Mechatronics Zone Recent News

Driving Smart Manufacturing with Provable ROI

February 14, 2018

The move toward advanced manufacturing is predicated on the belief it will deliver continuous improvement and will ultimately result in both cost savings and productivity improvements. Manufacturers are hesitant to invest in these smart capabilities unless the return on investment (ROI) is clear and quick. The initial investment in smart manufacturing can seem overwhelming, and the required IT and OT hours can be difficult to predict.

Using Simulation to Test a Last Jedi Theory

February 13, 2018

WARNING: Last Jedi Spoilers Ahead

While watching the latest Star Wars movie, I couldn’t help but wonder: What ripped apart Luke’s lightsaber?

I came from the Rey realm of thought – the Force lets you move things with your mind and control people. Luke and the Force nuns convinced me otherwise, but I still couldn’t turn off my engineering brain as I watched Kylo Ren  and Rey struggle over the lightsaber. How did they rip the lightsaber apart, and why did it cause an explosion?


The Math

Digitalization of Manufacturing Is More Than Fast Analog

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

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.