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Manufacturing

Members of the VALERI Project, with an early omniRob prototype

In the automotive industry, life is pretty easy for the car-assembling robots ... they just sit in the same place performing the same task, day after day. Things are different in the aerospace industry, however. Airplanes aren’t made on assembly lines, so any robots used in their construction would have to move around them. The member organizations of the European VALERI Project (Validation of Advanced, Collaborative Robotics for Industrial Applications) are now working on making such mobile, autonomous plane-building robots a reality.  Read More

Batteries for EVs like this Tesla Model S could be getting cheaper and more plentiful, onc...

If electric vehicles are to ultimately become as popular as Tesla hopes they will, then a whole lot of cost-effective batteries are going to be needed. That's why earlier this year, the automaker proposed a "Gigafactory" where it could crank out huge quantities of batteries. By making so many, it could drive down the price per battery via economy of scale. Yesterday, the company announced that it and Panasonic had signed an agreement to build that factory.  Read More

The system use 3D cameras to detect and record gestures

Quality control is a vital part of modern manufacturing. Not only does it decrease the chances of a dissatisfied customer, but it reduces waste and, therefore, cost. However, inspecting products on the assembly line can itself be expensive, time consuming, and not as accurate as it should be. To speed things up a bit, BMW has developed a new system for inspecting bumpers that uses gestures to allow inspectors to literally point out defects.  Read More

LLNL researchers are working to improve 3D metal printing using higher-powered lasers

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, there was a time when 3D metal printing was like a dog walking on his hind legs – it wasn't done well; but you were surprised to find it done at all. Now that laser sintering or Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is used for everything from printing rocket engine components to semi-automatic pistols, the time for surprise may b long past, but the technology still has plenty of room for improvement. That's why researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) are working on simulations to improve the speed of 3D laser printing and the quality of the final product by using higher-powered lasers.  Read More

Raydiance's R-Cut femtosecond laser system allows for mobile phones with complex shapes

Smartphones have come a long way in a few short years, but two things have remained constant; most sport a "slab of glass" form factor, and dropping one makes you wish you’d had it insured. Designers have used new materials, such as Gorilla glass and sapphire to make phone displays lighter and more durable, but these have introduced their own problems – especially when it comes to manufacturing. Gizmag spoke with Raydiance, a company specializing in cutting-edge laser fabrication methods, about its new R-Cut femtosecond laser system that promises a “new paradigm" in high-tech glass fabrication.  Read More

The magazine cover is so small that 2,000 can fit on a grain of salt

IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest magazine cover at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the micro magazine is a reproduction of the cover of the March 2014 issue of National Geographic Kids and is many times smaller than a grain of salt at just 11 × 14 micrometers. Why, you ask? The tiny cover was created to demonstrate potential of a new nano-scale manufacturing technology, as well to encourage young people’s interest in science and technology.  Read More

The trends in the photography and 3D printing industry suggest that we may be heading towa...

Diginova, a consortium of European companies and universities, has proposed a roadmap for how the manufacturing industry could fully benefit from the digital era over the next two decades. According to this vision, we are moving toward manufacturing highly customizable, on-demand goods that are locally produced from raw materials and globally distributed digital designs. This could lead to extreme product customization, decentralization of production and, perhaps surprisingly, much lower costs of everyday goods ranging from smartphones to medicine.  Read More

Example of levitating and heating coil assemblies (Image: ESA)

Astronauts, get your welding goggles on – the space station is going into the foundry business. The International Space Station is set to do a spot of industrial research this June, when ESA’s Materials Science Laboratory-Electromagnetic Levitator heads for the station aboard Europe's’ ATV-5 Georges Lemaître unmanned space freighter as part of a program to study the casting of alloys in a weightless environment.  Read More

It's an exciting time to be alive if you are highly educated and capable of making a diffe...

Of all the technologies to have emerged from the digital renaissance, additive manufacturing (3D printing) has the potential to be the most disruptive. A perfect example of the way 3DP will change the way we make things will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show this week when EDAG, the world’s largest independent engineering partner to the mobility industry, displays an example of a printed automobile. The Genesis is more a conceptual sculpture than an automobile, but it will give you a taste of what the world's leading manufacturers might be producing a decade or two from now.  Read More

Projected figures show the Gigafactory producing 500,000 units per year by 2020, with expe...

As Tesla’s Supercharger network expands and Model S sales continue to grow, so too does the company’s need to find a more economical battery solution. A proposed technology amalgamation in the form of the Gigafactory could theoretically reduce per kWh and lithium-ion costs by over 30 percent by 2020.  Read More

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