Mechatronics Zone Blog

Researchers 3D Print in Glass

By Elizabeth Montalbano | July 17, 2017

Move over plastic and metal—thanks to researchers in Germany, there’s a new material that can now used in a 3D printing process: glass.

A team at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany has developed a process that uses glass for additive-manufacturing techniques, adding the material that goes as far back as ancient Egypt and Rome to the list of materials possible for 3D printing, said Bastian Rapp, the mechanical engineer that led the effort.

ACE Awards to Honor the Best in Electronics Design Engineering

By Jennifer Campbell | July 17, 2017

It’s that time of year again, when the electronics design industry takes pause to celebrate the hard work and tireless efforts of a few standout engineers, as well as the products that have made an impact on the design engineering community.

When You Train Robots With VR, You Only Have to Teach Them Once

By Chris Wiltz | July 14, 2017

The best workers are the ones whom you can show a task once, then have them do it perfectly from then on. While collaborative robots like Rethink Robotics' Baxter are able to mimic assembly tasks after a real world walkthrough, teaching robots can be a time-consuming physical task. And even once the robot is taught it won't necessarily be able to adapt to a situation dynamically. Having one misplaced part in a bin, for example, could derail a robot's entire process.

First Iron-Based, Light-Emitting Molecules Have Potential for Low-Cost Solar Cells, Displays

July 14, 2017

Researchers in Sweden have advanced the effort to develop more environmentally friendly materials for solar cells and displays with the development of the first iron-based molecule that can emit light. 

Former Apple Manufacturing Experts Bring AI to the Shop Floor

By Rob Spiegel | July 13, 2017

Two former Apple design engineers – Anna Katrina Shedletsky and Samuel Weiss (photo) – have leveraged machine learning to help brand owners improve their manufacturing lines. The company, Instrumental, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and fix problems with the goal of helping clients ship on time. The AI system consists of camera-equipped inspection stations that allow brand owners to remotely manage product lines at their contact manufacturing facilities with the purpose of maximizing up-time, quality and speed.

Faster Current Loops Yield Better Servo Motor Control

By Charles Murray | July 13, 2017

A new software product promises to boost the bandwidth of a servo drive’s current control loop, opening up new possibilities in industrial motion control applications.

Look Over Yonder with a Distant Object Detector

By Sajjad Haidar | July 12, 2017

There are several different ways a remotely (10s of meters or 100s of meters) located object can be detected, or the object’s presence or absence can be ensured:

  1. Sending ultrasonic sound and receiving the reflected sound from the object. Principle used: Time of Flight measurement or TOF

  2. Sending laser or LED light and detecting the reflected light from the object. Principle used: Time of Flight measurement or TOF.

Additive Manufacturing Standards Are on Their Way

By Rob Spiegel | July 12, 2017

As 3D printing technology explodes, the fragmented industry is attempting to bring order to its go-go growth with standards. The goal of standards is to bring coherence and interoperability to 3D printing products and processes globally.

Growth of Industrial Analytics

By Al Presher | July 12, 2017

The ability to connect industrial assets and machines using networks existed for a long time before the Industrial Internet of Things started to gain popularity. But what we’ve seen in the last five years is the emergence, and actually the need, for advanced analytic solutions that deliver a next-generation level of integration. It’s the critical component, when applied to machine and process data, which will enable more intelligent manufacturing operations and the push toward transformational business outcomes.

Survey: Open Source Is Growing, But the Community Is Troubled

By Chris Wiltz | July 11, 2017

If you're a developer, you must realize we've entered a golden age of open source. Never before has there been so much (legal) development of open-source software. Whole startups are being built around open source and large companies like Microsoft are openly adopting open-source projects.