“The machines are turning me!”
– Spencer Sotelo of Periphery
1. AM Is for Tools
Hand tools, I mean! Previously, Ben and I gave the DOD a lot of flak for wasting the magic of additive on making dumb T-handle wrenches for the front sight adjustment of M249 machine guns. Well, we were wrong. AM can be used to make simple tools – and Desktop Metal has printed arguably the most beautiful and impressive spanners I’ve ever set eyes on. That’s some good additive. Your move, Wera! I will say, though, that looking closely, they were probably cleaned up considerably in post by some dude with a Dremel.
2. Cobots =/= Industrie 4.0
Ah, yes, the relationship between robotics, cobots, and I4.0. While it is commonly believed that cobots are part of I4.0, this article argues that robots and cobots are typically I3.0 solutions. Industrial robots offer many benefits over cobots, such as higher speeds and payloads, lower cost, and models built for custom environments. In some instances, robots and cobots can be I4.0 if they are integrated with external systems or use a high level of data visualization and decision-making.
3. Nikon Really Loves Additive
U.S. additive specifically! Not too long ago, Nikon announced their investment in our besties over at Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies. Welp, they’re back for more! Let’s hope Nikon isn’t attempting to turn the AM industry into an HBO series with their “investment bro” antics like a certain 3D printing company that must not be mentioned! That company’s got too much money and is itching to do something with it, so I’d like to stay out of their crosshairs. Speaking of crosshairs, at least Nikon makes actual products!
4. Chips or Crisps?
“Is the EU's response to the chips race leaving its startups behind?” I thought they called them crisps. Is that just the U.K.? Sorry, I’m done. The EU's response to the chips race primarily focuses on encouraging investment from large incumbents, leaving smaller startups behind. The U.K. government has yet to publish its strategy, but it is expected to focus more on specialization and creating favorable investment conditions for startups, which may be more beneficial for smaller companies.
5. The Quick-Draw McBot Show
Video included! MIT's got a new robot with quick reflexes and a fast … hand. Sort of. Robots have an inherent inaccuracy to them, which is why only one robot arm manufacturer advertises accuracy – and believe me, that figure isn’t all that impressive. However, if you can’t be accurate, you need to be flexible and adaptive! The trick is simple: use tendon-like cables rather than direct gear drives. This is the balance between the precision of industrial robot tech and soft robot concepts.
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