Mechatronics Zone Blog

Digitalization of Manufacturing Is More Than Fast Analog

By Rob Spiegel | February 12, 2018

Some experts in advanced manufacturing are distinguishing between “digitization” of manufacturing processes and the “digitalization” of the processes. While the words seem to have the same meaning on the face, the two words actually mean something quite different. Digitization is the simple process of changing non-digital media (photos, text, processes) into digital-readable format. Digitalization changes the processes, indeed, it “changes the business model,” according to Gartner’s IT Glossary.

Researchers Inch Closer to Cloaking Devices Thanks to Novel Optical-Material Technique

By Elizabeth Montalbano | February 12, 2018

Cloaking devices—or devices that can render an object invisible—are still mainly the stuff of science fiction. New work by researchers at Northwestern University could remove the “fiction” from the scenario with the development of a novel technique for creating new classes of optical materials for these types of devices and others that can bend light.

3D Printing of Metal Parts Is on the Rise, Expert Says

By Charles Murray | February 9, 2018

3D printing is a viable solution for metal parts in applications where the geometries, production volumes, and end goals well are suited to the process, an expert told engineers at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing conference in Anaheim this week.

Software Helps Answer the Question: Is Industry 4.0 Right for You?

By Charles Murray | February 9, 2018

Manufacturers who are considering Industry 4.0 may now have a better way of determining if it’s right for their factory.

Robots Are Displacing Manual Labor Jobs

By Rob Spiegel | February 8, 2018

One of the ongoing fears repeatedly voiced about the proliferation of robots in manufacturing and logistics is that they will gobble up jobs needed by humans. In the session, "Will Collaborative Robots Even Replace Human Workers," that was presented as part of the Pacific Design and Manufacturing Show in Anaheim this week, panelists conceded that – yes – robots are replacing human workers. But panelists also insisted that robots were needed because of the tight labor market in logistics and manufacturing.


How Desktop 3D Printing is Moving From Makers to Pros

By Chris Wiltz | February 8, 2018

We've all seen the results of desktop 3D printing. And let's be honest, the results have often been less than impressive. Things like homemade toys and models have a certain cool factor, but once that wears off you have to ask yourself, is a desktop 3D printer just a $3,000 tchotchke maker?

Here’s Why Level 5 Autonomous Cars May Still be a Decade Away

By Charles Murray | February 7, 2018

Although the hardware and software technology for fully autonomous cars is ready today, the cars themselves may still be a decade or more away, vehicle experts said at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Set the Mood and Make Your Own WiFi-Controlled Lights

By Andries Faassen | February 7, 2018

For a while now, I’ve been working on building my own network controlled LED dimmer. I sampled some commercially available remotely controllable LED dimmers, but I found they all either lacked some function I wanted or where WAY too expensive to rollout throughout my house. So, I decided to construct my own version!

Design News Honors Winning Products and Companies at the 2018 Golden Mousetrap Awards

By Design News Staff | February 7, 2018

The editors of Design News, during a live ceremony held earlier tonight at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show in Anaheim, Calif., announced the winners of the 2018 annual Golden Mousetrap Awards, the

Folding, Micron-Sized Machines from Graphene and Glass Developed by Cornell Researchers

By Tracey Schelmetic | February 6, 2018

The idea of microscale robots such as single-atom transistors is not brand new, but previous designs were not able to move or change in response to environmental stimulus, which limited their applications. Researchers from Cornell University have combined nanorobotics with single-atom thick graphene and the Japanese art of origami to building something very new: imagine a computer more powerful than the spacecraft Voyager that fits within a single cell because it’s capable of folding itself into different shapes.