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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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GlobalData Predicts Future Robotics Unicorns

GlobalData Predicts Future Robotics Unicorns

Right from healthcare, customer service, security patrols, and education & entertainment, startups are offering robotics-enabled solutions ranging from last-mile delivery to industrial automation. Against this backdrop, the Unicorn Prediction Model of GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, has released a list of 50 robotics startups that have the potential to become unicorns (valuation > US$1bn).

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


“Unicorn” is a term used in the venture capital industry to describe a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion. The term was first popularized by venture capitalist Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital fund based in Palo Alto, California.

Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head of Financial Markets at GlobalData, says: “Advances in AI have enabled the development of robots, allowing them to become highly complex products rather than being the stand-alone, fixed-function machines they used to be. With the expansion of the roles that robots can perform, deep-pocketed venture capital (VC) firms are attracted to invest in the high-growth opportunity.”

GlobalData’s recent report, Future Robotics Unicorns – 09 September 2021, in Q2 2021, Asia-Pacific accounted for over 44% of VC deal volume valued at a total of US$ 2.7bn, followed by North America (primarily the US.) accounting for 31% of the total deal volume. Some of the robotics startups in GlobalData’s list of potential unicorns include Gecko Robotics, Covariant, Superpedestrian, and Sphero.

Gecko Robotics builds and operates robots to automate infrastructure inspections across power, gas, oil, and manufacturing industries. Gecko’s software portal allows clients to review all their assets in 3D, ensuring a holistic view of the equipment and prioritizing areas that needs urgent attention. 

Covariant designed a universal AI to enable robots to see, reason, and act in the real world. Based on research in deep imitation learning, deep reinforcement learning and meta-learning, the company has built Covariant Brain, a universal AI for robots that can be applied to any use case or customer environment.

Superpedestrian is a US-based transportation robotics company that develops technologies for micro-electric vehicles to optimize safety, reliability, and performance. Recently, it acquired micromobility-safety startup Navmatic and launched an active safety system, Pedestrian Defense.

Sphero builds smartphone-controlled robots by combining robotic and digital technology into immersive entertainment experiences. Sphero robots allow kids to learn fundamental STEM concepts through play-based learning and educational STEAM activities.

To gain access to GlobalData’s latest press releases and expert analysis on developments in your industry, connect with them:

GlobalData | LinkedIn | Twitter

References of the content:

  1. Quotes are provided by Apoorva Bajaj, Practice Head of Financial Markets at GlobalData
  2. The information is based on GlobalData’s report ‘Future Robotics Unicorns – 09 September 2021′
  3. GlobalData’s Startup Scorecard ranks startups relatively using quantifiable data on three pillars: Investments, Innovation and Market Presence to ensure that it is objective and can be comparatively measured across different sectors and themes.
  4. This press release was written using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research, and in-house analysis conducted by GlobalData’s team of industry experts
  5. “Unicorn” Definition: Investopedia, 2021

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Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

Global Transition Towards Electric Vehicles Poses Major Challenges.

It seems that not much has changed from the age of petrol-fueled vehicles to our current era of electric vehicles(EVs). Scientists are still grappling worldwide over the depleting availability of resources and the effective usage of those resources to meet the rising demand in the automotive industry.

By Ashwini Balan, Eastern Trade Media


General Motors earlier this year announced their commitment towards being carbon neutral, and added that by 2035, all their vehicles will consist of zero tailpipe emissions. Audi, another leading multinational automotive manufacturer, pledges to end the production of combustion-engine by 2033.

With these two market leaders taking the leap forward to an all-electric future, many multinational companies are overwhelmed with the pressure to quickly transition to EVs to maintain their competitive edge but more importantly, meet the rising consumer demand. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis forecasts that by 2026, more than half of new passenger vehicles sold worldwide will be electric.

With the shift from fuel-intensive to material-intensive energy sources, there are two main concerns that scientists are struggling to resolve. Firstly, to reduce the usage of metal in batteries as it is scarce, expensive, environmentally toxic and working conditions hazardous to miners. Secondly, would be to create a recyclable battery system to maximise the utility of the valuable metals available.

Lithium-ion batteries are highly used in EVs due to their low cost which is 30 times cheaper than when they first entered the market in the early 1990s[1]. In addition, BNEF estimated that the current reserves of lithium— 21 million tonnes, according to the US Geological Survey — are enough to carry the conversion to EVs through to the mid-century.[2]  Hence, what concerns researches in EV batteries is Cobalt and Nickel.

In an attempt to address this issue, researches have been experimenting in removing both cobalt and nickel from the composition of EV batteries. However, to successfully remove them would radically transform the cathode materials. In recent years, Ceder’s team and other groups have displayed that certain lithium-rich rock salts were able to perform without the use of cobalt or nickel and yet remain stable in the process. In particular, they can be made with manganese, which is cheap and plentiful, Ceder says.[3]

To create a battery recycling system, another hurdle to overcome is the cost of recycling lithium. A potential solution would be through government support, which is seen in China where financial and regulatory incentives for battery companies are given to source materials from recycling firms instead of importing freshly mined ones, says Hans Eric Melin, managing director of Circular Energy Storage, a consulting company in London.

It is also problematic for manufacturers in their recycling efforts, when the chemistry of cathodes become obsolete at the end of the cars’ life cycle. In response to that, material scientist Andrew Abbott at the University of Leicester, UK developed a technique for separating out cathode materials using ultrasound. He adds that this method works effectively in battery cells that are packed flat rather than rolled up and can make recycled materials much cheaper than virgin mined metals.[4]

Scaling up the volume of lithium also aids in reducing the cost of recycling and this would make it economically viable for businesses to adopt it says Melin. The example of lead-acid batteries — the ones that start petrol-powered cars — gives reason for optimism.  “The value of a lead-acid battery is even lower than a lithium-ion battery. But because of volume, it makes sense to recycle anyway,” Melin says.[5]

With the collaborative effort among policymakers, researchers and manufacturers an all-electric future is an attainable reality.

References of Content:
Original Article Source: Davide Castelvecchi, 2021( https://t.co/amlXvXWs6E?amp=1 )

[1]  M. S. Ziegler & J. E. Trancik Energy Environ. Sci.2021

[2]  BloombergNEF. Electric Vehicle Outlook 2021 (BNEF, 2021)

[3]  Yang, J. H., Kim, H. & Ceder, G. Molecules 26, 3173 (2021)

[4] Lei, C. et al. Green Chem. 23, 4710–4715 (2021)

[5] Melin, H. E. et al. Science 373, 384–387 (2021).

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Looking For Growth: Global Trends In The Steel Market

Looking For Growth: Global Trends In The Steel Market

With the global steel market seeing encouraging recovery last year, we take a look at the outlook for 2018. By Jonathan Chou

The demand for steel globally is projected to reach 1,648.1 Mt in 2018, according to an outlook released by the World Steel Association.

The association’s members represent approximately 85 percent of the world’s steel production, including over 150 steel producers with nine of the 10 largest steel companies, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes.

Best Balance Of Risks Since 2008

Progress in the global steel market for 2017 was “encouraging”, said T V Narendran, chairman of the association’s economics committee. He added, “We have seen the cyclical upturn broadening and firming throughout the year, leading to better than expected performances for both developed and developing economies, although the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and Turkey have been an exception.”

Risks to the global economy, such as rising populism/protectionism, US policy shifts, European Union (EU) election uncertainties and China deceleration, although remaining, have to some extent abated. The association concluded that it now sees the “best balance of risks since the 2008 economic crisis”. Of note were several risk factors, such as escalating geopolitical tension in the Korean peninsula, China’s debt problem and rising protectionism in many locations.

2018 Growth To Moderate

Global growth for 2018 is expected to moderate, mainly due to slower growth in China, while in the rest of the world, steel demand will continue to maintain its current momentum.

Mr Narendran concluded, “World steel demand is recovering well, driven largely by cyclical factors rather than structural. The lack of a strong growth engine to replace China and a long term decline in steel intensity due to technological and environmental factors will continue to weigh on steel demand in the future.”

ASEAN High Growth Region

Developing countries benefit from a strengthening global economy. The ASEAN region remains a high growth region, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, while more mature economies such as Thailand and Malaysia are showing slower growth.

The MENA region’s outlook has suffered from low oil prices, geopolitical strife and high inflation. The region would benefit from reconstruction efforts once the major conflicts are ended. The Gulf Cooperation Council countries continue to struggle with the low oil price environment. Turkish steel demand is expected to resume growth momentum in 2018.

Countries in South America have been slow so far to benefit from the recovery in the global economy. In Brazil, continuing depressed construction activity has held demand recovery back in 2017 but a stronger recovery is expected in 2018.

In conclusion, steel demand in the developing economies excluding China is expected to grow by 4.9 percent in 2018, compared to 2.8 percent in 2017.

Chinese Conundrum

Of special note was that China closed most of its outdated induction furnaces in 2017. Subsequently, the demand from this sector of the market is now satisfied by mainstream steel makers. The association expects that this will lead to a one-off jump in measured steel use in 2017 to 12.4 percent or 765.7 Mt.

Disregarding this statistical base effect, the association expects that the underlying growth rate of China’s steel demand for 2017 will be three percent, which will make the corresponding global growth rate 2.8 percent.

The Chinese economy, which has been gradually decelerating, is increasingly supported by consumption while investment continues to decelerate. However, government stimuli, particularly a moderate boost to the construction programme, contributed to increased gross domestic product growth in 2017.

The outlook for China’s steel demand in 2018 remains subdued, showing no growth over 2017 as the government resumes and strengthens its efforts on economic rebalancing and environmental protection.

Developed Economies To Recover

The US economy continues to exhibit robust fundamentals supported by strong consumer spending and rising business confidence. Concern about tensions within the EU particularly over migration policies is receding and the EU economic recovery is broadening.

In Asia Pacific, Japanese steel demand is showing better than expected performance benefitting from the government stimulus package, improving exports and preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games. South Korea’s steel demand is suffering from high consumer debts, weakening construction and a depressed shipbuilding sector, while escalated tension around the North Korean nuclear weapons threat poses a serious and highly unpredictable risk.

With these generally favourable developments, steel demand in the developed economies is expected to increase 0.9 percent in 2018.

Industrial Sectors of Note

The construction sector in the developed economies, which had been slow to recover from its collapse after the 2008 economic crisis, is now showing more positive signs both in the residential and commercial sectors due to rising incomes and improving investment sentiments.

Infrastructure investment, which has been driving steel demand in developing countries, is likely to get some additional support from the developed world’s infrastructure renewal initiatives.

The global automotive sector is reporting a strong performance in 2017 with an especially strong performance in Turkey and Mexico. However, in the US and China, the auto sector could moderate and this trend is likely to extend to other countries in 2018.

Paradigm Shifts In Auto Industry Sector: China Key Growth Sector

Paradigm Shifts In Auto Industry Sector: China Key Growth Sector

China: The auto industry is seeing paradigm shifts; from hardware and a combustion engine to the increased use of software and electrification, according to Commerzbank.

By 2030, more than 40 percent of European vehicles sold each year are expected to be electrified; the Auto Industry is already experiencing the entry of new technology players. In addition to the changes relating to diesel engines in Europe, manufacturers and suppliers need to contend globally with the four megatrends:

  • Mobility Services
  • E-Mobility
  • Connectivity
  • Autonomous Driving

The Auto Industry Sector remains an attractive growth sector; China vehicle sales will continue to rise and Europe continues to recover strongly with a growth of three percent for 2018 and a compound annual growth rate of above two percent till 2024.

Cedric Perlewitz, head of automotive and transport finance, Commerzbank, said, “We have seen that automotive suppliers are the main target group for cross-border investment activities within the sector. We are seeing a strong demand for industrial names, particularly German corporates, and as Auto Industry megatrends develop further investments will be needed.”

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With the emergence of Industry 4.0, the economic rules, value-added networks and the industry’s entire DNA are changing. There are numerous opportunities to CNC Industry’s bring business activities in-line with the new requirements of this global transformation and overall digitisation of all business and production processes.

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