OPEN MIND: hyperMILL TURNING Solutions at EMO 2023
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Fifteen years of professional friendship – OPEN MIND Technologies and DAISHIN SEIKI CORPORATION
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Schneider Electric’s Sarel site invests in industrial performance and carbon reduction improvements
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OPEN MIND repositions hyperMILL
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Liebherr Container Cranes delivers semi-automated ship to shore container crane to Patrick Terminals - Brisbane Autostrad
Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd., is excited to unveil a video highlighting the advanced automation capabilities of its new cabinless ship-to-shore container crane. This cutting- edge crane has recently entered service at Patrick Terminals - Brisbane AutoStrad in Australia, where it is already hard at work handling container vessels and automated landside operations. The crane features extensive automation and utilises Liebherr’s Remote Operator Station (ROS) for pick and place over the vessel and for exception handling. The ROS allows the same level of crane control as an on- board operator but from the comfort of an office-based environment. This semi-automated crane is the first of its kind for Patrick Terminals, and one of the first cabinless Liebherr ship to shore container cranes to enter service globally, underscoring Liebherr's commitment to driving technological progress in the port equipment industry. Liebherr has previously delivered fully automated and cabinless rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes. In addition, Liebherr has many automated ship-to-shore (STS) and rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes on order, with several scheduled to be operational in the coming months, reinforcing Liebherr's position as a pioneer in providing safe and secure automated solutions. We are thrilled to unveil the automation capabilities of our Liebherr ship-to-shore crane at Patrick Terminals - Brisbane AutoStrad," said Declan O’Sullivan, General Manager Sales at Liebherr Container Cranes Ltd. "This achievement signifies our dedication to working hand in hand with our clients to push the boundaries of port automation and providing cutting-edge solutions that transform operations. Through this video, we aim to showcase the power of automation in enhancing port efficiency, safety, and profitability.” Michael Jovicic, CEO, Patrick Terminals said, “The introduction of the new semi-automated Liebherr ship-to-shore crane with a remote-control operator's station marks a significant milestone in the Patrick Terminals crane fleet. We are proud to have collaborated with Liebherr Container Cranes on this ground- breaking project, delivering a crane that aligns with our unwavering commitment to safety and efficiency. This innovative addition enhances our operations and underscores our dedication to embracing technology.” Patrick Terminals - Brisbane Autostrad has two Liebherr ship to shore container cranes, the first unit was supplied in 2015 and has recently undergone a lift height and outreach extension using the innovative and patented Liebherr transform technology. The new crane features an outreach of 54 m, a backreach of 48 m, a lift height over rail of 40 m and a span of 25.3 m.
Printed & Flexible Electronics: Status, Innovations and Prospects, Discussed by IDTechEx
Author: Dr Matthew Dyson, Principal Technology Analyst at IDTechEx What do electronic skin patches, thin-film flexible photovoltaics and automotive interior consoles have in common? All are produced using printed & flexible electronics, an alternative approach to conventional printed circuit boards that combines additive manufacturing with flexible substrates. Bringing benefits such as rapid prototyping, improved sustainability, scope for form factor differentiation and even stretchability, printed & flexible electronics is gaining traction across an extremely diverse range of applications. IDTechEx’s new report “Flexible & Printed Electronics 2023-2033: Forecasts, Technologies, Markets” provides a comprehensive overview of what can seem a bewilderingly broad topic. By summarizing IDTechEx’s extensive printed/flexible electronics report portfolio and drawing on years of following this developing industry, the report outlines innovations, opportunities, and trends across 5 sectors of the printed and flexible electronics market: automotive, consumer goods, energy, healthcare/wellness, and infrastructure/buildings/industrial. This analysis includes granular forecasts of 50 distinct applications and 40 detailed company profiles. Additionally, the report outlines developments across multiple underlying technologies: 6 distinct manufacturing modalities (including in-mold electronics and flexible hybrid electronics), 5 material types (including conductive inks and component attachment materials), and 4 component types (including flexible ICs). Multiple recent examples, acquired from interviews and industry conferences, show technology development directions and successful commercialization. Assessments of technological and commercial readiness, along with additional forecasts for manufacturing methods and conductive inks, are also included. Application Opportunities As with conventional PCBs, printed & flexible electronics has applications across most market verticals. For example, electronic skin patches utilizing conductive inks for electrodes and contacts are already available, as are printed pressure-sensitive insoles for gait monitoring. Conformality lends itself to automotive interiors, where printed/flexible electronics is utilized for lighting, heating and touch-sensitive interfaces. Organic photovoltaics is seeing a renaissance, with recent commercial examples including both building integration and indoor energy harvesting. Sensors based on printed electronics for asset tracking and preventative maintenance promise low production costs novel form factors to suit specific requirements. Innovations Printed & flexible electronics represents a fundamentally different approach to manufacturing, replacing subtractive removal of laminated copper with additive deposition of conductive ink. This reduces waste and facilitates digital manufacturing with the associated benefits of rapid prototyping and straightforward design adjustments. The report evaluates a range of manufacturing innovations and their prospects, ranging from fully additive 3D electronics to in-mold electronics and emerging digital printing methods with resolutions as small as 1 μm. Material innovations underpin many emerging hardware technologies, and printed electronics is no exception. Conductive inks underpin the technology, with dozens of companies developing inks with a range of compositions and attributes. Viscous silver-flake-based ink for screen printing dominates, but alternatives such as nano-particle and particle-free inks are gaining traction for specific applications such as EMI shielding. An especially notable trend is the development of copper ink, which promises a substantial cost reduction over its silver counterparts. Other specialized materials include ultra-low temperature solder and field-aligned anisotropic conductive adhesives enable components such as LEDs to be securely attached to cheaper, thermally fragile substrates. Furthermore, many sensors require specialist materials, such as printable piezoelectric polymers for vibration sensing and functionalized carbon nanotubes for ion detection. While the original vision for printed and flexible electronics was to print every aspect of the circuit, including the integrated circuit, this has largely been supplanted by flexible hybrid electronics (FHE), which combines printed and mounted functionality. As such, there is an opportunity for natively flexible integrated circuits, batteries, and displays. Factors motivating the adoption of printed and flexible electronics. Source: IDTechEx Building on Expertise IDTechEx has been researching developments in the printed and flexible electronics market for well over a decade. Since then, IDTechEx have stayed close to technical and commercial developments, interviewing key players worldwide, annually attending conferences such as FLEX and LOPEC, delivering multiple consulting projects, and running classes/ workshops on the topic. “Flexible & Printed Electronics 2023-2033: Forecasts, Technologies, Markets” utilizes this experience and expertise to summarize IDTechEx’s knowledge and insight across the entire field. To find out more, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/PE
Liebherr to supply three automated, dual trolley, ship to shore container cranes to HHLA
Liebherr Container Cranes, a leading European manufacturer of innovative port equipment, is pleased to announce the sale of three large dual trolley ship to shore container cranes (STS) to Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) for use at their container terminal Altenwerder (CTA) in the Port of Hamburg. The terminal has consistently been at the forefront of the industry, constantly adopting innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology, making it a pioneer in its field. The advanced cranes mark a significant milestone in Liebherr's longstanding partnership with HHLA. Following the successful delivery of two STS cranes in 2015 and three in 2017 to HHLA’s Container Terminal Tollerort, the newly acquired dual trolley cranes are the first step in a new strategic alliance, marking the beginning of a closer collaboration between the two companies. Together, HHLA and Liebherr will drive forward innovative and sustainable change in the logistics industry. The cranes have a safe working load of 75 t twin lift at an outreach of 61 m, lift height of 53 m, back reach of 24.5 and a span of 35 m. Automation and remote control for optimised operations The cabinless cranes will operate entirely through automation and remote control. Liebherr's automation technology enables autonomous operation for most of the cycle but facilitates remote control via the Liebherr Remote Operator Station (ROS), for pick and place on the vessel, providing operators the same level of control as an on-board operator, but in a comfortable office-based environment. With two trolleys operating on a single crane, dual trolley STS cranes offer exceptional operational flexibility and increased efficiency. The primary trolley handles container transfers between the ship and the landside, while the secondary portal trolley can simultaneously handle transfers from the crane to the automated guided vehicles. This parallel operation decouples the landside and seaside operations, reducing wait times and significantly improving vessel turnaround times. This enhances operational safety, maximises productivity, and optimises operations at the container terminal. Sustainable European based manufacturing and service With its rich European heritage, Liebherr is uniquely positioned to cater to the specific needs of HHLA. Liebherr Hamburg, dedicated to servicing maritime cranes, is based in the Port of Hamburg. Its team of technicians, large parts warehouse, and proximity to HHLA’s terminals ensures seamless support and unparalleled service for HHLA's crane fleet, cementing the strong partnership between the two companies. The strategic collaboration between Liebherr and HHLA represents a shared vision for the future of port operations. By systematically reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its operations, HHLA's CTA terminal is the world's first certified climate-neutral container handling facility. This certification reflects HHLA’s proactive approach towards achieving environmental sustainability goals, in alignment with global efforts to mitigate climate change. With a shared environmental vision, Liebherr Container Cranes, has achieved a gold medal in sustainability from EcoVadis. This award illustrates Liebherr's dedication to sustainable practices and positions them as the preferred choice for terminals where sustainability is a core value. Liebherr's dual trolley ship-to-shore container cranes are not only at the forefront of technological innovation but also prioritise energy efficiency. They are designed to minimise energy consumption and optimise operational efficiency. Energy regeneration and capture is a key feature of the cranes and is carried out at both the primary and portal trolley hoist drives, enhancing the power consumption of the crane. The use of advanced automation algorithms further reduces energy consumption per container moved, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly operation. "We are delighted to deepen our partnership with HHLA through the sale of these innovative dual trolley ship-to-shore container cranes," said Gerry Bunyan, Managing Director - Sales at Liebherr Container Cranes. "The combination of advanced automation, remote control capabilities, and industry-leading energy saving features, makes these cranes a perfect fit for HHLA's sustainability requirements. Together, we are shaping the future of port handling. This is the second order we have received for our dual trolley cranes, following an earlier order for Eurogate’s CTW terminal. This continued demand demonstrates the industry's appetite for European manufacturing and design, backed up by a local service.” “From day one Container Terminal Altenwerder has set itself apart as an industry pioneer, leading the integration of the newest technology to optimize its operations sustainably. It is with great pleasure that we announce our enhanced collaboration with Liebherr, as we continue to leverage the latest advancements in technology and automation. The state-of-the-art cranes will empower CTA to meet the demands of the future while optimizing operations and enhance our overall performance, ultimately benefiting our customers”, said Patrick Krawutschke, Managing Director of Container Terminal Altenwerder. By choosing Liebherr Container Cranes, HHLA secures a trusted partner with a proven track record in delivering energy-efficient and sustainable solutions. The technological advancements, combined with Liebherr's commitment to environmental responsibility, position Liebherr Container Cranes as the preferred choice for terminals like CTA seeking to optimize their operations while minimizing their carbon footprint.
Stratasys And Desktop Metal To Merge: A Milestone For Consolidation In Additive Manufacturing, Reports IDTechEx
Author: Sona Dadhania, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx In the past decade or so, the additive manufacturing industry has been characterized by an ever-increasing number of hardware players trying to capture their own share of the market. While there were signs of consolidation in the early 2010s, given major moves by industry leaders like Stratasys and 3D Systems, AM has instead seen a consistent stream of newcomers with their own innovative takes on AM, such that IDTechEx now segments their 3D printing hardware forecast by seventeen different categories to account for such diversity. New entrants in AM have also been bolstered by ever-increasing amounts of funding, with IDTechEx tracking over USD$1.3 billion in publicly announced investment in 3D printing-related companies in 2022 (up from over USD$950 million in 2021). Such expansion in the 3D printing industry, which IDTechEx has covered for nearly a decade, has led to hundreds of companies being featured in IDTechEx's "3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook" report. The report features granular 10-year market forecasts with 17 hardware and 10 material segments, technology analyses, benchmarking studies on AM hardware and materials, and market discussions that look at the future of the 3D printing industry, forecast by IDTechEx to hit US$41 billion in 2033. Part of this discussion looked at the high number of new players and technologies entering AM, which showed that AM space wasn't yet consolidating to a small group of major players – rather, it was growing. But that may change with this latest major news announcement. Two 3D printing industry titans, Stratasys and Desktop Metal, announced their merger on May 25th, 2023, marking a significant milestone in the additive manufacturing industry. The two companies struck an all-stock deal that values the combined company at USD$1.8 billion, expected to close in Q4 2023. Subject to final approvals, Stratasys shareholders are expected to own 59% of the combined entity, with Desktop Metal shareholders owning the other 41%. In the past few years, both Stratasys and Desktop Metal have engaged significantly in M&A. The latter has acquired half a dozen companies, including ExOne and EnvisionTEC, to grow their technology portfolio well beyond metal additive manufacturing to include polymers, ceramics, and composites. The former, strictly in the polymer space, has added three polymer technologies with their 2021 acquisitions of Xaar 3D, Origin, and RPS, and additionally expanded their polymer materials portfolio with the 2022 acquisition of Covestro's AM business unit (itself formed from Covestro's acquisition of DSM's Resins and Functional Materials business). However, this merger, which has been in the works for the past year, is by far the biggest transaction that Desktop Metal and Stratasys have undertaken in recent years – it's arguably one of the most significant mergers ever in the 3D printing space. Desktop Metal CEO and Chairman, Ric Fulop, stated, "We believe this is a landmark moment for the additive manufacturing industry. The combination of these two great companies marks a turning point in driving the next phase of additive manufacturing for mass production. We are excited to complement our portfolio of production metal, sand, ceramic and dental 3D printing solutions with Stratasys' polymer offerings. Together, we will strive to build an even more resilient offering with a diversified customer base across industries and applications to drive long-term sustainable growth. We look forward to combining with Stratasys to deliver profitability while driving further innovation for a larger customer base and providing expanded opportunities for our employees." The diversity of the combined company's technology portfolio is one of the most significant results of the merger, putting them in direct competition against other AM hardware providers that offer both metal and polymer printers, such as 3D Systems and EOS. Desktop Metal and Stratasys will offer eight different additive technologies once merged, covering polymer, metal, ceramic, composite, wood, and sand materials. "I'm excited about the technical synergies," Fulop commented. "They're significant. This merger will drive accelerated innovation. We have materials that will push PolyJet into mass production. We have synergies on software and go-to-market, we have 7,000 customers that will be introduced to a distribution network much larger than ours. This is a fantastic combination. I can't imagine a better partnership." With such a major merger underway, it does beg the question of whether this is a turning point for additive manufacturing. Will this be the first of many consolidating moves in 3D printing, indicating that the industry is maturing? Still, it is difficult to place additive manufacturing, as an entire industry, at a certain stage of growth or maturity. Numerous different 3D printing technologies all fall under the same additive manufacturing umbrella, each at different stages of maturity; while some technologies may be ripe for consolidation, others have barely begun growing. So, while the Stratasys and Desktop Metal merger may signal a step change in M&A for AM, it may also just be one notable event during AM's continued phase of expansion in hardware players. IDTechEx will continue to monitor whether 2023 heralds more major milestones for additive manufacturing players and any effects on the 3D printing landscape. For more details on the many players, acquisitions, and market trends within the 3D printing industry, please see the IDTechEx market report "3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook". For more information on IDTechEx's other reports and market intelligence offerings, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research
New streamlined Alfa Laval Unique Mixproof CIP and Process valves meet market demand
Alfa Laval is unveiling two new hygienic valves, the Alfa Laval Unique Mixproof CIP and Unique Mixproof Process, extending its hygienic double-seat valve range to meet market demands. With the introduction of these two innovative mixproof valves, manufacturers concerned about product integrity now have a cost-effective way to enhance product safety while boosting process efficiency and sustainability. Proven performance, refined for purpose These two newcomers are built on proven performance, yet refined for purpose. The Unique Mixproof CIP is a double-seat valve that safely and efficiently manages the flow of cleaning media during cleaning-in-place (CIP). The Unique Mixproof Process, a compact version of proven Alfa Laval double-seat valves, is configurable and available in various sizes to meet manufacturers’ fundamental hygienic processing requirements. Both are capable of simultaneously routing two different fluids without the risk of cross-contamination, thereby contributing to more uptime and reduced total cost of ownership. “These new Unique Mixproof valves deliver product safety, process flexibility, straightforward maintenance, and opportunities for water and CIP media savings,” says Anders M. Lyhne, Product Portfolio Manager, Alfa Laval. Reliable, cost-effective product protection Manufacturers can rely on the Unique Mixproof CIP and Unique Mixproof Process for cost-effective product safety. Alfa Laval double seat technology with seat lift keeps the fluids separated, ensuring efficient cleaning and complete protection against the intrusion of harmful microorganisms. With a fully balanced design, the valves can easily handle high pressure without the risk of pressure shocks. Moreover, they are certified according to FDA, 3A and other recognized standards. Greater process flexibility Enhance the reliability and flexibility of manufacturing process setups with proven valve technology that matches specific production requirements. Like the entire Alfa Laval Unique Mixproof range, the Unique Mixproof CIP and Unique Mixproof Process valves are compact and modular, offering greater process flexibility. Modular in design and available in types and sizes that suit different applications, the Unique Mixproof CIP and Unique Mixproof Process valves help manufacturers adapt to changing process requirements. Using these valves in combination with the Alfa Laval ThinkTop control units offers even greater process flexibility and control. Simplified service Built on the Alfa Laval Unique SSV and Mixproof platforms, these hygienic top-loaded double-seat valves minimize the risk of unplanned downtime while spending as little time and resources as possible on routine maintenance. Proven seal technology with defined compression extends the intervals between service, while a maintenance-free actuator with no adjustable components maximizes uptime and minimizes the total cost of ownership. Enhanced sustainability Combined with Alfa Laval ThinkTop, these new Unique Mixproof valves eliminate unnecessary product loss while delivering up to 90% savings in water and CIP media . The reduced use of CIP fluids contributes to a lower total cost of ownership while minimizing the environmental impact in the process industries. Good for people, good for business, and good for the planet. To learn more, visit www.alfalaval.com/UniqueMixproof/news
Process industry press release: Alfa Laval moves forward to the intelligent pump with new monitoring software
“This is a big step for the hygienic industries. Our new Alfa Laval Analytics solution detects potential machine faults before they occur and helps diagnose the root cause. In close dialogue with our customers, we have developed an easy-to-use and reliable solution that brings peace of mind and keeps equipment at peak performance at all times, says Torsten Pedersen, Head of Connectivity and Monitoring at Alfa Laval Fluid Handling. Alfa Laval Analytics is a value-adding feature that can be added to all new and existing pump installations from Alfa Laval. The solution includes a one-year subscription, including online installation, training in use of dashboard and ongoing support. Always by your side 24/7 Alfa Laval Analytics collects and analyzes pump vibration data around the clock. The philosophy behind the development of the AI-based solution has been to create peace of mind for plant operators and management. Analytics provides a clear and intuitive overview of the health condition of the equipment through a simple dashboard. Green for ok, yellow for pay attention, orange for warning and red for immediate action. “No matter where they are and regardless of time, operators and plant managers can check plant status in their pocket. All it takes is a brief glance on the app dashboard to check the health status of the pumps and take action if needed to prevent costly downtime”, says Torsten Pedersen. He explains that Analytics not only detects faults, but also pinpoints the likely causes of the problem, which can for instance be related to misalignment of pump installation, potential process improvements or mechanical faults. “The diagnostics capabilities of the Analytics tool make it much easier for operators and technicians to locate the problem fast and fix it before any damage is done. When running Analytics, we can even extend the warranty on equipment if the pumps are monitored continuously and if recommendations to inspection and repair are followed”, says Torsten Pedersen. Enabling predictive maintenance With its ability to predict failure and identify parts that need repair or replacement, Analytics paves the way for implementing predictive maintenance strategies that eliminate extra cost and prevent unplanned downtime. At the same time, Analytics supports the sustainability agenda by allowing plants to do more with less. By keeping assets running flawlessly at all times, Analytics enhances energy efficiency and helps reduce carbon emissions. Alfa Laval Analytics is a cyber secure solution. All data is transmitted via mobile network and requires no connection to the plant’s internet. Analytics is part of the Connected Services programme from Alfa Laval. New services are added on an ongoing basis to leverage the potential of Industry 4.0 technologies. The technical set-up of Alfa Laval Analytics Analytics is enabled by the CM Connect Gateway and comes with a 12 months subscription. Installation and commissioning is simple, carried out by use of an app that guides the user in easy to follow steps. The subscription gives access to dashboard, provides notifications with recommended actions, and support from Alfa Laval. To learn more, visit www.alfalaval.com/analytics
IDTechEx Asks How Smart Packaging Can Best Add Value
Author: Dr Matthew Dyson, Principal Technology Analyst at IDTechEx What is packaging for? From its initial purpose of simply protecting the product to driving sales via consumer engagement, the role of packaging has substantially evolved. Smart/intelligent packaging continues this trend towards greater functionality, employing sensors, printed electronics, and wireless communication to add value in novel ways. With applications from logistics labeling to greater consumer engagement IDTechEx’s latest report, “Smart Packaging 2023-2033”, finds that the market for smart packaging electronics will be worth around US$2.6 billion by 2033. But what are the use cases where smart packaging can best create value? Parcel Tracking Labels Condition monitoring and location tracking throughout the logistics chain improves consumer confidence, especially for high-value items or those that may be easily damaged. While these technologies are already deployed at the pallet level using separate devices, smart packaging can enable such tracking at a crate or even an item level. Technologies such as printed/flexible batteries and sensors enable reduced costs and bulk, enabling the condition of individual deliveries to be tracked. Logistics companies and even insurers can track when/where individual items are being lost, stolen or mistreated, enabling any problems to be dealt with swiftly as well as providing a considerable deterrent effect. Logistics labeling can also provide value to ‘click-and-collect’ businesses in which stores serve the same order fulfillment role as distribution centers. Real-time item-level tracking, enabled by smart packaging, can improve the accuracy of the required more complex inventory management systems to enable different parts of the value chain to take on the fulfillment role. Material Identification for Recycling Modern recycling processes fall significantly short of what is needed for a true transition to a circular economy. The unfortunate reality is that only approximately 10% of all waste is recycled, largely due to difficulties in sorting materials with extremely similar properties or determining the extent of the contamination. To address these issues, the European Union is exploring technology solutions based on smart packaging in a project called HolyGrail 2.0. A ‘digital watermark’, specifically a repeated digital pattern imperceptibly embedded in the regular design, will enable cameras to identify the product and recycling requirements. Unlike a bar code, the ‘digital watermark’ covers the entire object, so cannot be obscured or damaged. If mandated for all future packaging, a technology such as this would allow recyclers easily sort their waste without needing to rely entirely on the properties of waste materials. Consumer Engagement Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a global surge in the adoption of ID technologies, particularly QR codes. The adoption of QR codes into track & trace schemes quickly normalized QR code usage for consumers, triggering many brand owners to investigate smart packaging use cases. The result is an increased focus on ‘connected experience’, with brands interacting with consumers on landing sites accessed via smartphone scans of NFC antennas or QR codes. For the consumer, the benefit is in the rewards, such as discounts and freebies exclusive to the landing site. For the environmentally conscientious consumer, information on the sourcing of materials, production process, and carbon impact can also be valuable, accessible knowledge that may influence purchase decisions. For the brand, the connected experience is an excellent tool for collecting customer data and a useful tool in marketing campaigns. Digitalization of the resale markets is an emerging example of a connected experience. By facilitating an authentication process, smart packaging helps brand owners establish their own marketplaces and maintain control over brand equity after the initial point of sale. For example, eBay has launched the use of NFC authentication for the sneaker marketplace, and Adidas has created Infinite Play with Avery Dennison to establish a trade-in service on their mobile app. Further Insight Smart packaging has multiple use cases that can provide benefits across the value chain, from improved consumer interaction to facilitating the transition to a circular economy. To learn more about the opportunities, technological requirements and challenges of many smart packaging applications, IDTechEx’s recent report “Smart Packaging 2023-2033” comprehensively explores the topic via a wide range of application case studies and analysis of players, technologies and use cases. To find out more about this IDTechEx report, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/smart
How Sensors Are Used to Enable Smart Factories and More Efficient Manufacturing, Report IDTechEx
Author: Yulin Wang, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx With the high inflation, increasing labor costs, labor shortage, energy crisis, and hybrid working, the manufacturing industry experienced significant turmoil in 2022. Although some of these have started to get eased, 2023 is still expected to be a challenging year for the manufacturing industry. Forbes recently published an article, “The 5 Biggest Business Trends In 2023 Everyone Must Get Ready For Now”, listing a few key transitions in the manufacturing industry. One of the most interesting transitions in the manufacturing business is the trend toward digital transformation. Digital transformation, along with Industry 4.0, has been a buzzword for many years. However, despite the fancy name, digital transformation is often a vague concept for manufacturers. IDTechEx believes that digital manufacturing can be deconstructed into two main themes: safe human-robot interaction (HRI) to achieve higher productivity and an increased level of autonomous mobility for material and goods transportation. These themes are ultimately enabled by cutting-edge sensor technologies. Safe HRI to Achieve Higher Productivity Safety has always come as the overarching priority when it comes to using robots/machines in the manufacturing industry. Robots can pose a variety of hazards to workers. For example, while industrial robots are designed to operate at a safe distance from people, these devices traditionally lack the sensory skills required to identify adjacent humans. Recently, with the fast adoption of collaborative robots (cobots), human operators are directly exposed to the workspace of robots, which can lead to further collisions, risks, and dangers. In order to mitigate safety concerns, IDTechEx has seen multiple sensors, such as force and torque sensors, LiDAR, and tactile sensors being installed on robots to equip them with better environmental perception and collision avoidance capabilities. One of the critical applications of sensors in robots is proximity detection and collision detection. Proximity detection can be achieved using photoelectric sensors (photoelectric fences), LiDAR, and capacitive proximity sensors. Photoelectric sensors/light curtains can be an ideal solution for industry robots. A safety light curtain is made up of a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter transmits modulated infrared light, which is received by the receiver to create an array of light beams (also known as a light curtain). When a human operator enters or is blocked by the protection net, the light receiver circuit replies through the internal control circuit, which outputs a signal to the machine, causing the machine to slow down or stop its operation, thereby preventing the occurrence of a potential collision. By contrast, force and torque sensors are commonly used for cobots when it comes to collision detection. Unlike industrial robots, cobots work in the same workspace as humans, meaning that a physical light curtain/fence would not suffice. IDTechEx noticed that the majority of commercialized cobots are equipped with at least one force/torque (F/T) sensor at their joints. F/T sensors have two main functions, including force measurement and collision detection. F/T sensors are typically installed around the robot’s end-effectors to measure the force. Depending on the tasks, the range of forces needs to be preset, and when the collision happens, the force or torque detected by the sensor will exceed the pre-determined range, thereby informing the robot to stop its operation. With the increasing safety requirement of HRI, more F/T sensors are expected to be installed. Most cobots have one F/T sensor installed at this stage, typically around the end-effector. However, IDTechEx has noticed that a few cobot OEMs (e.g., Franka Emika) are starting to incorporate more torque sensors on all the joints to enable better force control and collision detection. Increased Level of Autonomous Mobility Autonomous mobility is one of the most important parts of a robot’s autonomy. Autonomous mobility requires the robot to have the capabilities of navigating, localizing, and avoiding obstacles. In the context of the manufacturing industry, mobile robots, especially automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), will be used for material transportation. The autonomous mobility function of mobile robots is enabled by sensors such as LiDAR, cameras, and ultrasonic sensors. Different sensors have benefits and drawbacks, and in reality, multiple sensors are usually used in combination with each other to achieve the best overall performance. For instance, LiDAR is relatively easy to use, and they are immune to poor weather. However, LiDAR usually comes with a high cost. By contrast, cameras or imaging sensors are the only ones that can be used for object classification/recognition, but they have poor performance when it comes to adverse weather or limited visibility. In terms of the manufacturing industry, IDTechEx believes that cameras will be increasingly adopted because those robots tend to work in a well-controlled indoor environment with stable illumination. At this stage, IDTechEx believes that many indoor AGVs in the manufacturing industry can perform on level 3 autonomy, meaning that the robotic onboard systems can achieve most of the autonomous driving tasks and multiple AGVs can be monitored simultaneously by one operator. With the trend toward level 4 and a higher level of autonomy, IDTechEx believes that more robust sensors will be incorporated. A detailed analysis of the market forecast can be found in IDTechEx’s latest research, “Sensors for Robotics 2023-2043: Technologies, Markets, and Forecasts”. To find out more about this IDTechEx report, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/rosensors
How the Additive Manufacturing Industry Emphasized End-Use Part Production at Rapid + TCT 2023
[Author: Sona Dadhania, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx] RAPID + TCT is one of North America’s biggest trade shows and conferences for the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. This year, IDTechEx attended and spoke at the show; they interviewed prominent players and observed industry trends. While RAPID + TCT 2022 saw major technology and materials releases across the board from large and small players alike, RAPID + TCT 2023 felt more constrained in comparison. Still, the announcements and releases that did occur at RAPID 2023 consistently focused on enabling medium-to-high volume part production for AM’s power users. As the industry courts the users with the most potential to invest further in additive technology, here are some of the new releases that aim to accomplish that goal. AM Hardware to Enable Higher Productivity For the companies releasing new printers at RAPID, they shared a common theme: higher productivity. These printers were designed to increase end-user print productivity, whether it be higher speed, more power, or larger build volumes. For metal printers, Eplus3D released their EP-M400 powder bed fusion machine, which includes four lasers to increase speed and productivity. DMG Mori showcased the LASERTEC 30 SLM US, an American-manufactured PBF machine that features adaptive beam control to improve quality and throughput. There were more prominent releases for polymer AM printers; Creality, Nexa3D, and Impossible Objects each showcased printers with improved speeds, with the last launching their CBAM 25 printer, a composite 3D printer utilizing sheet lamination that has print speeds 15 times that of comparable selective laser sintering machines per Impossible Objects. Others, like B9Creations, launched printers with bigger build volumes; B9’s new digital light processing (DLP) printer is their biggest yet. Outside of the printers themselves, companies like PostProcess Technologies and HP highlighted their automated equipment that aims to streamline the entire manufacturing line for higher volume production. IDTechEx finds that improvements at every single point of the supply chain (pre-printing, printing, post-processing, quality control, etc.) will be critical to encouraging users’ continued adoption of 3D printers, which IDTechEx predicts will reach US$10 billion in market value by 2033. Materials and Software for Higher Performing AM Parts Beyond hardware, materials and software are other critical elements to a successful AM ecosystem. Software had its moment at RAPID; with Stratasys releasing the GradCAD Pro suite of software with numerous upgrades targeted for power users, BASF launching their lattice engine powered by Hyperganic, and AMFG and Dyndrite collaborating on an integrated software package for laser PBF printers. As users look to optimize AM operations, software presents opportunities to make AM more accessible and streamlined for different end sectors. With IDTechEx predicting that AM materials alone will surpass US$31 billion in annual sales by 2033, that expected growth curve for AM materials will very much be fueled by the release and utilization of higher-performance materials that can go on to be used in more demanding applications, many examples of which were on display at RAPID. Numerous metal powders were launched or announced qualifications at RAPID, like Elementum3D’s aluminum 5000 series alloy, Mitsui’s chromium-copper alloy, and Uniformity Labs’ Inconel 625 alloy. High-performance photopolymer resins were also released, including Polyspectra’s new biocompatible COR Bio resin and a high-performance resin line developed by Nagase. Another interesting release was Jabil’s PLA (polylactic acid) powder that Natureworks developed. They are looking to bring the benefits of the most popular material in thermoplastic filament extrusion to the SLS market, an area dominated by nylon powders, per IDTechEx research. Advancing the AM Ecosystem to Push the AM Industry Forward IDTechEx’s interviews and discussions at RAPID + TCT 2023 made it clear that improvements were needed within the entire AM ecosystem to encourage more productive use of AM technology. Pushing towards these productive applications, where AM may be used as end-use parts, is not easy to accomplish, given the inherent limitations of many AM technologies and materials. But in the long-term, end-users will be more likely to invest in AM when they can see how its benefits will directly impact and improve their operations. An optimized AM ecosystem will be critical to convincing more end-users of AM’s value-add. Market Forecasts for Additive Manufacturing IDTechEx's “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook” report carefully segments the market by eighty different forecast lines across seventeen different technology categories, four major material categories, and eight material subcategories. These hardware and material forecasts analyze future installations, hardware unit sales, hardware revenue, materials mass demand, and material revenue. IDTechEx provides comprehensive technology benchmarking studies, examination and case studies of critical application areas, detailed discussion of auxiliary AM industry fields, and in-depth market and economic analysis. Finally, IDTechEx carefully dissects the positive and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply chain disruptions on the 3D printing market. For further information on this market, including 125 interview-based profiles of market leaders and start-ups, technology comparison studies, business model analysis, and granular 10-year market forecasts, see the market report at “3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook”. For more detailed information on the polymer and metal additive manufacturing industries, please see the IDTechEx reports, “Polymer Additive Manufacturing 2023-2033: Technology and Market Outlook” and “Metal Additive Manufacturing 2022-2032: Technology and Market Outlook”. For the full portfolio of 3D Printing research available from IDTechEx, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research/3D. Sample pages are available for all IDTechEx reports.
Mouser Electronics Shares Expert Level Resources for Advanced Robotics Development
Mouser Electronics, Inc., the New Product Introduction (NPI) leaderTM, is empowering engineering professionals with an easy-to-navigate resource library to support them in industry-leading robotics designs. Manufacturers, fulfillment centers and other key markets are capitalizing on the development and adoption of robotics applications to become more efficient, reliable and safer. It’s imperative for design engineers to continually develop, upgrade and optimize robotic projects, using the right component solutions and technical resources. Mouser's robotics resource hub gathers videos, eBooks, and products all in one place making it simple for users to explore the many advancements in robotics. Mouser analyzes the various opportunities that these technologies present, whether it’s for industrial warehouses or autonomous consumer luggage, and shares cutting-edge solutions that help overcome potential challenges. Mouser stocks the industry’s widest selection of semiconductors and electronic components, including the following solutions, suitable for robotic applications: Xilinx Kria KR260 Robotics Starter Kit is built to support customers with a platform to evaluate applications and design their carrier cards with Xilinx K26 SOMs. It is complete with high-performance interfaces and native ROS 2 support for ease of development by roboticists and software developers – best suited for robotic and industrial applications. Intel RealSense™ Depth Camera D405 is a short-range stereo camera that provides sub-millimeter accuracy for close-range computer vision needs. The high-resolution, color, and global shutter depth sensors provide matched RGB and depth data for an enhanced user experience. Bosch BHI260AP Self-Learning AI Smart Sensor is an advanced, all-in-one solution for always-on sensor applications, featuring a 32-bit customer-programmable microcontroller, and a six-axis IMU. Its compact size makes it suitable for space-constrained applications, such as smart watches, mixed-reality headsets, and in-ear devices. NXP Semiconductors i.MX 8M Nano UltraLite Applications Processor combines state-of-the-art, media-specific features with high-performance processing and low power consumption. It has a broad range of applications, from audio systems to healthcare, and boasts an impressive power-efficient 14FinFET technology that delivers scalable, secure, and cost-effective quad-core processing to edge IoT devices.
OPEN MIND at Moulding Expo
OPEN MIND will be exhibiting at Moulding Expo 2023 (13–16 June 2023, Stuttgart) in Exhibition Hall 1 at Booth D42. The software house will be showcasing its hyperMILL® CAD/CAM suite as an end-to-end tool and mold making solution at the exhibition. This software covers aspects like electrode manufacturing and wire EDM, features that makes it attractive to industrial users. hyperMILL® 2023, the most recent version of the solution, also includes several intriguing new functions. To avoid problems during the molding process, it is necessary to create sharp corners at the junction of the upper and lower halves of the mold in all machining operations. An automatic tangent extension function makes manual CAD steps to extend the numerous surface elements in complex designs redundant. The software also includes a new feature for advanced milling surface extension in the ‘3D shape plane finishing’ and ‘3D profile finishing’ strategies. With it, surface extensions are not created unless they are suitable from a process perspective. This allows users to reliably protect sharp edges and subdivide machining zones with ease, guaranteeing high surface qualities in combination with the ‘Soft overlap’ option. - Toolpaths for halfpipes The ‘5-axis halfpipe finishing’ strategy makes it easy to program high-quality toolpaths for grooves and tubes with any cross-section along an arched guide curve. A wide range of applications are made possible with this strategy. This includes, for example, applications for molds and dies with a tool axis pointing preferentially in the direction of demolding, for cylinders and flanges with a radial tool axis, and for geometries with variable accessibility. Machining operations for these geometries can be easily programmed and executed with a high surface quality and level of precision.
Smart Packaging Will Become a US$2.6 Billion Market by 2033, Says IDTechEx
The role of packaging has evolved over time, from simply protecting and identifying the product to driving sales via enticing graphics. Smart packaging is the latest iteration, utilizing technology including sensors, indicators, and wireless communication to enhance user engagement, product quality, and supply chain efficiency. IDTechEx forecast that establishing business models that utilize these technologies to unlock increasing amounts of value for brands and consumers will grow the smart packaging market to US$2.6 billion in 2033. This figure just covers the electronics hardware - the smart packaging market value will be much higher if infrastructure, software, and services are included. “Smart Packaging 2023-2033” is a new report from IDTechEx, which provides market research and intelligence on many emerging technologies. The report provides an in-depth technology and market evaluation of this emerging industry, drawing on over 20 interviews with industry players, including fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) players. It discusses in detail the needs of end users, evaluates multiple applications, assesses the underlying technologies such as NFC/RFID and printed/flexible sensors, and presents many case studies of smart packaging deployments. IDTechEx predicts that the smart packaging market will grow to US$2.6 billion by 2033. Source: IDTechEx - “Smart Packaging 2023-2033” - Drivers and applications of smart packaging The smart packaging market has several prominent drivers. Continuous growth in e-commerce over the last two decades is raising the demand for general packaging and changing the priorities of packaging design. That includes more emphasis on sustainability and delivery optimization and less focus on designs that attract traditional shoppers at retail stores. Stores too are increasingly serving fulfillment center functions, and the need for streamlined inventory management is driving the adoption of item-level smart labeling. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of wireless ID, including the use of QR codes for track and trace schemes and NFC for wireless payment. Consumers' adoption of these technologies has triggered many brand owners to investigate smart packaging use cases. The result has been a significant drive towards the connected experience, with brands interacting with consumers on landing sites accessed by QR codes and NFC. Smart packaging can also assist in facilitating healthcare delivery for an aging population. In case studies discussed in the IDTechEx report, smart packaging can be used to monitor medicine intake compliance in medical trials and, ultimately, by many patients requiring regular medication. This is achieved by using smart blister packaging that can wirelessly communicate a patient’s medicine adherence to the doctor or even provide timely reminders to their smartphone. - Technological Development Smart packing comprises a wide range of current and emerging technologies, often with very different purposes. These include: RFID for wireless item identification (usually invisible to the consumer), as well as other identification technologies, including QR codes and capacitive ink approaches. Electronic Articles Surveillance (EAS) for anti-theft (usually invisible to the consumer) Data loggers for temperature, shock, vibration, and time/location monitoring Interactive smart packaging, including light-up, and measuring (such as smart blister packs) Printed, flexible and organic electronics, including displays, sensors, and batteries. Chemical indicators: temperature, frozen chemical visual indicators, and active packaging for produce and pharmaceutical monitoring. - Global, Detailed Assessment of Smart Packaging The “Smart Packaging 2023-2033” report from IDTechEx covers the full picture and opportunities - in addition to the challenges of smart and intelligent packaging. Drawing on 24 company profiles, IDTechEx provides technology insights and independent analysis into the players in smart packaging. The potential for smart packaging to capture great value is discussed, including interviews with FMCG players, and applications are evaluated using 15 case studies within the report. IDTechEx quantifies the opportunities of smart packaging technologies across 7 forecasts. To find out more about this IDTechEx report, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/smart - Upcoming Free-to-Attend Webinar : Smart Packaging: Emerging Drivers and Technologies Dr Matthew Dyson, Principal Technology Analyst and author of this article, will be presenting a free-to-attend webinar on Wednesday 17 May 2023 - Smart Packaging: Emerging Drivers and Technologies. This webinar will discuss the following topics: Multiple smart packaging technologies, including embedded lighting, wireless energy harvesting, flexible batteries, and low-cost sensing Case studies showing the deployment and adoption of different types of smart packaging, such as electronic blister packs for pharmaceuticals A roadmap for the adoption of different smart packaging technologies, and assessment of technology gaps and other adoption barriers To find out more and register your place on one of our three sessions, please click here. https://www.idtechex.com/en/webinar/smart-packaging-emerging-drivers-and-technologies/497 If you are unable to attend the date, please do register anyway to receive the links to the on-demand recording and slides as soon as they are available.
Liebherr to supply Doyle Shipping Group with hybrid RTG
Liebherr Container Cranes is proud to announce the sale of a new hybrid rubber Tyre gantry crane (RTG) to Doyle Shipping Group (DSG), at Dublin Port. The new RTG has a span of 25.9 meters, which is 7 containers plus a truck lane wide, and a lift height of 21 meters, which is 1 over 6 containers high and a safe working load of 41 tonnes. Dan O’Shea, Area Sales Manager for Europe with Liebherr Container Cranes commented. " We are delighted to continue our long-standing relationship with DSG and to provide them with the latest technology in container handling. Liebherr have worked with Doyle’s Shipping Group at Dublin Port since 1999 when they received the first of six Liebherr Harbour Mobile (LHM) cranes. Subsequent years saw the addition of five more LHMs and in 2007, they received the first three of their Liebherr RTGs, with the newest machine bringing to 12 the number of RTGs at the terminal. In addition, we have supplied a ship to shore container crane in 2015. DSG are thoroughly familiar with the benefits of Liebherr equipment, and we are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with this new hybrid RTG.” Mr O’Shea continued "Commitment to sustainability is not just an option but is a responsibility for both Liebherr Container Cranes and Doyle Shipping Group. As two leading companies in the supply chain, we understand the vital importance of operating in a way that minimises our environmental impact, while maximising social and economic benefits. Liebherr's Gold Medal in sustainability from EcoVadis is a clear demonstration of our unwavering dedication to transparency and certainty in sustainable supply chains. For our customers, choosing sustainable equipment is a vital first step towards a sustainable economy, where every stage of the supply chain works in harmony to deliver truly sustainable products to consumers. Our commitment to sustainability is not just a choice, but an obligation that we embrace with pride." The LES 200 is a state-of-the-art capacitor system that effectively captures and preserves the energy produced during hoist lowering and braking, which would otherwise go to waste. The captured energy is redeployed during peak demand to reduce the overall energy consumption and emissions of the RTG. he system not only benefits the environment but also ensures cost savings by reducing running and maintenance expenses. The solution is available on both new machines and as a retrofittable solution via Liebherr Transform.
The power of DIY equipment sales
Imagine you’re a contractor or rental house in the process of recycling your fleet. Or a major OEM with large numbers of used trade-in machines to remarket. (Often made up of competing brands.) You send your well-maintained assets to an unreserved auction – and not only is there a risk of them being snapped up for a fraction of their true worth, but many of them could end up on the other side of town, filling the portfolio gaps of your fiercest rival. Or perhaps you get lucky, offloading an asset at a time of peak demand, with frenzied bidding driving the price sky-high. However, with bidding data locked in the auctioneer’s database, there is no way of tapping into that lucrative market of disappointed bidders for further, future sales. These are just two of the problems peculiar to third party auctions that are persuading equipment sellers to bring remarketing responsibility in-house, thanks to a new breed of online SaaS platforms. UK headquartered Krank is the leading example, used by major equipment OEMs and fleet owners. Krank offers three avenues of disposal – ‘classifieds’, eBay-style 30-day timed auctions, and live auction events. In each, both buyers and sellers enjoy a more rewarding transaction, with far fewer (or even zero) supplementary costs. Convenience – but at a cost “If you're prepared to risk selling at an unreserved auction, it can be a good route for disposal, especially when demand outweighs supply,” says Krank founder Mark Turner. “While there is little doubt that they are quick and efficient ways to raise cash, often they’re a last resort. But if the asset you’re selling isn’t in demand, vendors may be disappointed. It can also grate to know that third party auction companies pride themselves on making money when the market is good – but even more when the market is bad.” Compliance is also a consideration. Competitors acquiring your fleet cheaply, or discovering you’ve inadvertently sold assets to an embargoed country, are both outcomes to be avoided. These are situations that systems such as Krank can prevent by requiring potential bidders to be pre-approved by the vendor, if desired. (Or simply geo-fencing markets and territories to restrict bidders to selected regions.) This then paves the way for inspection or discussing the provenance of a machine. Users of these new platforms can – should, in fact – leverage their customer database to drum up greater interest in their equipment sales. This will draw a larger, prequalified, and interested audience, and avoid the risk of equipment being sold for less than its worth for lack of competition. That said, the unreserved option is available through these platforms – for those items where vendors just want it out of the yard. Priming the sales team for follow-up sales While the winners’ data are important, the information about who didn’t win is just as important. “Companies who throw everything into third party auctions are basically rendering their sales teams redundant. If they ran the auctions themselves, the reverse would be true – they would be priming their own sales funnel with red hot leads,” claims Turner. “Let’s say your excavator sells for $50,000. As soon as your auction closes, we send you (and anyone in your team), a notification with a table of all that bidder data, the profiles of the bidders (because they’ve all had to connect and network with you prior to bidding), and the highest prices points their bids reached. That’s not a lead, that’s potentially further pre-baked sales. One of your sales guys can call the second-highest bidder and say: ‘You got close – and we have another asset in the yard you can have – similar condition for a similar price’. Or maybe one bidder dropped out at just $25,000 – that’s potentially a pre-baked rental sale if you’re an equipment rental company: ‘How about you take one for $2,500 a month instead?’” Cutting carbon – and costs The desire to reduce the time, expense and carbon footprint incurred by the – often unnecessary – transportation of equipment to an onsite auction is another major attraction of systems such as Krank. Transportation to an auction site can reduce profits by up to 30%, after factoring in other fees. “The first crane I ever brokered was in Qatar, to a buyer from Dubai who’s project fab yard was just 1km away from where the seller’s crane was located!” Turner reveals. “Imagine the cost and carbon footprint if we’d delivered that crane to the auction in Jebel Ali, nearly 700km away, and then brought it all the way back again. An extreme example, perhaps, but valid all the same.” Monetizing ‘stuff’ These new platforms’ easy functionality also makes it useful for disposing of items rarely seen at traditional auctions. That old bucket that’s been sitting in a corner of the yard for decades, for example, could be sold using Krank’s unreserved price option. “Someone may buy an old bucket from you today, and then come back for the rest of the excavator tomorrow,” Turner half-jokes. Nevertheless, even those small-time one-off buyers and sellers are driving the transformation of, or even disrupting, the used equipment industry, and its established methods of doing business. The ability to scale up is intrinsic to the organic growth of platforms like Krank, and that is driven through the connections and networking of its users, as well as the leveraging of the latest technologies.
Can Electronics Manufacturing Join the Digital Age, Asks IDTechEx
Asked whether electronics is a ‘digital technology’, almost everyone would reply in the affirmative. However, while printed circuit boards (PCBs) enable digital technologies, the manufacturing processes used to produce them are still largely analog. ‘Digital manufacturing’ refers to any method that is directly controlled by a computer – simply using software in the design process doesn’t count. Well-known examples are CNC (computer numerical control) machining, a subtractive method in which a rotational cutting tool selectively removes material, and 3D printing, an additive method that involves selective deposition of metal, plastic, or even ceramic. In both cases, direct computer control means that every part produced can have a different design and even that the design can be adjusted once manufacturing is in progress. In contrast, conventional PCB manufacturing takes an analog approach. The desired pattern is transferred to a mask that is used for photolithography. Regions of material, typically copper laminate on a PCB, that are not coated with the patterned resist are then removed with an etchant. While this approach enables efficient high-yield production, introducing digital manufacturing methods would bring additional benefits. Why Do We Need Digital Electronics Manufacturing? Arguably, the main benefit of digital over analog manufacturing is that every item can be different with no additional setup time or costs. This is why inkjet printers (digital) are used at home since only a single copy is typically needed, whereas offset printing (analog) is used for mass-produced newspapers. With electronics, digital manufacturing enables rapid prototyping, accelerating the design process. It facilitates mass customization, where every circuit has a different design if desired without dramatically increasing production costs. Furthermore, high-resolution digital manufacturing methods can be used in conjunction with conventional photolithography to repair any unwanted circuit breaks. Digital Manufacturing Methods for Electronics Interest in digital manufacturing methods for electronics has increased rapidly over recent years. While inkjet printing is by far the best-established method of digitally depositing conductive ink, there are a variety of emerging techniques that are both digital and additive. They all offer the direct control of digital manufacturing while spanning a range of throughputs, resolutions, material viscosity, and substrate dimensionality. Multiple digital and additive manufacturing methods for printed electronics span a range of resolutions. Source: IDTechEx Print-then-plate utilizes inkjet printing of a thin layer of silver nanoparticle conductive ink to selectively pattern the substrate. This ‘seed layer’ is then fully metalized by electroless plating, producing a copper circuit. This method is already used for mass production. It combines the customizability of digital manufacturing, the reduced waste of additive manufacturing, and the conductivity of copper metal (rather than printed conductive ink). Laser induced forward transfer (LIFT) can be regarded as a hybrid of laser direct structuring (LDS) and inkjet printing. Briefly, a laser heats conductive ink coated underneath a ‘transfer plate’, with evaporating solvent ejecting the ink. The lack of nozzle is a major benefit since it enables viscous inks typically used for screen printing to be used. There is potential for LIFT to be used in tandem with R2R production, enabling rapid, cost-effective production of customized circuits. Aerosol printing is a relatively established technique that is well suited to printing onto 3D surfaces. A low-viscosity ink is atomized and formed into a thin collimated jet within a gas sheath layer, enabling resolutions as fine as 10 um with a working distance of up to 5cm. It’s already being used in the semiconductor packaging production process and will soon be applied to larger area conformal surfaces such as automotive glass. Electrohydrodynamic printing (EHD) uses an electric field to ‘pull’ ink from a nozzle rather than relying on pressure to ‘push’ out the ink. Capable of traces as narrow as 1um, this technique is currently being used to repair defects in TFT backplanes. An emerging approach is to combine hundreds of individually addressable nozzles within a single MEMS (micro electromechanical system) chip promises to break the resolution/throughput trade-off for small-scale additive electronics manufacturing. Impulse printing is an innovative technique in the early stages of development that promises high throughput printing onto 3D surfaces, such as the edges of glass backplanes or 2.5D semiconductor packaging. The approach utilizes a rapid heat pulse from a controllable array of heating elements to expel ink from a flat ‘transfer surface’ onto the target object. Since no nozzle is used, ink can simultaneously be expelled from across the heated ‘transfer surface’. Comprehensive Overview The digital electronics manufacturing methods outlined are predicted to gain further traction, driven by a desire for greater customizability, shorter product development cycles, and demand for 2.5D/3D electronics. IDTechEx’s report, “Manufacturing Printed Electronics 2023-2033”, builds on 20 years of covering printed and flexible electronics to explore these technologies and many others, including roll-to-roll manufacturing. Drawing on information from conference attendance and primary interviews, it outlines the players, capabilities, trends, and requirements across the printed electronics manufacturing space, helping to support choices in product development and when scaling up to mass production. To find out more, including downloadable sample pages, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/ManufacturingPE
Silver Weibull selects WiTTRA to optimize power consumption and reduce costs
Silver Weibull, a leading manufacturer of sugar process equipment with over 100 years of experience, has selected WiTTRA to help optimize its power consumption. With WiTTRA's innovative technology, Silver Weibull hopes to gain valuable insights into their power usage and identify areas of power wastage, ultimately resulting in reduced costs and improved efficiency. Since 1922, Silver Weibull has developed and manufactured state-of-the-art centrifugal equipment in close cooperation with sugar mills and refineries all over the world. With their own research and development expertise in-house at their premises in Sweden, Silver Weibull has established a reputation for manufacturing top-quality sugar process equipment that meets the high standard of quality necessary to supply the largest global brands in the production of food and drink, where only the best equipment is acceptable. Silver Weibull not only offers centrifugal equipment but also provides a variety of services in their mechanical workshop located in Hässleholm, Skåne, they are specialists in mechanical manufacturing, such as welding in both black and stainless steel, machining in the form of carousel turning, perforation, drilling, milling, assembly and now also heat treatment. Previously, Silver Weibull had difficulty understanding their power consumption, as they were billed on assumed consumption. WiTTRA's platform partner, Connectitude, helped Silver Weibull to monitor their power consumption and identify reactive loads that were in bad condition, resulting in high consumption. With this information, Silver Weibull was able to take preventative measures and optimize its power usage. "We are delighted to work with WiTTRA to help us monitor our power consumption and identify areas of improvement," said Lennart Lindell, purchasing, environment and quality manager for Silver Weibull. "Their technology is innovative and cost-effective, and we were able to see results almost immediately. This investment has not only helped us reduce our costs but also improved our overall efficiency." WiTTRA's power consumption monitoring technology is an excellent example of how innovative technology can help businesses reduce costs and improve efficiency. By identifying areas of power wastage, businesses can take preventative measures and optimize their power usage, ultimately resulting in reduced costs and improved profitability.
Graphisoft's Archicad Collaborate makes leading BIM technology more accessible through new subscription offering
Graphisoft, the leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) software solutions developer for architecture and engineering, today introduced Archicad Collaborate. This subscription-based offer combines award-winning Archicad for architectural design with BIMcloud SaaS for fast, efficient, secure access to shared projects in real-time — all at an affordable price point. Unlike other BIM software providers that charge additional fees for cloud services, Archicad Collaborate lowers the barrier to entry by offering award-winning BIMcloud SaaS as part of the Archicad subscription price in the user-friendly online Graphisoft Store. "Customers demand powerful solutions that are easy to acquire, learn, and use," said Márton Kiss, Vice President of Product Success at Graphisoft. "Archicad Collaborate allows practices to acquire both Archicad and BIMcloud SaaS at a price even smaller firms can afford." Archicad Collaborate includes: (1) Archicad— a robust design solution with a world-renowned user-friendly interface that makes it the most efficient and intuitive BIM software on the market. (2) BIMcloud Software as a Service — users access their data via a secure cloud solution for fast, flexible, secure access to shared projects in real time. (3) Exclusive data and collaboration services that maximize the value of the subscription, including access to Graphisoft Learn courses and training materials; emergency licenses and technical support; Redshift by Maxon, a high-end rendering tool; PARAM-O, a parametric object design tool; the Library Part Maker add-on for creating detailed Library objects; and Python API for customized and automated Archicad workflows. When asked about the benefits of using Archicad with BIMcloud SaaS, Peter Snellman, Partner and Design Director at Tillberg Design, said, "Working on the same Archicad model from different countries, we have fewer problems." "With Archicad Collaborate, you can start your project on BIMcloud SaaS, a secure cloud platform built for sharing and collaborating with your team — without additional hardware investments or IT experience," Márton Kiss added. "Using Archicad's powerful and proven tools, you can design great buildings with your team and share them with customers and clients — anywhere in the world." Archicad Collaborate is now available in select markets in the Graphisoft Store. Visit Archicad Collaborate for more information and to subscribe. Graphisoft offers customers a choice — contact your local Graphisoft Partner for more licensing options, including perpetual licenses.