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Trumpf: TruPunch 1000 Punching Machine

Trumpf: TruPunch 1000 Punching Machine

Trumpf’s TruPunch 1000 processes sheet thicknesses of up to 0.25 in with up to 600 strokes per minute. The patented Delta Drive takes away the need for the sheet and support table to move in the Y axis because it enables the punching head to “fly”, i.e. to move back and forth, Being extremely flexible, the grow-with-you concept means that the punching machine can be upgraded to a punch laser machine. It also offers versatility with sophisticated functions and tools.

Strong but compact, it requires 15 percent less space than the previous model. The SheetMaster Compact provides reliable loading and unloading processes. The machine can be transformed into the TruMatic 1000 fiber by retrofitting the laser and other components.

Hexagon: Leica Absolute Tracker AT960

Hexagon: Leica Absolute Tracker AT960

Hexagon’s Leica Absolute Tracker AT960 is the first fully portable dynamic six degrees of freedom (6DoF) laser measurement system, that represents a single-unit solution for 6DoF reflector, probe and non-contact scanner measurement, as well as 7DoF real-time machine-controlled inspection. It is an ideal solution for applications spanning aerospace, automotive and other sectors.

The Leica Absolute Interferometer (AIFM) enables the tracker to measure a moving target at a data rate of 1000 points/sec with a maximum distance uncertainty of just 10 microns. Scanning accuracy is as low as 50 microns for sphere radius measurement components and as low as 60 microns for spatial length measurement components.

It has an enhanced quick-release mechanism, robust eshock resistance and an in-built tilt detection system that makes mounting the tracker on the fly hassle-free.

Zeiss: O-Inspect Multi-Sensor Measuring Machine

Zeiss: O-Inspect Multi-Sensor Measuring Machine

Zeiss’s O-Inspect multi-sensor measuring machine enables users to optimally measure each characteristic—optically or by contact. O-Inspect delivers reliable 3D accuracy compliant with ISO standards at a temperature range of 18-30°C. An added highlight is the CALYPSO software that not only delivers results easily, but also simplifies the detection and identification of the causes of errors.

The VAST XXT contact scanning sensor ensures minimal probing forces, smallest tip diameters and many measured points by scanning for form inspections. Zeiss Discovery.V12 lens offers a large, distortion-free visual field. An optional white light sensor allows the measurement of small and sensitive surfaces.

Heidenhain: Sealed Linear Encoders

Heidenhain: Sealed Linear Encoders

Heidenhain’s sealed linear encoders from are protected from dust, chips and splash fluids and are ideal for operation on machine tools. Its accuracy grades are as fine as ± 2 μm with measuring steps as fine as 0.001 μm. Installation is simple and fast with large mounting tolerances and high acceleration loading.

There is protection against contamination. The encoders are available with full-size scale housing for high vibration loading and up to 30 m measuring length.

They also come in Slimline scale housing for limited installation space. Aluminium housing protects the scale, scanning carriage, and its guideway from chips, dust, and fluids. The scanning carriage travels along the scale on a low-friction guide. It is connected to the external mounting block by a coupling that compensates unavoidable misalignment between the scale and the machine guideways.

Kennametal: Narrow Slotting Cutter

Kennametal: Narrow Slotting Cutter

Kennametal’s Narrow Slotting (KNS) cutter, with which automakers can separate cast exhaust manifolds and steering components. Equipment manufacturers can cost-effectively mill the clamping slots on shaft supports and stock collars. Power generation and electronics companies now have a more productive way to machine keyways, add heatsink grooves, yokes, and O-ring grooves.

A series of cutters can be mounted on an arbor called “Gang Milling” to either machine multiple grooves at once or conduct multiple cutoff operations. This tool can also be used to remove five-axis machined or 3D-printed parts from their base material.

The cutter has a Double-V design for secure insert retention. A combination of radial and axial positioning not only improves tool life but part accuracy as well. The insert range accommodates slot widths from 1.6 mm to 6.4 mm (0.063 in. to 0.250 in).

Universal Robots: E-Series Cobot

Universal Robots: e-Series Cobot

Universal Robots’s new e-Series cobot platform includes technology advances that enable faster development for a wider variety of applications. Improvements include the ability to economically address even more applications, thanks to greater precision and sensitivity provided by a built-in, tool-centric Force/Torque sensor.

Like other offerings from the company, the new e-Series offers unparalleled convenience. It takes just one hour to unpack the cobot, mount it and program the first task. A wrist-join-tool communication interface reduces production line integration time and complexity. Meanwhile, from a service standpoint, all joints can be replaced in 2 to 6 minutes. A re-designed intuitive and responsive-touch user interface expedites program development by simplifying programming to a few clicks on a new lightweight, wide-screen Teach Pendant.

Seventeen safety functions, including customisable stopping time and distance, make collaborative automation easier.

Fluke Process Instruments: New Industrial-Grade Thermal Imager

Fluke Process Instruments: New Industrial-Grade Thermal Imager

Fluke Process Instruments has launched a new line of thermal imagers. The thermal and visible light camera enables 24/7 process monitoring with automatic alarms for overheating or defined irregularities.

Developed to meet today’s demanding industrial automation requirements, they support GigE streaming of images, automatic alarms, analysis and archiving. Images from multiple devices can be combined for display and analysis. Various field-interchangeable lens options are available, including wide-angle lenses. The imagers can be used to monitor applications such as press hardening, brake testing, lime kiln shells, metal spin forming, waste incinerators, and boilers.

They capture images at 9 or 60 frames/sec. Currently, the series comprises two models with a 320 x 240 pixel or 640 x 480 pixel resolution, with more models to follow. The cameras can be configured and controlled via the internet.

CNC Software, Inc. – Mastercam 2019

CNC Software, Inc. – Mastercam 2019

CNC Software, Inc. has released Mastercam 2019, which was developed to streamline the manufacturing process from job setup to job completion. It increases machining productivity and reduces overall production costs with new 2D through multiaxis milling automation features, CAD and model preparation improvements, expanded 3D tooling, Accelerated Finishing, and powerful turning and Mill-Turn enhancements.

It also improves job documentation and management, while helping to address quality and certification initiatives. New toolpath visualisation capabilities and section view tools, improvements to view and setup sheets, and a wide array of system level enhancements improve efficiency in managing job workflow, as well as providing better tools for process documentation.

From Hype To Happening: Exploring The Realities Of Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

From Hype to Happening: Exploring The Realities of Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

Despite the hype surrounding machine learning and artificial intelligence, many companies still see these technologies as tools of the future. And, while some are too busy worrying about how AI might rob them of their jobs, the brands looking to stay relevant and fresh have adopted these tools to gain a competitive edge. Contributed by ISM Inc.

Leaders recognise that, to survive in this ever-evolving world, their business needs to be where the consumers are every step of the way, and that means integrating technologies that empower and engage employees and customers alike, all while providing the best experience possible.

For those companies that have remained hesitant, change can seem rather daunting. ML and AI represent a new era in business, after all, despite their looming presence in recent years. But, considering how far personal technologies have come within the last decade alone, leaders no longer need to fear the unknown, for these tools are already widespread. Everyday consumers are accustomed to the conveniences of Netflix and Waze, which learn user preferences as they interact with the applications, and with some concentrated investments, brands can enjoy the same predictive benefits at work as they do in play.

While examining the reasons for investing in and implementing ML and AI across the enterprise, it would be wise as well to break down the myths surrounding these technologies. Leaders should not worry that ML and AI will usher in the end of their workforce, for these tools open new doors that will inevitably advance business processes and reduce maintenance costs to improve growth.

Myths: Busted

With machine learning and artificial intelligence come the rumours of automation. Because these advanced tools can potentially act as substitutes for human labour, those who are not familiar with the intricacies of said technologies often cower in fear, ignoring them at all costs to preserve the business and its employees. Many people are already worried that technology will threaten their livelihood or eliminate their jobs all together. Yet, while the “robots” will likely assume some roles, as people have feared, ML and AI will ultimately create new jobs that are uniquely human, which no computer could ever replicate. In an article published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Management Review, researchers assessed the current environment within companies that have already implemented AI and machine learning systems.

According to the research, three new categories of AI-driven business and technology jobs have emerged: trainers, explainers, and sustainers. Each role complements the tasks performed by cognitive technology in an effort to ensure that the machines remain effective and responsible.

Trainers: essentially teach the technology how to mimic human behaviours. While some algorithms teach the AI to detect the complexities of human communication, other trainers must educate systems on how to show compassion.

Explainers: bridge the gap between technologists and business leaders by providing clarity. When the AI technology recommends actions that go against the norm or when said “smart” tools make mistakes, these explainers must hold the given algorithm accountable and rationalise the result for those who might not understand the technical jargon.

Sustainers: help guarantee that AI systems are operating properly and that any issues are addressed with adequate urgency. Thus, an ethics compliance manager will be integral for companies that still have yet to establish full confidence in the tools they have elected. While these might not be the jobs businesses are used to, these roles open employees to new opportunities for growth. By adapting their current skills for this evolving environment, those who have practically paved the path for these tools will be responsible for keeping AI in line—which means they can rest easy at night. Computers will not replace them during our lifetime, but they will need to embrace flexibility in order to remain fresh and relevant in today’s fast-paced world.

Delaying The Inevitable

Beyond the fears of what machine learning and artificial intelligence could do to the workforce, many leaders have hesitated to integrate these technologies because they regard them as tools of the future. They are still stuck in the “hype” phase despite the fact that ML and AI represent the here and now—they are happening. In fact, International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts that spending on all artificial intelligence and machine learning systems will grow from the estimated US$12 billion spent in 2017 to US$57.6 billion by 2021.

Coined in 1959 by Arthur Samuel, computer scientist at IBM, the term “machine learning” refers to a computer’s ability to learn without being directly programmed. Therefore, while “artificial intelligence” refers to machines capable of “smart” behaviours, “machine learning” indicates that the given machines can perform without command as computer models come to recognise patterns in existing data and learn to predict the future. Companies that continue to ignore the benefits of ML and AI, however, likely will not be around in the future.

Image Source: Silicon Luxembourg

According to MemSQL, 61 percent of organisations claim that artificial intelligence and machine learning will represent their company’s most significant data initiative in the coming year. Google and MIT Technology Review also teamed up to establish that only 60 percent of organisations are at varying stages of machine learning adoption. Of those companies, 45 percent said the new systems have already led to more extensive data analysis and insights. While 35 percent say they have experienced faster data analysis and increased speed of insight, another 35 percent claim machine learning enhances their research and development capabilities with regard to next generation products.

To remain relevant in today’s increasingly competitive market, companies will soon have no choice but to embrace ML and AI, for these tools are becoming the standard throughout every industry. From manufacturing to health care, organisations that neglect to even consider said tools will find themselves falling behind and becoming irrelevant. While leaders certainly should not jump in and invest without first establishing an effective implementation and integration plan, it is critical that those at the top sit down and determine next steps for bringing these capabilities into their organisation.

Look Into My Crystal Ball

Consumers are already familiar with the predictive conveniences machine learning brings to the table, most notably in the form of Siri or Netflix. Machine learning enables systems to absorb customer data and create accurate, personalised experiences that become more tailored to their tastes as they interact with the technology. Thus, with each movie or TV show the customer watches and rates, Netflix can better assess their preferences and offer improved recommendations based on the connections and patterns revealed.

For companies, however, machine learning and artificial intelligence offer internal benefits that can reduce operational costs and improve organisational efficiency. Manufacturers, for instance, will find that machine learning can predict maintenance issues before they arise, allowing the company to repair their machines before something breaks, as that would cost more in the long run. These benefits also trickle down to the consumer, as ML can predict if something will go wrong with a given product, thereby allowing the company to contact the customer and rectify the situation before the experience turns ugly.

Like all technologies, ML and AI have their flaws, but the benefits ultimately outweigh any of the potential drawbacks, for these predictive insights allow companies to improve operations in ways they never could have prior to implementation. Machine learning essentially enables their computers to become acquainted with their systems and determine the best next steps to take if and when problems arise.

Computer systems almost take on the form of electronic consultants, as they will provide leaders with the guidance they need to grow and improve. Regardless of the myths and mysteries that come along with artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, these tools are not as scary as they might seem. Much like Big Data and the Internet of Things, ML and AI have become impossible to ignore, for they are integral to the future of business. Leaders try to rationalise their hesitation by claiming that ML and AI are too new, but considering the concept has been around for nearly 60 years, it is clear that these tools have had the time to mature.

Keeping Up With The Joneses

However, those who remain reluctant need not invest in an entirely new infrastructure up front. “Instead, they should focus on tackling the low-hanging fruits that can be improved upon by implementing smaller platforms that carry out basic ML and AI tasks,” says Prem Pusuloori, Chief Technology Officer at ISM, Inc. Yet, while machine learning and artificial intelligence systems represent the future of business, these technologies also embody the present. Those companies that are focused on remaining relevant in the future have already begun to embrace ML and AI today.

Leaders understand that, for continued success, they must not fall behind. They must remain on the cutting edge if they wish to get their slice of the pie. Companies that insist on delaying implementation will ultimately impede growth and, in today’s ever-expanding market, that could stunt progress for years to come.

Address More Manufacturing Challenges With Composite And Metal 3D Printing

Address More Manufacturing Challenges With Composite And Metal 3D Printing

Both high-strength composite 3D printing and metal 3D printing are valuable fabrication methods. Used separately, they address a broad spectrum of manufacturing use cases. Together, they enhance each other and provide clever solutions. There are several ways you can leverage these complementary technologies to quickly improve your manufacturing processes. By Markforged.

Metal Or Strong Composites?

Each printing technology leverages the advantages of additive manufacturing to create parts suited for different aspects of the manufacturing process. By understanding their strengths, you can maximize the utility of high-strength 3D printing in your operation.

Complex Metal Parts Create The Need For Printed Fixtures

While all parts require design for manufacturing, metal 3D printing allows you to print part geometries that are expensive or impossible to machine. Printed metal parts can be post processed with conventional metal fabrication processes like tapping, polishing, or machining. However, with the freedom to design intricate metal parts comes a problem—the more complex the part, the less likely standard workholding can hold it.

Composite 3D printers enable fabricators to manufacture high-strength conformal workholding without consuming machine bandwidth. With them, you can produce low-cost tooling and fixturing capable of handling high loads and machining fluids. For low-volume metal parts, printing both the metal part and the high-strength composite fixture will simplify your workholding design process while ensuring a perfect fit.

Print Metal Tool Inserts for Composite Tools

Custom tools are often prohibitively expensive to create. 3D printing makes these tools affordable. Tools are often made of multiple materials to maximize performance: many hammers, for example, have hard, heavy metal heads and light, shock-absorbent fiberglass handles. Access to both a metal and a composite printer provides the flexibility to leverage both materials’ strengths to create extremely functional tools, as illustrated in the example below.

Printing Custom, Multi-Material Tools Has Additional Benefits

  1. By printing one composite handle/mounting piece that can interface with a wide variety of metal inserts, you can consolidate an array of tools into a more compact unit.
  2. Swappable wear components also extend the lives of tools. When a handle or insert wears out, you can easily print a replacement instead of replacing the entire tool.
  3. Isolating the metal insert as a separate part allows you to rapidly iterate on its design. Custom tools are often prohibitively expensive to create. 3D printing makes these tools affordable. Tools are often made of multiple materials to maximize performance: many hammers, for example, have hard, heavy metal heads and light, shock-absorbent fiberglass handles.

Access to both a metal and a composite printer provides the flexibility to leverage both materials’ strengths to create extremely functional tools, as illustrated in the example below.

Use The Right Material For Tool Requirements

Metals and composites share one key material property: they’re both high-strength. Leveraging the secondary properties of each material yields strong tools that can be either hard and wear resistant or tough and non-marring. These two fabrication methods are similar in execution, but produce parts with a wide variety of material properties.

Having two different fabrication methods—one for 17-4 PH stainless steel, and one for industrial composites—enables you to 3D print parts for a wide range of requirements and use cases, from tooling and fixtures to low-volume end-use parts and functional prototypes.

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