May 2013

Machine Vision Sales Continue to Climb

05/30/13 — Total machine vision sales in North America grew ten percent year-over-year for the first quarter of 2013, according to new statistics from AIA, the industry’s trade group.Sales of machine vision systems, the largest category, rose 11 percent year-over-year while sales of machine vision components saw an increase of four percent.The increase in machine vision system sales resulted primarily from the resurgence of Application Specific Machine Vision (ASMV) systems, which grew 12 percent over last year. Smart Cameras sales, which are included in machine vision systems, grew four percent.The increase in sales of machine vision components resulted primarily from sales of…


Why Foxconn’s automation hasn’t been smooth

MarketWatch-May 15, 2013

However, Liu Kun, a spokesperson for Foxonn, said it would continue with automation. “Nowadays, young workers are picky about their workplaces, and it’s


The future of manufacturing highlighted at The Automation…

Vision Systems Design-May 27, 2013

The Automation Conference, designed for automation professionals in the manufacturing, processing and packaging industries, attracted 230 attendees from


Rust belt states of Midwest lead US manufacturing revival

By Neil Munshi in Chicago, Financial Times, May 9, 2013

The bulk of US manufacturing jobs gained since the labour market troughed three years ago have been concentrated in a handful of rust belt states, a positive sign for a region that has long seen employers flee for far-flung markets with lower labour costs. Fuelled by a resurgent car industry, states such as Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, along with Tennessee and Kentucky, account for more than half of the more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs the US gained between March 2010 and March 2013, labour department statistics show.


Hyundai develops small welding robot to tackle big jobs

Gizmag-by Jason Falconer-May 13, 2013

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which lays claim to being the largest shipbuilding company in the world, says it has developed a miniature welding robot that


MIT designs autonomous robot that assembles IKEA furniture

Digital Trends-by Drew Prindle-May 10, 2013

We’ve already got robots for some of life’s most tedious tasks – there’s the Roomba for vacuuming, the Looj for cleaning the gutters, and Siri for writing our texts


April 2013

FANUC Aims to Close America’s Skills Gap

05/02/13 — FANUC Robotics America Inc. unveiled details Tuesday of a new training program it will offer in partnership with the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing at its Charleston location. FANUC showcased industrial robots that manufacturers use, which workers across West Virginia and the region will be trained to…



March 2013

Foxconn Foxbot Update – The Robot Report

Posted 03/07/13 at 01:27 PM

… Ilian Bonev, a robotics prof at the ÉTS in Quebec, blogged “The truth about Foxconns Foxbot industrial robots,” and included a 2008 Foxbot brochure which shows the specs for their entire robotics product line. Also included is a video showing a row of Foxbots handling, grinding and sanding what appears to be iPad back covers. … Click to see the Foxbot brochure. … Prof. Bonev thinks that with their present line-up of Foxbots, Foxconn won’t be able to meet Chairman Gou’s timetable to deploy 1 million robots by 2015 and in fact were only able to produce and install 15-30,000 Foxbots in 2012. … The WSJ also reported on Foxconn’s lack of robot deployment progress in an article entitled: “Hon Hai Hits Obstacles in Push to Use Robots”. … But, according to Liu Kun, a spokesman for Foxconn, “We have canceled hiring entry level workers, a decision that is partly associated with our efforts in production automation.” This is what Foxconn Chairman Gou said would happen when he began the massive robot deployment program in Foxconn factories.


Emerging Economies and Globalization Drive Growth of Automation Expenditures in the Automotive Industry

ARC Advisory Group-Mar 29, 2013

A recent global market research study from ARC Advisory Group finds automation expenditures for manufacturing processes in the automotive industry had


Freed From Its Cage, the Gentler Robot

New York Times-Mar 30, 2013

FACTORY robots are usually caged off from humans on the assembly line lest the machines’ powerful steel arms deliver an accidental, bone-crunching right


Danish Robot Arms Reach Across North America

03/27/13 — Since Universal Robots launched in North America half a year ago, the user-friendly, lightweight robot arms from Denmark have been met with overwhelming interest from both distributors and end customers. The Universal Robots are a result of many years of intensive research in robotics. They can easily be implemented in all sorts and sizes of industry; from a small CNC lathe production to large automobile assembly lines. The Danish company has located their U.S. headquarters in New York and is busy creating a rapidly expanding distributor network. National sales manager, Ed Mullen, says that potential distributors have basically been lining…


Gadget makers drive US manufacture return

March 27, 2013

Silicon Valley is rediscovering silicon. Although electronics pioneers such as Hewlett-Packard and Fairchild Semiconductor gave the region of Northern California around San Jose its nickname, their influence has waned since the 1990s thanks to the rise of the internet and online start-ups such as Facebook and Google. Now, thanks partly to the renewed influence of Apple and its famously integrated hardware and software, physical gadgets are making a comeback. Google is manufacturing Glass, its ambitious attempt to create a new kind of wearable computer, not in China but in Santa Clara, just minutes from its Mountain View headquarters. … The costly part, however, remains mass production of the finished device. For now, start-ups and veterans alike are still almost entirely reliant on Asian manufacturers to produce their products at scale, meaning regular flights to Shenzhen and other industrial centres. Yet Foxconn, one of the largest such suppliers, now makes Google Glass in California, sources say, and is considering scaling up in the US. In response to comments made last year by Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, that it would expand Mac manufacturing in the US, Foxconn said it is “exploring the opportunity to expand its existing manufacturing operations in the US” in response to customer demand, but has not yet announced the acquisition or construction of factories there. Taipei-based Foxconn has operated in the US for about a decade, with many of its factories there used for final assembly or customisation of PCs and servers for groups such as Hewlett-Packard. Its largest US facilities are in Texas, notably Houston, with other factories in Indiana and California. Like similar factories it has in eastern Europe, these mostly produce high-value products and rely more on automation than its Chinese facilities, according to former and current employees. For now, the scale of Foxconn’s factories outside China remains minuscule compared with those on the mainland, where it employs more than 1m workers.


Manufacturing towns: The last of the metal-bashers: In odd corners of the country British industry clings on

Mar 30th 2013 | The Economist

TO WALK into Devonshire Dock Hall, in Barrow-in-Furness, a town of 70,000 in England’s north-west, is to walk into the heart of a community. Some 260 metres long, this cathedral of industry houses three part-built grey and black nuclear submarines. Workers in blue overalls and hard hats are busy assembling the vast machines. Among them are “fourth- or even fifth-generation shipbuilders”, says Alan Dunn, the operations director at the plant. “When people here go to the pub, they talk about submarines. The yard dominates everything we do.” In most parts of Britain, manufacturing has all but disappeared in the past half-century. In 1997 about 4.4m people worked making things; now, just 2.8m do. North of Birmingham the urban landscape is characterised by redundant factories and the glitzy regeneration schemes intended to replace them. And yet in a few places, such as Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, or Pendle in Lancashire by the Yorkshire Dales, manufacturing and engineering continue to thrive. If there ever is a new “march of the makers”, as George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, hopes, these places will be where they head for. …Without manufacturing, these places might well have little work at all. Barrow-in-Furness and Pendle in particular are too far from big cities to support the service-sector businesses that Britain does so well. None of the three has a university to attract and retain high-flying professionals. Small-town life does not appeal to many young people—even though in Pendle newly-qualified technicians can buy pretty Victorian terraced houses at the age of 21 and spend their weekends hiking and cycling in the mountains. Secure jobs support local pubs and shops, and entrepreneurs live in the homes of the old mill-owners. More could be done to boost growth. As he shows off his machines, Ian Weatherill, the co-owner of Hope Technology, a bicycle-parts firm in Pendle, says that he has repeatedly been told to transfer production overseas to cut costs (he has ignored this advice). Barrow-in-Furness will be lost if demand for submarines ever dries up—and yet it lacks basic infrastructure improvements that might attract new businesses. Of the three, Corby’s jobs are probably the most sustainable, but they are also the worst paid and least enjoyable, and increasingly done by immigrants. It may be too much to hope for a manufacturing renaissance. In Mr Weatherill’s converted old mill, where once hundreds of workers would have sat at their looms, tens of robot lathes now hum under the watchful eyes of barely a dozen supervisors. Most manufacturing has become too mechanised and competitive to employ large numbers of people. But in the past two decades valuable skills were lost through heedlessness: the government let apprenticeship programmes fade into nothingness while companies often pursued short-term profits at the expense of long-term capability. If a little of the damage could be undone, it would at least secure the future of the last industrialised corners of Britain.


February 2013

Foxconn Freezes Hiring in China


Foxconn Technology Group has frozen the overall hiring of factory workers in China as the assembler of gadgets for Apple…


Spanish Pallet Manufacturer Relies on Automation and Robotics to

Pallet Enterprise-Feb 28, 2013

AGLOLAK: Spanish pallet manufacturer pleases demanding customers through automation including robotics and proper lumber sourcing from certified sources


The Automation Element Of Re-Shoring 20, 2013

Automation GT, an automation design-and-manufacturing firm based out of Escondido, Calif., is at the forefront of the “re-shoring” trend that has been sweeping


January 2013

Robot-manufactured cells for the photovoltaic industry

Posted: 01/30/2013 During the manufacture of solar cells, wafers go through a variety of wet chemical processes….


The Next Manufacturing Boom Will Be Ours

1/26/13, Barron’s

As the only industrialized superpower not decimated by World War II, the United States once made nearly 40% of the planet’s goods. These days, that number has shrunk to 18%. We make American Girl dolls in China, Levi’s jeans in Mexico, and enough movies in Vancouver to nickname it Hollywood North. After decades of outsourcing, however, the U.S. is quietly enjoying a manufacturing revival, and companies like Apple (ticker: AAPL), Caterpillar (CAT), Ford Motor (F), General Electric (GE), and Whirlpool (WHR) are making more of their goods on American soil again. It isn’t just U.S. companies that are drawn to our cheap energy, weak dollar, and stagnant wages. Samsung Electronics (005930.Korea) plans a $4 billion semiconductor plant in Texas, Airbus SAS is building a factory in Alabama, and Toyota (TM) wants to export minivans made in Indiana to Asia. The Rust Belt owes its new shine to many factors, including rising wages and industrial-land costs in Asia. But none is bigger than the U.S. energy boom. Thanks to a head start in extracting oil and gas from shales, North America now produces far more natural gas than any other continent. Unlike oil, gas isn’t easily transported across oceans, and a result is some of the world’s cheapest energy within our reach: Natural gas here costs $3.55 per million British thermal units, versus roughly $12 in Europe and $16 in Japan. Cheap energy not only reduces our trade deficit and our addiction to Middle East oil, it also makes our factories more competitive globally — a boon for a country that had gone from exporting American goods to exporting American jobs.


Labor Intensive Industry Adopts Automation 30, 2013

From keyboards to electronic home appliances, the manufacturing industry in the Zhujiang River delta area used to be a driving force in the beginning of China’s


December 2012

Labour shortages: Double-digit wage increases

December 11, 2012

The weeks after Chinese New Year are typically peak recruiting season for the factories in southern China, which for three decades have produced toys, jeans and electronics for retailers around the world. This year was markedly different. Factory owners in Dongguan, a city a couple of hours drive from Hong Kong that consists of constellations of factories specialising in different products, reported that they were confronted with a labour shortage.

Control Panel Manufacturing Automation

Manufacturing Business Technology-Dec 21, 2012

Today the manufacturing of control panels is traditionally a labor intensive process with few options for process automation. Most operations are done manually


Emerging Economies and Globalization Drives Automation

ARC Advisory Group-Dec 20, 2012

Automation Expenditures for Discrete Industries Global Business This environment created tremendous growth opportunities for automation equipment for


Automation called key to paring costs, building stronger home base 10, 2012

HEBRON, Ky.—Automating certain rubber product processes once was thought to be unthinkable, but not anymore. Now it’s looked on as a way to minimize


Hon Hai Hits Obstacles in Push to Use Robots

Wall Street Journal-Dec 11, 2012

Automating production for such items as television sets, game consoles and Apple’s iPhones could be a game changer for Hon Hai, helping it become more


November 2012

North American Robotics Industry Up 20% in 2012

November 5, 2012

North American based robotics companies are in the midst of another strong year, with new orders up 20%, according to new statistics released by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the industry’s trade group. A total of 16,363 robots valued at $1.1 billion were ordered in the first nine months by companies in North America, an increase of 20% in units and 29% in dollars over the same period in 2011.  Including numbers from outside North America, the totals are 18,844 robots valued at $1.25 billion. The automotive OEM and component suppliers remain the robotics industry’s biggest customers, accounting for 64% of the new orders through the third quarter.  Sales to these two segments rose 45% through September. Other industries with increased robot orders include metalworking (up 13%) and life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical (up four percent).


Foxconn Builds, Installs Its Own Robots

11/15/12 — Foxconn, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that builds numerous mobile devices and gaming consoles, has been in the media lately because of labor issues, complaints over working conditions, rumored riots, and even suicides, all occurring in the past few years as demand for smartphones and tablets is skyrocketing. While consumers began…


Trimble Launches Robotic Surveying Station for Construction Industry

11/19/12 — Most construction jobs are repetitious, labor-intensive and dangerous – perfectly suited for robot automation. Robots have the speed, dexterity and power necessary to transform construction. From laying brick to handling delicate windows and insulation, they have the potential to become a valued part of future construction. Trimble, a provider of advanced positioning solutions, has launched a robotic total station for the construction industry. The company introduced the latest hardware and software for its Trimble Field Link for MEP and Trimble Field Link for Structures construction layout solutions. The Trimble RTS Series Robotic Total Stations help contractors perform layout tasks significantly more efficiently than with conventional mechanical systems…


Robotic Laser System Selectively Removes Paint Coatings from Aircraft

11/28/12 — Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) of Johnstown, Pa., are working with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Ogden Air Logistics Center 309 AMXG to develop and demonstrate a robotic system that uses high-powered lasers to remove coatings from fighter and cargo aircraft. In a two-year project sponsored by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment, CTC, under Prime Contract W91ZLK-10-D-0005 with NREC as a subcontractor, will build six autonomous mobile robots, each with a laser coating remover, and deploy them to work in teams to remove paint and other coatings from…


Coming soon: Robots that help build buildings

Los Angeles Times-by Jon Healey-Nov 13, 2012

In my previous post, I described the potential for a new era of automated manufacturing in which it’s easier for entrepreneurs to create products but harder for


Manufacturing: The new maker rules | The Economist

Big forces are reshaping the world of manufacturing

Nov 24th 2012

Mr Pettis, the founder of MakerBot, a maker of low-cost 3D printers, spoke at the opening of his firm’s first retail store on November 20th in New York. It will sell desktop MakerBots, which make things out of plastic, for just $2,200. It is still early days, but MakerBots and machines like them are “empowering people to make the things they want, rather than buy them from factories,” says Mr Pettis. Certainly 3D printing is hot. Some firms are already using the technology, which is also known as additive manufacturing because it involves building up material layer by layer. It can be used to make such things as prototype cars, hearing aids, customised dolls and medical implants. On the same day that Mr Pettis opened his store, GE announced it had bought for an undisclosed sum Morris Technologies, a Cincinnati firm that uses industrial 3D printers (which cost $500,000 or more) to print objects for engineers. Morris will be printing metal parts for a new GE jet engine.


October 2012

First Sighting of FoxBots in China

Posted 10/15/12 at 07:08 AM

Foxconn said they would be deploying 1 million robots in their factories in China. The first photographs of one of those appeared in Chinese news last week.
… 10,000 turquoise FoxBots have been installed in a factory in Jincheng, China.
News sources estimate that Foxconn is behind schedule to meet their goal of 300,000 by the end of 2012; 30,000 appears to be the real number.
… But the big story is that these robots appear to have been built by Foxconn itself.


September 2012

Assembly bot Baxter wants to get close to you (Q&A)

By Tim Hornyak, CNET, Sep 18, 2012

Boston startup Rethink Robotics thinks its new humanoid factory worker is so low-cost and easy to set up that it could change U.S. manufacturing. Crave spoke to Rethink founder Rodney Brooks.


The Danish Robot that Doesn’t Need Sensors

09/25/12 — Does this headline look familiar? While the international robotics community ogles over the unveiling of Rethink Robotics’ new line of compact, inexpensive, easily programmable robots, the Danish-based Universal Robots brings its six-axis robotic arms—boasting the same revolutionary qualities—to the U.S. for a very public show-and-tell.  The UR5 robotic arm manufactured by Universal Robots has been announced “The world’s most innovative robot” by The International Federation of Robotics and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. The US audience will now see the award winning robot – along with its big brother UR10 – for the first time at IMTS 2012 in Chicago. The UR5 and…


Hiro: Japan’s Industrial Co-Worker Robot

09/18/12 — Engineers at the Tecnalia Research and Innovation Centre in San Sebastián, Spain will further develop the intelligence of a Japanese humanoid robot to enable the device to work alongside humans in European factories. The robot model, known as Hiro — short for Human Interactive Robot — is made by Kawada Industries in Tokyo. The project aims to improve the capabilities of factory staff working with robots in conditions of safety, and to increase the competitiveness of the European factories in international markets. Tecnalia says this project is the first to allow entities outside Japan to extend this robot’s capabilities. Kawada…


ABB to supply automation and electric equipment for iron ore project 12, 2012

Sep 12, 2012 (Datamonitor via COMTEX) — ABB, a power and power technology group, has won orders totaling $140 million from Vale SA to supply automation


July-Aug. 2012

Robots becoming a crucial part of aircraft production

Macon Telegraph (blog)-Jul 25, 2012

Before the use of robots, technicians at Spirit AeroSystems, wearing welders’ Inside Spirit’s 787 hangar, a robot works behind an enclosed cage drilling thick


Mining future in automation

Fraser Coast Chronicle-Jul 25, 2012

Sandvik Mining automation manager Pieter Prinsloo said when it came to either the Bowen or Galilee basins, there were more discussions than decisions at this


June 2012

Rosie the Riveting Robot?

06/27/12 — Forget Rosie the Riveter, OC Robotics has been working with Airbus UK and KUKA developing aerospace robots to deliver end effector packages capable of inspection, drilling, sealing and swaging during the low-access assembly process. The developer is bringing its snake-like robotic arms to the Farnborough International Airshow, from July 9-13 where visitors have the opportunity to drive a snake-arm robot through a challenging confined-space course. A second system, mounted on an industrial robot, will simulate work within a wing box, with a wing box mounted both vertically and horizontally to mimic current assembly methods. OC Robotics has developed a range of…


Robotic Assistants May Adapt to Humans in the Factory

06/13/12 — CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In today’s manufacturing plants, the division of labor between humans and robots is quite clear: Large, automated robots are typically cordoned off in metal cages, manipulating heavy machinery and performing repetitive tasks, while humans work in less hazardous areas on jobs requiring finer detail. But according to Julie…


Tesla Motors and the robots that build the Model S (pictures)

Slideshow – Jun 22, 2012, 3:46 PM | By James Martin

During a test drive event today to show off the new Model S rolling off the production line, CNET gets a look into the future of electric cars.


May 2012

ArcelorMittal Steel Mill in Indiana Revived With Lessons From Abroad

May 21, 2012, By JOHN W. MILLER

BURNS HARBOR, Ind.—Some steel mills are destroyed by globalization, others reborn.

Left for dead a decade ago, this 50-year-old facility on the shores of Lake Michigan has been rejuvenated thanks to an unusual experiment by its owner, Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal. In 2008, Burns Harbor was “twinned” with a hypermodern mill in Gent, Belgium. Over 100 U.S. engineers and managers, who were flown across the Atlantic, were told: Do as the Belgians do. Burns Harbor now enjoys record output. Its furnaces, where steel is made out of iron ore, coal and limestone, are run with software developed in Belgium. Robots are in. Pencils are out. Workers are learning to make the same amount of steel with nearly half the people it employed three decades ago. Productivity is nearing Belgian levels. The transition hasn’t been seamless. As a collective bargaining session looms this summer, union leaders say a tough battle is expected over wages, safety risks and the next wave of automation. But there is also an acknowledgment that increased productivity has saved the mill from oblivion. American manufacturing—from chemicals to washing machines—is growing again. Spurred by stable labor costs, weaker unions and low natural gas prices, today’s manufacturers have emerged from the recession far different from what they were even a decade ago. They employ more highly skilled workers, are more automated and have far fewer workers.


Remade in the USA: A Crib for Baby: Made in China or Made in USA?


ROBBINSVILLE, N.C.—Stanley Furniture Co. is betting baby cribs are among the few things Americans will pay a hefty premium for just because they carry a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. The 88-year-old company recently shifted its crib manufacturing back to the U.S. from China, to a sprawling factory here that not long ago was earmarked for closure along with Stanley’s other two domestic plants. Today, the Robbinsville factory is an oddity in an industry that has been abandoning the U.S. because of costs: It is growing and investing over $8 million in new machinery. What prompted the move was a …


Once Made in China: Jobs Trickle Back to U.S. Plants


Manufacturers are returning some production to the U.S. But the experience of Whirlpool of others shows the moves aren’t…


3D Printing Robot To Impact Annual $8B In Retail Furniture Sales

Tables and chairs for casual dining represent an $8 billion slice of the more than $96 billion annually in retail sales of furniture and home furnishings. A Dutch inventor named Dirk Vander Kooij believes that his 3D printing robot that prints out tables and chairs —from recycled materials, no less— has a more than passing chance to impact that industry in a very big way. (May 08, 2012)


Jan.-April 2012

President´s Report, IFR

More than 150,000 new industrial robots were sold all over the world in 2011! This is by far the highest number of sold robots ever recorded in one year.  Robot suppliers are increasing capacities and the success story of industrial robots is ongoing.


Philips Selects Adept Technology Robotics to Manufacture High-Tech Shavers

Advanced robotics and automation solutions have played a major role in the industry’s worldwide manufacturing and production practices. Adept Technology has announced its robotics and flexible feeding systems have been selected by Philips, a manufacturer of healthcare, lifestyle and lighting products for establishing an assembly line that will streamline its production of advanced shavers.


German Maker of Robots Gains as Chinese Wages Rise

New York Times – Apr 13, 2012

Kuka forecasts that growth at its robotics unit this year will outpace the industry, which it expects to expand by about 2 percent. Japanese rivals are also


June – Dec. 2011

Robots: Made in Brazil

Posted 7 Nov 2011 at 14:44 UTC by IKE_RobotsPodcast

In the new episode of Robots Podcast we take you all the way to Brazil. Marcelo Becker from the University of São Paulo (USP) talks to us about how mobile robots are going to help change agriculture, manufacturing and driving in his country. We then speak with Marcel de Sena Dall’Agnol a student at USP about the excellent robotics competition they organized at SEMATRON, which is a mechatronics conference organized by USP undergraduates. To learn more about robotics in Brazil read on or tune in!



Applying Robotics to Construction


Posted 29 Sep 2011 at 16:51 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast

In a recent Automaton article, Markus Weibel of ETH Zurich, discusses the work of two of his colleagues there, Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, applying digital tools and robots to the design and fabrication of buildings as well as sculpture using construction techniques. Besides serving on the faculty of ETH, Gramazio and Kohler have an architectural firm through which they commercialize the techniques they’ve developed.



Feb. – May  2011

ABB’s FRIDA Offers Glimpse of Future Factory Robots

Erico Guizzo  /  Tue, April 19, 2011

Its name is FRIDA, and it’s a creation of ABB, the Swiss power and automation giant, which introduced it early this month at the Hannover trade show, Europe’s largest industrial fair. Designed for assembly applications, FRIDA is capable of using its human-like arms to grasp and manipulate electronic components and other small parts. The machine is a concept robot that ABB created to show off its vision for a new kind of industrial robot.


F16 Demolition Robot Cuts Through Concrete Like Butter

Erico Guizzo  /  Fri, February 25, 2011

Need to destroy something? Get a F16. No, not thatF16. The F16 demolition robot from Stanley Hydraulic Tools. Unveiled this month, this electrically-driven hydraulic monster comes with five different attachments: shear, breaker, grapple, drop hammer, and our favorite, a concrete-cracking claw. Sure, it’s more of a remote-controlled shrunk excavator than a robot. But who cares? It can tear down walls and cut steel like butter. Can we bring this guy to RoboGames?


With Two Arms and a Smile, Pi4 Workerbot Is One Happy Factory Bot

Samuel Bouchard  /  Thu, February 03, 2011

Is this robot the factory worker of the future?

The pi4 Workerbot is a new industrial robot capable of using its two arms to perform a variety of handling, assembly, and inspection tasks. It’s designed to work alongside human workers —  and the robot’s LCD face even displays a broad smile when things are running smoothly.


ABB Very Optimistic On China In 2011 – CEO
Wall Street Journal –
John Revill – May 12, 2011

“We started very strongly in China in the first quarter, both power businesses and automation were strong last year and that continued,” said Hogan at ABB’s …


Frost & Sullivan Conceives the Future of Manufacturing – The …

Newswire Today (press release) – May 11, 2011

What part will factory automation play in keeping businesses competitive? How can companies leverage such Mega Trends to stay on top of their game? …


Ford Employs a Robot Named Ruth

PR Web (press release) – 2 days ago

The sales team at Maritime Ford – the premiere Ford dealer in Manitowoc – is excited about the new robots that Ford is using to make better vehicles that …


Automated Assembly Lines from KUKA Systems Outfit Canada¹s Largest Solar Panel Plant

05/20/2011 KUKA Systems North America has made a successful entry into the burgeoning Canadian solar panel manufacturing sector, demonstrating in the …


Let The Sparks Fly…50 Years of Robotic Automation and the Future of American Industry


AWS National Robotic Welding Conference & Exhibition 2011
Overcoming Obstacles to Automation Through Innovation
Sponsored by the American Welding Society
May 23-25, 2011, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Event is designed to benefit anyone considering the use of robots in arc welding applications, or currently using robots and looking to expand or optimize their use.

“Let The Sparks Fly…50 Years of Robotic Automation and the Future of American Industry”
May 24, 2011, 7:00 – 9:30 Dinner and Keynote Presentation
By: Dean Elkins – Senior General Manager
Motoman Robotics, Chairman RIA

As a special feature the keynote speaker will be Dean Elkins, the Chairman of the Robotic Industries Association, and Senior General Manager at Motoman Robotics who will give a presentation about the way in which robots have been assimilated into the American manufacturing market space, making American companies more productive while lower costs, increasing flexibility, and improving a company’s chances of competing in the global market place. Scholarships will be awarded to students during the keynote dinner.



January 2011

Robots: Harvest Automation, January 14th, 2011

In today’s episode we look at a new market in robotics with huge potential, agriculture. With us, Joe Jones, co-founder of Harvest Automation and father of the Roomba.



November 2010

ABB expands industrial robot range

Manufacturing Talk – ‎11/22/10

ABB Robotics has introduced three models in its range of multipurpose robots designed to increase productivity in machine tending, material handling, …


North American Robot Orders Up 34%

Appliance Magazine – ‎Nov 15, 2010‎

RIA said 9628 robots, valued at $618.4 million, were ordered through September by North American manufacturing companies. This represents a gain of 34%


Five Reasons U.S. Companies Should Automate Now

November 05, 2010,

Right now, businesses in the United States are facing some tough challenges including offshoring pressures, approaching work shortages, fierce competition, and economic upheaval.  Robots offer a way to fight back and stay strong. Consider the unique benefits robots provide for U.S. manufacturing companies at this unique point in time. 1. Combat Offshoring: Manufacturing companies in the United States don’t have contend with the unforeseen costs and hassles posed by offshoring. Robots allow manufacturing and other companies to remain on U.S. soil while still achieving offshoring goals (i.e. low cost, high quality production). Robots offer a much more reliable way to keep manufacturing costs down and remain competitive in the global economy. 2. Prepare for Skilled Worker Shortage: It may seem hard to believe considering the current unemployment rate, but the United States will soon be facing a severe worker shortage. According to a recent Industry Week article, over the next five years baby boomers (making up 40% of the workforce) will begin retiring en masse and there won’t be enough workers with similar skill sets to fill the openings. Worker populations in specific applications, such as welding, will be especially hard hit. Prepare your company for this inevitable shortage by investing in industrial robots.   3. Compete Locally and Globally: Industrial robots make it possible for U.S. companies to keep up with both domestic and foreign competitors. As mentioned earlier, robots are reliable tools that can effectively keep costs down and quality consistent. This way your company can compete with low labor costs abroad, respond easily to product and packaging changes, as well as streamline and increase production. More and more businesses are turning to robots to gain a competitive edge. During the first nine months of this year, robot orders from North American companies have increased 34%. Don’t fall behind! Invest in robots today. 4. Take Advantage of Tax Incentives: Recent legislation makes automating with robots even more advantageous for U.S. manufacturing companies. The Small Business Jobs Act extended and expanded Section 179. Now equipment (both new and used) that is ordered and put into use in 2010 or 2011 is eligible for the tax write-off. In addition, the thresholds have doubled. Companies can write-off the first $500,000 (not just the $250,000). The cap on purchases has grown from $800,000 to $2 million. 5. Strengthen the Country: The United States has been through some difficult times of late. The economy is still recovering from a recession and unemployment is at a record low (9.6% according to the BLS). With robots you have a chance to give back – to make sure you contribute to building up this nation. Be a force of change: staying onshore, providing robot techs and programmers with jobs, and contributing to the country’s economic wellbeing.  Interested in robots for your company? Contact RobotWorx at 740-383-8383.


US processors competing globally thanks to automation and technology

Plastics News – Robert Grace – ‎Oct 28, 2010

DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY (Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m. ET) — The U.S. plastics industry, the third-largest U.S. manufacturing sector, is now stepping up its adoption of advanced machinery and automation to produce sharp gains in productivity, according to Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. “We got burnt back in the 1990s,” he said, when business was booming and the plastics industry didn’t bother to invest much in automation. “Now,” he noted, as an industry “we’re investing more in automation than in primary equipment.” The result is a more globally competitive U.S. plastics industry, albeit with fewer workers and plants.



October 2010

ABB to deliver automation and electrical systems for paper mill in Philippines

Lesprom Network – ‎Sep 27, 2010‎

ABB received an order from Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc. to provide automation and electrification systems for its greenfield specialty paper mill …


Mining Industry primed for tech investments

Australian Mining – Michael Mills – ‎Oct 7, 2010‎

Mills: What lessons has the mining industry learned from its experiences with automation so far? Baldwin:I think the biggest thing that some in the industry have picked up since making their first investments in automation, is that technology can actually be a friend to the industry rather than a hindrance. The bigger miners have certainly invested a lot of money into technological development, in particular Rio Tinto in Western Australia. They have all obtained very good gains from their investment. … Mills: What types of automated technology will become more popular during this phase of higher commodity prices? Baldwin: We are already seeing an increase in the use of real-time fleet management systems and dispatch systems. GPS navigation systems are also becoming more prominent and there is a push to integrate of all these different systems. Machine health is another area that will grow considerably in the next few years.

September 2010

Jacksonville manufacturers install automation in factories

Business Journal – Mark Szakonyi – ‎Sep 17, 2010‎

Northeast Florida manufacturers are increasingly installing automated machines rather than hiring new employees to keep competitive in a tight economy, local executives say. Continued automation in manufacturing is key to U.S. industry’s ability to grow through production of high-tech products ranging locally from aviation to next-generation batteries, said Lad Daniels, executive director of the First Coast Manufacturers Association.


How robotics can help manufacturers recover from the recession

Engineer Live – ‎Sep 13, 2010‎

Manufacturers are seeing an increase in demand, but how can they respond? Paul Stevens looks at developments in industrial robots which are now simpler to implement. As European member states’ economies start to recover from the recession, manufacturing companies are seeking ways to ramp up production in a flexible way. One option is to use industrial robots, which are now more cost-effective both to purchase and to implement, thanks largely to programming software that is more engineer-friendly. With robots now being simpler to integrate, there is increasing competition among manufacturers to add functionality so they can offer increasingly sophisticated systems. For example, Maurice Hanley, Fanuc Robotics’ sales and marketing manager, says: “Fanuc robots now come with onboard vision so there is no need for engineers to get bogged down in interface and connectivity issues.”


Automotive industry drives industrial robot market recovery

OptoIQ – ‎Sep 15, 2010‎

 In a recent study, the International Federation of Robotics (IFR; Frankfurt, Germany) says that since the beginning of 2010, the demand for industrial robots has been surging worldwide. “The trend towards automation, which was stopped by the economic crisis in 2009, is continuing”, said Åke Lindqvist, IFR President, on the occasion of the publication of the study, “World Robotics 2010 – Industrial Robots”. A strong recovery of worldwide robot installations in 2010 will result in an increase of about 27% or about 76,000 units. A further increase of about 10% per year on average will resume in the period between 2011 and 2013 attaining a level of more than 100,000 units in 2013.


Motoman MS120 “Master Spot” Welding Robot Picks Up the Pace – Sep

Robotics Trends Staff – Filed Sep 06, 2010

Designed to optimize automotive applications using DC spot guns with compact servo actuators, the MS120 is more than 43 percent faster than a traditional heavy-payload robot, resulting in shorter takt times and higher throughput. Quick and agile, the six-axis MS120 “Master Spot” welding robot features a 120 kg (264.6 lb) payload and is more than 43 percent faster than a traditional heavy-payload robot, resulting in shorter takt times and higher throughput. Specifically designed to optimize automotive applications using DC spot guns with compact servo actuators, the slim-profile MS120 robot can be placed in close proximity to workpieces and other robots to create flexible, high-density layouts. These configurations can eliminate multiple stations, resulting in shorter production lines and smaller spot welding workcells.


Characteristics Of The New China

Forbes (blog) – Handel Jones – ‎Sep 10, 2010‎

While the past approach was to use low-cost labor in China, the new factories, many of which are managed by outsiders, use increasing levels of automation, …


India’s GDP is expected to reach US$3 trn :Frost & Sullivan

India – ‎Sep 8, 2010‎

The degree of automation will play a key role in driving India’s position in the global manufacturing industry.


August 2010

Why Manufacturers are Giving Automation a Fresh Look

The market is in recovery. Finally, those who, over the last few years, have been forced to diversify to remain competitive – downsizing teams and stretching budgets in the process – can breathe a sigh of relief. “It has been a difficult period, but many [companies] have performed well [during the downturn]. They’ve remained competitive and [in some cases] even expanded. With the market beginning to recover, the race is on to find ways to improve efficiency, increase productivity and reduce costs and automation will be more popular than ever,” explained AEB (International) Ltd’s General Manager, Mark Brannan. Businesses, he said, are giving automation ‘a fresh look’ as they look to ‘ramp up’ without increasing overheads. “With the downturn, people have taken the opportunity to streamline [their] organizations, get rid of the deadwood and basically get to an optimum size,” he said. “Now they are in [the process of] the economic recovery, they don’t want to be in the position of increasing headcount or increasing the overheads associated with a distribution operation.” One of the key benefits of automation is its ability to reduce labor costs, which in many instances represents the largest overhead in any given warehouse or distribution centre. “The benefits of automation encompass reducing the unit cost of labor, increasing the throughput and reducing the number of errors,” said Joel Anderson, President of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA). “The business question is scale and flexibility. Unlike labor — which can be increased or decreased within a relatively short time line — the cost of this kind of capital investment, its expected return and its usage has a much longer time line and contains a higher level of risk. As a result, a facility requires a certain level of scale or operation to obtain the returns needed to justify adopting automation. “Current usages include warehouse space and alignments, which are mapped out in terms of obtaining least cost functions, high turnover versus low turnover, shortest routes for forklifts, and the quickest handling time for dock to stock. In addition, automation operates on the fulfillment side where, in addition to the conveyors, we have added automated packing, sealing, labeling and sorting machines.” Come a long way Automation certainly has come a long way in the last few years and is growing in popularity. Its development is likely to pick up pace in the future as companies face increasing pressure to cut costs in the supply chain.


Can this ‘robot’ help save publishing?

Monday, August 16, 2010, David Carnoy

The $150,000 Espresso Book Machine can print a professional-looking paperback in about four minutes. More small presses are looking at it as an option to cut down on printing costs and better manage inventory.


Chinese labour disputes have silver lining

By Jing Ulrich, August 17 2010, Financial Times

China’s large coastal manufacturing hubs have, for many years, been the production base of choice for domestic and multinational companies looking to take advantage of the country’s vast pool of inexpensive labour. But along with a strengthening renminbi and government action to curb pollution and overcapacity, an upsurge of labour disputes since May suggests that the low-cost model of production is no longer robust. Companies that traditionally relied on China as a source of cheap labour are increasingly relocating low-margin production lines to lower cost labour venues – particularly in central China, by speeding up factory automation plans and, where possible, by passing on costs to customers. This is evident in the recent announcement by Foxconn, China’s largest manufacturing employer, that it will increase its prices and use more automated production. Although the rise in labour costs calls into question China’s status as the world’s workshop, it can also be seen as a part of the process of moving towards higher-value manufacturing and of China becoming a more attractive consumer market. Labour tensions have disrupted operations at a range of big Chinese plants in recent months, including facilities producing Honda and Toyota vehicles, and more recently at parts suppliers Atsumitec and Omron. Labour costs in China’s biggest manufacturing hubs, the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta, have risen 20-25 per cent this year, according to official data. Around the country, minimum wages have increased 12 per cent on average this year.


Trends in Automation: The Emerging World of Robotic Materials Handling

Robotics Online (press release) – ‎Aug 6, 2010‎

A new generation of stationary and mobile robots, coupled with software and materials handling automation, is emerging. These new technologies are creating


One union’s demise: The end of Local 1111 should prompt serious questions about the economy

John Gurda, Opinion: July 31, 2010

A union died last night. As the clock struck midnight and July became August, Rockwell Automation – a company that many Milwaukeeans still think of as Allen-Bradley – finished its final contract with Local 1111 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers. The roughly 130 UE members who were still on the job – electricians, maintenance crews, cafeteria staff – have been replaced by contract workers earning much less in wages and benefits than their predecessors. Most of the newly terminated are company veterans who will receive one-third pay and full benefits until they’re eligible to retire in the next year or two. Local 1111 was neither the oldest nor the largest union in Milwaukee, but it was a fixture on the city’s labor scene for nearly 75 years. For the thousands who faithfully paid their dues over the decades, the union’s demise marks the end of an era.


Why Warehouses are Adopting Automation

Supply Chain Digital (blog) – Ellie Duncan – ‎Jul 30, 2010‎

Next generation warehousing may sound like the name of the latest Star Trek film but automated warehousing is, in fact, the future of the warehousing and storage industry as we know it. The concept actually dates back to the 1950s when the first Automatic Guided Vehicle (AGV) was brought to market (A Guide to Robotic Logistics, At the time, automated meant that a tow truck could move via a wire in the floor, as opposed to by rail. Ok, so it might not sound like the most advanced technology but the idea since then has remained the same; to utilize cutting edge equipment in warehousing in order to increase productivity and accuracy. Joel Anderson, President of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), agrees about the ways in which automation can be an advantage to the warehousing sector. “The benefits of automation encompass reducing the unit cost of labor, increasing the throughput and reducing the number of errors,” he explains.



July 2010

Ford Motor India Hires Robots

07/09/10, India Real Time, WSJ

At Ford Motor India’s Chennai plant, a team of robots has been drafted in to cope with surging demand. Ninety-two of the high-tech robots are installed across the plant and take on up to 30% of the total workload. This includes mostly repetitive tasks, such as applying successive coats of paint, welding the car body structure, sealing a car’s underbody and hemming car doors. The ‘robot hires’ are part of an expansion plan designed to meet increasing demand for Ford’s latest small car, the Figo.  Ford Motor India invested $500 million into its Chennaiplant last year to double capacity to 200,000 cars per year. The company plans to export the Figo to South Africa in the coming months.