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Renishaw’s Gauging System Accelerates COVID-19 Test Kit Production

Renishaw’s Gauging System Accelerates COVID-19 Test Kit Production

In the race to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, the distribution of coronavirus test kits became a very high priority. For mass production of plastic test kit components, manufacturers could not afford metrology processes to become bottlenecks.

Verus Metrology Partners in Ireland was tasked by its customer to increase metrology throughput to keep pace with its part production.

Background

Verus Metrology Partners is a leading provider of bespoke turnkey metrology solutions. It specialises in the measurement of complex plastic component geometries and serves customers in a variety of sectors, most notably MedTech, pharmaceutical and FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods).

The company’s comprehensive metrology service comprises of fixture design and manufacture, qualification, validation and programming, Moldflow analysis, installation and aftercare. It has developed a global reputation for innovation, enabling dramatic increases in metrology machine efficiency through integrated metrology solutions.

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FABTECH® 2021:What You Have Missed

FABTECH® 2021:What You Have Missed

FABTECH® 2021 event came to a close at Chicago, McCormick Place yesterday, after its three-day large-scale held event.

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


FABTECH® is the premier event for the metal fabricating industry since its debut in 1981 and today, it has grown to become North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing product innovations and developments. FABTECH®’s comprehensive offerings such as world-class exhibits, educational sessions, industry experts, and influential keynote speakers certainly has made the yearly event a convenient “one stop shop” venue for keen individuals to find the tools to improve productivity, increase profits and discover new solutions to all of your metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing needs.

This year, FABTECH® organisers have taken into consideration the covid-19 pandemic situation and have committed to ensuring health and safety were a priority of the event. Despite additional guidelines and procedures incorporated into the event to ensure a safe environment for everyone present, the event never failed to conclude with a roaring success. The event saw about 959 exhibitors listed encompassing three halls at McCormick Place with featured technologies ranging from Additive Manufacturing, Resistance Welding to lasers and Stamping. 

Since there were tons of amazing exhibits, keynote speakers, panel discussions, ted-talks and many more, I have highlighted some that I think might be of interest to you.

Exhibitors list Index: 959 

FABx Tech Talks

Multi-Day Special Event – 3D/Additive Manufacturing Showcase

Educational Conferences

Thank you to the sponsors of the event that made it possible: 

Amada America, Inc., Trumpf, Sage, Mazak Optonics, Modula, Salvagnini America inc., Alternative Parts Inc, Unified Purchasing Group, FANUC American Corporation.

Future FABTECH® Expos dates are now available on their official website.
Head on down now to be part of the upcoming FABTECH® Expos!

References of Content:

  1. Official FABTECH Website
  2. History of FABTECH
  3. Speakers of event have been credited accordingly.
  4. The list of exhibits, tech talks, event showcases in this article is not exhaustive of the original list.

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The Global Supply Chain Crisis—Could We Have Seen This Coming?

The Global Supply Chain Crisis—Could We Have Seen This Coming?

In the world of supply chain, we can never be too sure of what will happen next. APMEN interviewed Oliver Stein, Director at South East Asia, JAGGAER to understand how the pandemic has disrupted manufacturing supply chains and how we can mitigate the risks.  

Could we have seen the global supply chain crisis coming?

Oliver Stein (OS): In the world of supply chain, we can never be too sure of what will happen next. Take the recent Suez Canal incident – who could have foreseen a 200,000-tonne ship getting stuck in the world’s busiest shipping route?

That said, it would not be wholly untrue to say that decades of taking back-office functions for granted may have contributed to the current supply chain crisis. Pre-pandemic, we saw many organisations giving far too little importance to their supply chain operations – whether this was ensuring they have the right channels and suppliers in place or digitising their back-office functions so they can rely on predictive technology tools to ensure business resiliency. 

Despite the many uncertainties, the global supply chain industry can be reasonably predictable if we know where to look and manoeuvre accordingly. Unexpected events cannot be controlled, but better preparedness can make a world of difference when it comes to staying resilient amidst disruptions. 

How has the pandemic disrupted APAC’s manufacturing industry supply chains?

OS: Every sector was affected in some way by the COVID-19 crisis. For the manufacturing industry, without a doubt, the pandemic caused increased uncertainty and disruption. Manufacturing, arguably, touches more transition points than any other supply chain. Travel restrictions and quarantines heavily impacted logistics capabilities for all nodes in the supply network and brought to light the challenges of having limited network diversity. 

The consequences of having restricted cargo logistics, particularly in air, road and rail were certainly felt across the APAC manufacturing sector, especially in the first half of last year. While cargo movements and supply chain operations slowed down, we saw the demand for products and services going up and up. Customers were reliant on products being delivered to their door with safe distancing measures and manufacturers needed to be able to meet this demand. 

Take the example of an electronics manufacturer, here in SEA. They were impacted at multiple points of their supply chain causing an almost complete halt to their delivery capabilities. The initial disruption started in their ability to source required raw materials. With a large portion of their supplier base suddenly struck down due to COVID and running at limited capacity, sourcing of their key direct goods caused their operations to nearly come to a standstill. Then, even at lower capacity, quarantine rules locked down almost all their manufacturing plants, decimating their production line. To top it all off, their main logistics paths for delivery were ocean freight based and they ended up having multiple containers stuck offshore in Singapore and elsewhere due to docking and delivery restrictions caused by responses to the pandemic. This was the worst-case scenario in terms of pandemic impact – all aspects, from sourcing to delivery, were brought to a grinding halt.

What are the lessons learnt and how can we rethink our strategies?

OS: Limited network diversity makes organisations significantly more vulnerable to disruptions – this was a lesson many organisations learnt the hard way over the past few months. 

Before the pandemic, many businesses were reliant on a single country supplier base or single shipment routes for their supply chain operations. The current supply chain crisis has highlighted the importance of building out a supply base that can respond swiftly to changes. More and more, organisations are now understanding the importance of determining the supplies that are critical to business and ensuring they have a diversified supplier base they can rely upon.

Sourcing and supplier trends are changing, with focus now on far more than just price. Companies should look beyond the cheapest option when procuring items, and instead consider other crucial risk factors such as geographical limitations, ability to deliver, and sustainability. Smart procurement is already possible with today’s technology. Automation, predictive technologies, advanced analytics and streamlined workflows can all aid organisations in allocating budget more effectively and focusing on areas that will provide sustainability and resilience to their supply chains.

What can manufacturers do now to thrive despite the ongoing disruptions?

OS: Understanding the risks associated with each supplier is a key first step. Categorising them in different tiers of risk or segmenting them in terms of importance to the organisation can help in mapping the overall supply chain network. It gives manufacturers a macro view of the potential gaps that could arise from any unexpected event. However, risk assessments and regular check-ins with suppliers can be a time-consuming undertaking. Thankfully, there are many solutions available today that can help automate these regular check-ins, freeing up valuable employee time to focus on more meaningful, strategic work. 

Ultimately, ensuring businesses are not caught out by similar disruptions in the future requires a shift in mentality and consideration of a move from “just-in-time” to “just-in-case” manufacturing methods. Manufacturers must adopt predictive modelling technologies to get a clearer view of their supply chains. Being aware of potential disruptions and hurdles ahead of time will be key to boosting business resilience. When supply chains are responsive to business conditions, the benefits can reach far beyond limiting risk exposure.

How can we build a more resilient supply chain for the future?

OS: Organisations can start by taking a step back and reanalysing their current supply chain functions. Key areas to consider would be base location diversity and supplier networks. Take this time to identify all the potential gaps and possible solutions to mitigate any risks. 

Building a supply base that can respond to shifting conditions is crucial. With the visibility gained from identifying potential risks and opportunities to strengthen supplier performance, the next step is to look to design strategies and build relationships that drive positive outcomes. Some of these include:

  • Managing by category: Not all categories are equally important. Know which ones are critical to your business and manage them strategically.
  • Diversifying the supply base: Many organisations have learnt the importance of this the hard way in recent times. Expanding the list of qualified suppliers is one of the most fool-proof ways to build a resilient supply chain. 
  • Engaging for the long term: Squeezing suppliers to drive down costs is a short-term strategy with limited pay-off. Take the time to build a partnership that benefits both organisations and when challenges arise, the relationship will pay off. 

Thankfully, there are many solutions and platforms out there that can help organisations adopt a smarter, more efficient approach to supply chain management. Picking solutions that are not one-size-fits-all but instead flexible enough to support your unique business needs and challenges will be key.

 

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How 3D Printing Is Transforming The Medical Industry

How 3D Printing Is Transforming The Medical Industry

3D printing is transforming the medical industry in many ways, but more importantly, it’s helping improve patient outcomes, improve economics and provide new opportunities for learning. Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN) spoke to Mitchell Beness, Head of HP 3D Print GTM APJ on the impact of 3D printing and its outlook in Southeast Asia.

How is additive manufacturing transforming the medical industry?

Mitchell Beness (MD): Whether it’s to produce anatomical models, medical instruments and equipment or personalised medical aids such as orthotics and prosthetics, 3D printing has helped improve patient comfort and outcomes. 

Today, advanced 3D printing capabilities provide essential equipment and key insights to help educate and prepare care givers as well as patients. For example, HP Metal Jet technology enables production of high-quality surgical tools such as surgical scissors and endoscopic surgical jaws, and new applications and geometries not possible with conventional metal fabrication technologies. In addition, HP Multi Jet Fusion can provide doctors and surgeons with rich, detailed models, which makes it easier for doctors to differentiate tiny details such as veins and arteries when practicing the procedures as well as countless other medical, health and wellness applications.

In prosthetics and orthotics, 3D printing has helped both patients and businesses improve patient outcomes by producing complex, custom designs. 

The impact of 3D printing can also be seen in the recent COVID-19 pandemic, where global supply chains were upended like never before – hospitals were facing a lack of critical life-or death resources. For many, 3D printing was brought to their lives for the first time – with many of their introduction to 3D printing was via personal protective equipment (PPE) or testing equipment, like face shields or nasal swabs. 

3D printing is transforming the medical industry in many ways, but more importantly, it’s helping improve patient outcomes, improve economics and provide new opportunities for learning. 

What are the benefits of 3D printing in the medical industry?

MD: Advances in the 3D printing industry have enabled the industry to make any idea, large or small, simple or complex a reality. HP’s 3D printing solutions enable innovative designs and the production of high quality, cost effective personalised products.

We collaborate with various partners and customers to produce strong high-quality parts that are production ready. HP’s advanced industrial capabilities enable customers to reliably move designs from prototype to mass production. The COVID-19 response was a clear example on how the community came together from prototyping to quickly deploying solutions to first responders on the ground with face shields, masks, testing swabs and more. We also work with industry leaders such as Everex, an engineering company that creates unique and technologically advanced products for the needs of their customers in the medical industry. With the HP Multi Jet Fusion technology, Everex wanted to design a new type of instrument from their device, Hemo One that is used to analyse samples of blood. The Hemo One was previously produced using traditional methods but Everex wanted a design that would be easier to assemble with an eye on reducing cost. 

How has additive manufacturing helped in the fight against the pandemic? What are some innovations?

MD: Additive Manufacturing has definitely played its role in the fight against the pandemic, especially in helping plug the gaps in supply chain for personal protective equipment. At the start of the pandemic, HP mobilised a global effort to design and manufacture products that could be 3D printed to support frontliners and healthcare workers. We started working with employees across the company as well as customers to start sourcing designs and print parts that will help with COVID-19 efforts. 

As of May last year, HP together with our partners and clients has printed and shipped over 5 million 3D-printed parts for ventilators, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) respirators, face shields, masks and other personal accessories. Together with our partners, we’ve also made these 3D printable designs freely available to the community.

All in all, the industry has definitely stepped up to meet the demands of the pandemic through continuous knowledge sharing, plugging the supply chain gap, and working with government agencies and health experts in determining parts most in need. 

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Globaldata: Global Vehicle Market Recovery On Track

Globaldata: Global Vehicle Market Recovery On Track

After an unprecedented pandemic-induced reversal in 2020, the global vehicle market is firmly in recovery phase in 2021, according to the latest analysis by GlobalData.

“April’s light vehicle sales have now been reported for all global markets. They show an 83.4 percent year-on-year overall increase, which was not unexpected due to the impact COVID-19 had on the prior year’s sales. The seasonally adjusted annualised rate of sales (SAAR) came in at 88.4 million. Together with March’s stronger result, April showed the global market recovery is on track,” commented Calum MacRae, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData.

However, the global new vehicle market recovery this year hides mixed trends at regional level. Demand for new vehicles is surging in the US, even as forecasts for Europe are downgraded.

MacRae continues: “An index of SAAR, shows that West Europe is furthest removed from the January 2018 base, while the US market has undergone the shallowest impact from COVID-19. Indeed, the US market continues to perform above expectations.

The US market is currently fuelled by the fiscal stimulus and a sense of FOMO among consumers. The fear is driven by dealer stock being depleted to historic lows due to the chip supply issues that have plagued production in the industry in the first half.”

GlobalData figures also show solid new vehicle demand this year in China, although the West European market is undergoing a patchy recovery. April’s West European new vehicle sales came in at around the same level as the prior month, but markets have been roiled by ongoing COVID-19 population movement restrictions.

MacRae concludes: “Our latest forecast for the world – at 86.1 million light vehicle sales for the year – still sees 2021 as being some 3.3 percent shy of 2019’s total, but don’t be too surprised if the market ends up closer to 2019 than many currently forecast.”

 

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Globaldata: ASEAN Vehicle Sales Down By 28 Percent In 2020

Globaldata: ASEAN Vehicle Sales Down By 28 Percent In 2020

The sales of new vehicles in Southeast Asia’s six largest markets (Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore) combined are estimated to have declined by 28.5 percent to 2,468,613 units in 2020, according to GlobalData.

David Leggett, Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, says: “The annual picture shows much sharper declines earlier in the year, including a 24 percent drop in the third quarter and a 66 percent plunge in the second quarter, when economic activity across the region was severely disrupted by business and social lockdowns put in place to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some markets in the region, such as Thailand, began to stabilise in the fourth quarter while sales in Malaysia and Vietnam began to rebound.”

GlobalData’s analysis shows the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) largest vehicle market in 2020 was Thailand, despite a more than 21 percent sales decline to 792,146 units while Indonesia slipped into second place after sales fell by over 48 percent to 532,027 units – making it the region’s worst-performing market last year. Malaysia was a close third, with sales down by just over 12 percent at 529,434 units.

Mr Leggett concludes: “While significant economic restrictions remain in place across the region, including a ban on foreign tourist arrivals, which continues to have a devastating effect on the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, domestic economic activity has begun to recover – helped by low interest rates and fiscal stimulus measures introduced by national governments.

“Exports also enjoyed a moderate rebound towards the end of last year, helped by strong demand from China, but renewed lockdowns in the region and in numerous markets around the world in response to a resurgent COVID-19 have dampened sentiment in recent weeks.”

 

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Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan: Welding Vendors Focusing On New Technologies And Energy Efficiency

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Newer Welding Techniques to Enable Growth in the Digital Age, reports that increasing competition in the global welding equipment and consumables market has led manufacturers to focus on energy efficiency, operational excellence and reducing maintenance costs. Amid the uncertain economic conditions caused by COVID-19, the industry is forecast to reach $21.74 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 1.3 percent. Growth is driven by opportunities from developing regions where infrastructure building, the introduction of new welding technologies, and automation are top priorities.

“Several new developments in welding technologies and materials are emerging due to an increased focus on energy efficiency from vendors and end-users. Advancements such as the ability to monitor and regulate the weld temperature while in the process are generating highly efficient outputs and better quality. These innovations will reduce operational tasks, improve energy management and extend electrode life,” said Krishnan Ramanathan, Industry Manager, Industrial Technologies Practice, Frost & Sullivan.

Digital transformation is gaining traction in Australia and Singapore as their communications infrastructure is upgraded. This digitalisation is expected to propel the welding market as other countries modernise. China, India, and Brazil are also vital for welding equipment and consumables suppliers as they have high energy and infrastructure requirements. However, the development rate is likely to be gradual as economies recover from the impact of COVID-19.

“IIoT is a major trend affecting equipment manufacturers as end-users continue to emphasise on improving their plant maintenance and curb operational expenditure (OPEX),” Ramanathan said. “With the global economy currently experiencing a dynamic environment, manufacturers are striving to improve operational efficiency in their existing plants and are keen to cut down the maintenance and operational costs due to unexpected failure and asset downtime. Realising that the future of manufacturing is likely to be driven by IIoT, companies today are turning their focus toward data ownership, security, and integration with existing infrastructure, with an intent to achieve returns on their investment in these solutions.”

Welding equipment manufacturers should explore these strategic recommendations to increase growth opportunities:

  • Collaborate with technology providers to enhance capabilities and meet varying end-user requirements. Leveraging state-of-the-art technologies and consumables will result in higher-quality welds and cost-savings for end users.
  • Expand the business approach by offering the option to rent welding equipment to reduce capital expenditure.
  • Continue working with traditional channel partners due to their wide reach while exploring alternative distribution and servicing options.
  • Focus on the Middle East, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia regions as these will witness a surge in demand due to increased urbanisation.

 

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Three Ways Additive Manufacturing Defined 2020

Three Ways Additive Manufacturing Defined 2020

While additive manufacturing has been trending toward mass adoption for some time, the global pandemic has accelerated this momentum. Here are three ways how metal 3D printing has defined manufacturing this year. Article by Richard Elving, Markforged.

While 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, advancements in technology and the unprecedented supply chain disruption due to COVID-19 have driven more mainstream adoption throughout 2020.  While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on global business, causing shutdowns and spikes in demand, we’ve also heard positive stories of true innovation from businesses across the manufacturing sector.

Markforged’s inaugural annual COVID-19 Impact on Supply Chains: Global Additive Manufacturing Industry Report found that modern manufacturers—or, those who adopt digital manufacturing solutions such as 3D printing—were the most resilient during the pandemic, reporting that they’ve been operating “business as usual,” while other manufacturers scaled production back. 

Based on research conducted with our global customer base and the wider industry, the report notes that almost one quarter (24 percent) of our customer respondents said they had begun producing new products during the pandemic, and 45 percent stated that “nothing has changed, it’s business as usual.” With 28 percent of customer respondents noting that they are now using 3D printing more compared to pre-pandemic usage, it’s clear that 2020 has been a year that we will look back upon as an inflection point for additive technologies. 

While additive manufacturing has been trending toward mass adoption for some time, the global pandemic has accelerated this momentum. Here are three ways we’ve seen metal 3D printing define manufacturing this year.

  1. Identifying Solutions to Supply Chain Delays

In March and April of 2020, we saw supply chains across the globe break. Whether it was from unpredictable supply and demand patterns, unreliable suppliers or broken line parts that could not be traditionally replaced, the manufacturing industry was devastated. As international supply chains continue to strain while we continually battle the virus, manufacturers want more control over their supply chains. 

But, by turning to the flexible solutions offered by 3D printing, manufacturers were able to rapidly engineer robust solutions and simplify their logistics. By leveraging printers to solve their supply chain problems, manufacturers were able to remain resilient in the face of unprecedented difficulties.

One of Markforged’s customers, an orthopaedics business, was one organisation that was able to streamline its manufacturing processes with the help of an industrial 3D printer. Extended waiting times for a specific medical grade raw material casting forced this business to explore all of the options available to them–including the printer they were already using to print tooling jigs and fixtures. They printed a duplicate of the raw cast part they were waiting for and were able to perform full test runs of their manufacturing process. 

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