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Manufacturing

Automotive Feature

Behind the scenes at GE's future-forward factory

It feels like a scene from a movie. I'm standing in the lobby of a brand-new research facility where video screens set in large circular stands beam the company's achievements from their high-res flat screens. Behind glass panels, engineers in slacks and button-down shirts are busy working lasers, monitoring a robot and generally doing engineer-like things. This is GE's brand-new Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) in Greenville, South Carolina. It's the company's first in the world and Gizmag got inside to take a sneak peek.Read More

Bicycles

Mokumono's monocoque design catches the eye – and brings manufacturing home

No matter what they're made from, most bicycle frames take the form of multiple tubes that are joined together at the ends. It's a tried and trusted design, but according to Dutch designing brothers Bob and Tom Schiller, it's difficult to fully automate. As a result, bike companies tend to get their frames built overseas, in countries where the labor is cheap. In an effort to change that, the Schillers have created the Mokumono bike.Read More

Medical

Portable system provides on-demand drug production

Manufacturing drugs is a complex process, often involving multiple facilities and taking weeks or months to arrive at the finished article. The lack of flexibility in the system led MIT researchers to develop a compact, all-in-one solution to allow for streamlined, speedy drug production. It can be adjusted to produce different medications, and isn't designed to replace existing manufacturing plants, but rather to complement them by providing, for example, an emergency backup solution should a facility have to be shut down.Read More

Automotive

Revolutionary steel treatment paves the way for radically lighter, stronger, cheaper cars

Back in 2011, we wrote about a fascinating new way to heat-treat regular, cheap steel to endow it with an almost miraculous blend of characteristics. Radically cheaper, quicker and less energy-intensive to produce, Flash Bainite is stronger than titanium by weight, and ductile enough to be pressed into shape while cold without thinning or cracking. It's now being tested by three of the world's five largest car manufacturers, who are finding they can produce thinner structural car components that are between 30-50 percent lighter and cheaper than the steel they've been using, while maintaining the same performance is crash tests. Those are revolutionary numbers in the auto space.
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3D Printing

Autodesk's CEO of today on the machines that will be making things tomorrow

Carl Bass has been making stuff for forty years, from wooden furniture and granite benches to makeshift rafts built from discarded navy pontoons. These days, outside of his day job running design software company Autodesk, he keeps right on making stuff. Like an autonomous electric go-kart powered by transplanted drone hardware (currently under repair). Last week, Gizmag checked into Autodesk's pop-up gallery in Tokyo, where Bass offered his thoughts on the mildly unsettling notion that sometimes a computer's ideas might be better than ours, an emerging concept known as generative design.Read More

Robotics

Pan-Robots could streamline operations in factories

No good deed goes unpunished and that goes double for robots. They may improve manufacturing efficiency, but an improvement in one place often shows up a glaring inefficiency somewhere else. In an effort to help supply logistics keep up with robotic manufacturing, the EU's Pan-Robots project is working to create warehouse robots that are faster, more efficient, and safer than both manual operations or current robotic systems.Read More

Materials

Gecko feet inspire adhesion tech that can be turned on and off

In various types of manufacturing, parts are robotically picked and placed using graspers or suction cups. The former can damage fragile items, however, while the latter won't work in vacuums or on rough surfaces. That's why scientists from Germany's Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM) have developed – well, a new material. It utilizes the same principle as sticky gecko feet, but its gripping quality can be switched on and off as needed. Read More

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