management theory which advocates that all employees be engaged in the improvement of a business. It offers important learnings for industries looking to increase productivity and is further supported by a new study among machine operators.

Welding process management as a competitive advantage

Everyone’s talking about Industry 4.0 nowadays. It’s a hot topic for society, politics and the economy. But what about digitisation in metal-working companies? What does it mean for joining technology with its various welding processes? What is the impact of digital networking on systems and components and how do companies stand to benefit? The focus here is on cost effectiveness and competitiveness.

Reclaiming manufacturing “real estate”

New servo drive technology completes Beckhoff portfolio supporting smaller, modular plant designs 

Advanced Engineering is back for 2021, providing a platform for the reunion of the supply chain and a launchpad for the future of manufacturing and engineering.

The UK’s leading manufacturing and engineering event returns for its 12th year, reuniting the supply chain to learn, network, discover and innovate, forging the future across multiple sectors.

Supporting safe energy operations in the Industry 4.0 era

Supporting safe and sustainable energy operations through increasing predictability in safety, production time and quality, are at the forefront of a new collaborative agreement, announced recently by global engineering and technology consultancy, Vysus Group.

Automation projects for manufacturers

Some of the world’s biggest companies are coming up with cutting-edge technology such as automated warehousing solutions to streamline all sorts of tasks, from picking and packing to greeting visitors. In this article, Neil Balligner, head of EMEA at automation parts supplier EU Automation, showcases three examples of futuristic, highly automated projects that could inspire the manufacturers of today.

HMI/SCADA software trial offers boosted efficiency

Automation specialist calls on UK manufacturers to strengthen efficiency in their operations 

Arrow Electronics adds professional software support services to accelerate adoption of highly advanced applications

Arrow’s new services accelerate time-to-production for complex designs with large software element

Simplifying incubator monitoring

Vaisala, a  leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements, has announced it has introduced an easy-to-install wireless carbon dioxide measurement solution to simplify incubator monitoring and enable cost savings for customers.

Manufacturers actively looking to invest in digital transformation initiatives post pandemic

Half of manufacturers now have their sights set on digital transformation initiatives to enhance their operational performance as business begin to rebound from COVID-19, according to research from InfinityQS.

Advanced servo capabilities

IQ Motion Control designs and delivers high performance motor modules for robotic and industrial applications. The company says its proprietary technology was born out of the University of Pennsylvania’s robotics lab and combines unique hardware designs with innovative calibration and control software to achieve high end motor performance at an affordable cost.

5G Modem IP for Broadband IoT Platform

CEVA, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEVA), a leading licensor of wireless connectivity and smart sensing technologies, has announced that Sequans Communications, a leading provider of 5G/4G chips and modules for IoT, has licensed the PentaG 5G New Radio (NR) IP to power its upcoming 5G platform.

Smart city project

Sony Europe has announced its IMX500 image sensors with AI processing functionality are at the core of three smart city trials being run by Envision in the municipality of Rome. These are intended to cut the city’s transport-related pollution and accidents at pedestrian crossings.

Keeping car plant robots working with condition-based maintenance

The need to keep automotive production lines running at their optimum performance requires that the machinery and equipment used in those lines should be doing the same. Smart Machines & Factories looks at at how condition-based maintenance can help make sure that those robots most in need of attention on a factory floor receive the care they need to keep them in good working order.

Don’t leave it too late to automate

Unlike many of our European counterparts, the UK has been slow to automate. But a perfect storm of Brexit and Covid-19 is set to fast-track our robotics revolution. Here, David Jahn, director of Brillopak, explains how 2021 is poised to become the year that robotic arms finally replace human hands at food manufacturing sites’ end of line packing operations…

Securing OT systems against cyber-attack

David Bean looks at the fundamental aspects that need to be considered, including suitable system level design, risk management, system intrusion detection and automation platform vulnerability management.

Inaugural programme for the UK Festival of Robotics announced

The EPSRC UK Robotics & Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS Network) has announced the inaugural programme for the UK Festival of Robotics – a brand new 7-day celebration set to boost public engagement in robotics and intelligent systems.

Bringing zero touch measurement to UK & Irish manufacturers

Industrial metrology supplier The Sempre Group has partnered with advanced metrology solutions provider DWFritz Automation.

Microsoft Azure customers worldwide now gain access to Senseye PdM

Senseye, a leading industry AI driven asset health management company, has announced the availability of Senseye PdM in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online store providing applications and services for use on Azure. Senseye customers can now take advantage of the trusted Azure cloud platform, with streamlined deployment and management.

Measuring strain using low-cost Bluetooth technology

Wireless strain bridge measurement doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking 

Enjoying the benefits of Industry 4.0

The new moneo starter kit from ifm electronic reportedly provides everything needed for users to start exploring and enjoying the benefits of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The landscape for the industrial robot market is undergoing significant change

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the landscape for the industrial robot market is undergoing significant change. Automotive is a key sector for the industrial robotics industry due to its size and the high level of automation in the industry.

Digital integration collaboration to improve operations at North Sea platform

A pilot project that will enable a digital transformation of monitoring of critical electrical systems at the Gina Krog platform in the North Sea, has begun through the collaboration between ABB and Equinor.

Why IoT doesn’t have to be complex

In the words of American author and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, “complexity is the enemy of execution”.

Looking to the future

The future potential of process control systems - By Matt Hale, international sales & marketing director, HRS Heat Exchangers

Protocols provide TSN with the needed extra application layers for industrial automation applications

As the digital transformation of industry continues to advance, Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) could become a must-have for the factories of the future. While this technology offers advanced capabilities able to enhance production, it is not a standalone solution. In fact, TSN is part of the Ethernet standards and still needs upper-level protocols to support industrial automation applications effectively. So what will be the future relationship between TSN and these higher level protocols?

Digital twins are set to usher in a new and exciting digital era

Asite, a leading digital transformation platform, has launched a new report examining the foundations required to build and implement a valuable digital twin.

Fincantieri and Comau together for innovation of production processes with robotics

The companies will manufacture a new and advanced welding robot vehicle for shipyards

Simplifying condition monitoring of balance of plant equipment

Knowing the health of your important assets is critical to achieving production and business goals. Gary Ingram, sales manager for reliability solutions at Emerson, explains how edge analytics devices are helping to simplify the implementation of online monitoring systems.

New igus SLS material for electrostatically conductive wear-resistant parts from the 3D printer

 Lubrication-free tribo-polymer iglidur I8-ESD enables the cost-effective manufacture of durable special parts with no minimum order quantity