Robotic blacksmithing: A technology that could revive US manufacturing

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Although it may not be obvious, there’s a close link between manufacturing technology and innovation. Elon Musk often talks of the “machines that build the machines” as being the real enabler in both his space and automotive businesses.

Using less-expensive, more scalable processes allows Space X to launch missions on budgets and with speed that would be unthinkable using NASA’s old-school manufacturing methods. And the new Tesla Cybertruck’s unorthodox design appears to take advantage of a simplified manufacturing process that does away with “die stamping” metal in favor of bending and folding metal sheets.

Now a new manufacturing method dubbed “robotic blacksmithing” has the potential to revolutionize the way high-quality structural parts are made, resulting in a new class of customized and optimized products. I am part of a loose coalition of engineers developing this process, a technique I believe can help revive U.S. manufacturing.

Today’s technologies

Metal parts are used in all kinds of high-performance and safety-critical applications in transportation, mining, construction and power-generation equipment such as turbine engines. Most are made using one of a small number of classical manufacturing processes that haven’t changed much in decades.

Machining cuts away raw material to get a desired shape; casting involves pouring molten metal into a mold; and forming or forging deforms and squeezes metal into new shapes. Casting and forging to shape usually needs custom molds or dies that can take considerable time and expense to design and manufacture, but once running are very productive; parts are inexpensive with highly reproducible properties. This is why nuts and bolts can be cheap and reliable.

Starting shortly after World War II, digital manufacturing ushered in more agile production, first with computer numeric control machining that cuts components of all kinds of shapes from metal blocks. Producing a different component was as simple as launching a new computer program. One common downside of computer numeric control machining is a low “fly-to-buy” ratio, where a 1,000-pound titanium block might be carved away to produce a 100-pound aerospace component. This is expensive and environmentally wasteful, but no new investment is needed and lead times are short.

Right now, there is also deserved enthusiasm about making such parts by 3-D printing, also referred to as additive manufacturing. This process also makes parts from a computer file on demand by building a part one layer at a time. Shapes that are impossible to make by machining can be printed, allowing new shapes that, for instance, have internal passages for cooling or communication.

While these techniques have their advantages, they also have drawbacks. They often don’t produce the highest levels of strength or toughness and these processes are wasteful.

Robots plus blacksmithing

Metal implements made by blacksmiths oftentimes have legendary strength because the working of the metal, like kneading of dough, makes its structure finer, more homogeneous. As the material is shaped, it develops directional strength, much like wood is stronger along the direction of its grain. However, no human blacksmith can deal with parts the size of aircraft landing gear or have the reproducibility and stamina to make the parts needed for our economy.

The idea of robotic blacksmithing is to extend the blacksmith’s art with new digital capabilities. Parts are shaped by repeatedly and incrementally forming a piece of metal which is precisely positioned into a press. This powered press or hammer system will interchange tools depending on the shape needed.

By automating the process of shaping a part, but using the basic approach of a blacksmith, a machine can treat larger parts and be more efficient and reproducible than a human ever could.

This new approach has the potential to efficiently and consistently make the structural ‘bones’ inside aircraft, ships, submarines and locomotives. Or the concept could be scaled down to make small individualized medical implants.

Where will technology take hold?

The basic concept for robotic blacksmithing, formally called metamorphic manufacturing, was demonstrated in 2017 when a team of undergraduates from The Ohio State University added hardware and software to a conventional computer numeric control milling machine to adapt it for controlled deformation. The work was in response to a US$25,000 challenge by the government-funded consortium LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow) to demonstrate the key concepts of digitally controlled deformation-based shaping.

But that was just a start. Today, much research and development remains before we have autonomous machines shaping metal into unique safety-critical items.

Fully developing the robot blacksmith requires a synthesis of technologies. The system must be able to know the shape, temperature and condition of the material at each location of the part being formed. Then it must be able to control the temperature to produce the right structure and properties. The press must squeeze the component where needed with robotic control, deforming the part bit by bit. And, a computer must make decisions on how to move and strike the part next in order to optimize shape and properties, often learning from how previous parts were made.

All of these base technologies are progressing rapidly, and there is no reason they cannot be quickly melded together as a useful and practical manufacturing technology, as a recent roadmapping study has shown.

History shows that when diverse groups come together to form a new industry, the birthplace of that innovation (turning the idea into businesses) reaps the long-term benefits. Detroit with automobiles and Silicon Valley with computers are obvious examples but there’s also glass manufacturing in Toledo, polymer engineering in Akron and medical device engineering in Minneapolis. The more recent examples of thriving technical clusters are often outside the U.S., with personal electronics manufacturing centered around Shenzhen, China, and advanced semiconductor devices in Singapore. The early clusters were serendipitous. The later ones are usually the result of deliberate and smart policy decisions.

There are already many examples of great technology that is born in the United States, then manufactured elsewhere. For example, many of the core technologies in smartphones were developed in labs in the U.S. but production is now spread across the world. The next wave of innovation will likely be located where skills are deep due from staffing and improving current factories. Robotic blacksmithing provides an opportunity for the United States to be the leader if it wants to. The core in keeping this virtuous cycle going in any location is in developing the factories, or the machines that build the machines.

 

Source: Tech Xplore

 

Taichung Bike Week extended by a day, moves to September in 2020

Taichung Bike Week, traditionally known as an OEM event where decisions are made and deals done, needs an extra day to finish its business.

Beginning next year, the 16th annual event will last four days and move from October to Sept. 22-25. The date change comes because of the development of the annual bike spec’ing schedule, according to Wheel Giant, which organizes TBW.

The new dates put it only three weeks after Eurobike, which takes place Sept. 2-5 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

“The dates are based on what the answers are when the organizing team asks exhibitors what they want for next year,” said Steve Fenton, a show organizer. “Most of the people at TBW don’t go to Eurobike. Although, the companies at TBW will be at both, the roles of the staffs are very different.”

Wheel Giant said the additional day was in response to exhibitors wanting additional time to conclude all of their meetings. The date change also was done to attract more American brands, which traditionally visit Taiwan factories at the end of September to discuss specifications, according to Wheel Giant.

The Splendor, Evergreen and Tempus hotels again will host TBW. This past October, the three-day event had 407 exhibitors, with buyer and visitor attendance increasing 15% over 2018.

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The 2019 Taichung Bike Week was held at the Splendor, Evergreen and Tempus hotels on October 16-18. A total of 407 exhibitors were attracted to participate in the exhibition, using 492 booths. Even though many international bicycle shows have had to face a trend of decline, the overall scale of this year’s TBW was 15% higher than last year. The event has become a unique and professional platform for global OEM manufacturers and bicycle parts brands to showcase their latest products to product managers from the international bike industry.

One of Taiwan bike parts manufacturers – BEV International also participated in this annual event and exhibited our latest and hottest products, like: front forks, handle bars, wheel sets, brake shoes and so on.

The next Taichung Bike Week will be held at September 22 – 25, 2020. http://www.taichungbikeweek.com/

 

Source: Bicycle Retailer

Researchers develop new method to remove dust on solar panels

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Taking a cue from the self-cleaning properties of the lotus leaf, researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have shed new light on microscopic forces and mechanisms that can be optimized to remove dust from solar panels to maintain efficiency and light absorption. The new technique removed 98 percent of dust particles.

In a new study published in Langmuir, the researchers confirmed that modifying the surface properties of solar panels may greatly reduce the amount of dust remaining on the surface, and significantly increase the potential of solar energy harvesting applications in the desert.

Dust adhesion on solar panels is a major challenge to energy harvesting through photovoltaic cells and solar thermal collectors. New solutions are necessary to maintain maximum collection efficiency in high dust density areas such as the Negev desert in Israel.

“In nature, we observe that the lotus leaf remains dust and pathogen free due to its nanotextured surface, and a thin wax, hydrophobic coating that repels water,” says Tabea Heckenthaler, a master’s student from Düsseldorf Germany at the BGU Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research. “In the desert, dust accumulates on the surface of solar cells and it’s labor-intensive to clean them constantly, so we’re trying to mimic this behavior on a solar cell.”

The researchers explored the effect of modifying a silicon substrate (Si), a semiconductor used in photovoltaic cells, to mimic the self-cleaning properties of the lotus leaf, as water rolls down the leaves and removes contamination.

It is known that superhydrophobicity reduces the friction between water droplets and the surface, thus allowing water drops to slide clean particles from surfaces. However, the forces that attach and detach particles from surfaces during the self-cleaning mechanism and the effect of nanotextures on these forces are not fully understood.

To shed light on these forces and the effect of nanotexture on them, the researchers prepared four silicon-based samples relevant to solar panels: (1) smooth hydrophillic (2) nanotextured hydrophilic surfaces and (3) smooth hydrophobic (4) nanotextured hydrophobic surfaces. This was achieved by wet-chemically etching the surface to create nanowires on the surface, and additionally applying a hydrophobic coating.

Particle removal increased from 41 percent on hydrophilic smooth Si wafers to 98 percent on superhydrophobic Si-based nanotextured surfaces. The researchers confirmed these results by measuring the adhesion of a micron-sized particle to the flat and nanotextured substrate using an atomic force microscope. They found that the adhesion in water is reduced by a factor of 30.

“We determined that the reason for the increased particle removal is not low friction between the droplets and the superhydrophobic surfaces,” Heckenthaler says. “Rather, it is the increase in the forces that can detach particles from the surfaces. The experimental methods we used and the criterion for particle removal we derived can be implemented to engineer self-cleaning surfaces exhibiting different chemistries and/or textures.”

 

Source: Phys.org

Israeli ‘rubber band’ solution could reduce plastic bottle waste by 80%

A French-Israeli entrepreneur believes that recycling challenges posed by large quantities of plastic bottles could be significantly ameliorated with a rubber band.

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It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention, but what about simplicity?

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there could be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050, if current plastic disposal trends continue. In fact, only 14% of the world’s masses of plastic packaging materials is collected for recycling.

One French-Israeli serial entrepreneur, however, believes that recycling challenges posed by large quantities of plastic bottles could be significantly ameliorated with a solution based on the addition of a rubber band.

On Monday, Morris Amsellem, the CEO of waste solution company Ecoams Planet, unveiled Bakbuk: a simple solution to crush plastic bottles and make recycling easier for consumers and beverage manufacturers alike.

Key to the uncomplicated solution is a biodegradable rubber band strapped around a particular part of the bottle, which assists consumers to easily fold up their empty bottle and reduce its volume by 80%.

Reducing the volume, Amsellem says, will enable eager recyclers to save space and reduce the frequency required to deposit waste in the recycling bin or travel to the refuse center.

The rubber band solution, which already boasts patents in 14 countries, can be implemented on any type of original PET plastic bottles, including those used by the world’s leading beverage makers. Patent applications have been filed in 58 countries worldwide to date, led by Israeli patent and trademark firm Ehrlich & Fenster.

“Bakbuk is bringing a revolution in all phases of recycling: for the consumer it is simple and efficient to use, reduces the frequency of throwing [bottles] into the recycling bin by a factor of five, and provides a tremendous ecological response to catastrophic plastic pollution worldwide,” said Amsellem.

“In addition, for the recycling company, it reduces the number of journeys to recycling sites, reduces transportation and compression costs, and generally increases efficiency and productivity. For the beverage companies, it provides solutions for sustainable development, a ‘circular economy’ solution and a solution that is relevant to customers.”

The company is currently in talks to include its solution in bottles sold by major beverage manufacturers, and thereby bring the innovation directly to consumers’ households. Amsellem’s efforts are advanced by a positive entrepreneurial track record, including the $21 million sale of a simple plant watering system in 2006 to a public French company.

According to a US survey conducted for Ecoams Planet by Ipsos, 91% of consumers said that a solution reducing the volume of large drinking bottles by 75-80% was an important innovation. A total of 69% said they would be willing to spend at least one cent extra on a shrinkable plastic drinking bottle, including 12% who said they would be willing to spend more than five cents extra on such a product.

Recommended PET bottle recycling machinery:

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ACERETECH ACS-H TM series compacting and pelletizing system combines function of crushing, compacting, plasticization and pelletizing to One step. Applied in the plastics recyclng and pelletizing process. ACS-H TM system is a reliable and efficiency solution for plastics film, raffias, filaments, bags, woven bags and foaming materials re-pelletizing.

 

Source: The Jerusalem Post

Global Toolholders Market Will Top US$ 1 Billion By 2019

Global Tool Holders Market Revenue

Global demand for toolholders, specifically arising from the automotive and defense and aerospace industries, will witness a relatively steady growth through 2028, as predicted by Future Market Insights (FMI) in its recently released market intelligence report.

 

While the demand for toolholders will be largely driven by emerging economies, in particular the manufacturing sector, China is likely to make substantial investments in high-performance cutting tools, considering the robust manufacturing and industrial output in the region.

 

In other developing countries such as Philippines and Bangladesh, the positive scenario and policies, infrastructure and steps that are being taken to promote business, especially the manufacturing sector, will have a positive impact on the toolholders market offering huge opportunities for investors.

 

As per the report, the global toolholders market will top US$ 1 billion by 2019. Moreover, growing demand for high-precision products with increased output capacity is propelling the demand for advance toolholders in the global market, opines FMI.

 

Key Market Insights at a Glance:

  • The demand for toolholders is anticipated to grow at a moderate pace over the forecast period.
  • Asia Pacific is estimated to hold a prominent share of the global toolholders market.
  • Initiatives by regional governments are likely to encourage the movement of low-cost manufacturing towards parts of South-East Asia, thereby creating healthy growth prospects create healthy growth opportunities in Asia Pacific region.
  • China will remain the largest consumer of machine tools, followed by U.S.
  • The toolholders market is consolidated with Tier 1 players accounting for significant shares.
  • The top three players of the market are estimated to account for more than a 50% market share.
  • On the basis of types of toolholder, hydraulic toolholders segment is slated to remain a high-value, high-growth segment.
  • In terms of end-use, general machining and fabrication and the automotive industries are likely to push maximum revenue into the toolholders market. The two end-use industries are estimated to collectively account for around 47% value share in the global toolholders market.
  • BT flange taper will remain the most preferred taper type among CNC end users, in terms of volume and value, given its high degree of accuracy and precision, in any high-speed machining operations.

 

Laser Cutting Technologies Could Restrict Toolholders Sales

 

Laser cutting, a streamlined and precision manufacturing process, is likely to pose challenges for toolholders given its ability to not just cut materials but also apply finish to a product. Apart from lower risks of material deformation or warping, because there is no direct contact between the material and the laser cutting device, chances of incorrect markings and contamination further reduces. Although laser cutting could be technically challenging and costly, end-use industries demanding high cutting precision such as automotive, are projected to replace traditional tool cutting equipment. However, high market penetration of relatively low cost toolholders may restrict the demand for new and more advanced toolholders despite their high accuracy and ease of handling.

 

Article Source: Machinery Future

Luju, Best Stainless Steel Hardware Manufacturer for Marine and Building Industry

If you are looking for the quality and reasonable-priced stainless steel hardware, Luju will be your best choice!

Luju Enterprise Co., Ltd

Established in 1991, Luju Enterprise Co., Ltd. was with extensive experience in hardware industry. They specialized in stainless steel hardware for both industrial & marine applications, and their products are shipped to USA, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

 

Applications of Luju Products

Luju can provide the following stainless steel hardware and services:

 

  • In Marine Industry

Luju manufactures friction hinges, cleats, vents, latches…etc. They are able to provide nearly every stainless steel spare parts used on the boat with corrosion resistant finish.

 

  • In Building Industry

Luju produces including glass hardware, door handle, shower hardware, and much more hardware. Also, they can make hardware with many kinds of materials according to customer’s request. For example, zinc alloy and brass for building industry.

 

Strength of Luju Stainless Steel Hardware Company

 

Patents

Based on strong design and manufacturing ability, nearly all stainless steel hardware is designed by Luju engineering team and they have got worldwide patents for many of the products.

 

R&D

  • Luju products are made by various production processes, including casting, hot-forging, cold-forging and stamping. Luju has capability to customize special machine based on the requirements of products.
  • Luju created corrosion resistant finish to stainless steel.
  • The electro polishing process not only gives stainless steel a mirror-like finish but also extremely corrosion resistant.
  • The titanium plating is using the most advanced technology which enables them to offer a wide range of stainless steel finish with various colors.

 

Luju Enterprise Co., Ltd. is in stainless steel industry for more than 20 years, they are well-experienced in sourcing the suppliers who has high quality with competitive price to customers. They mainly supply these products to Asian and Middle East countries regularly.

 

Today, if you have requirement of extensive range of high quality stainless steel products with special finish, no hesitation, send inquiries or contact with Luju for more details!

 

Luju Enterprise Co., Ltd.

2 FL, No 11-3, Lane 69, TianMu E. Rd., Shilin Dist, Taipei City 11153, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Tel: 886-2-2872-1118

Fax: 886-2-2872-6220

Mobile: 886-(0)920-214-979 / 886-(0)978-659-078

E-mail: sales@lujultd.com

Contact Person: Ms. Julianne Huang / Mr. Paul Huang

Start A Paper Plate, Bowl, and Cup Making Business, I Need…?

Paper plates, paper bowls, and paper cups are disposable made out of paper and lined with wax or plastic to prevent liquid from soaking the paper. These paper containers are made using food grade paper, which is hygienic and capable of storing both, hot or cold liquid for long times.

 

Since these items are lightweight and can be easily disposed of, they are very convenient to be carried to any place for serving food items. Moreover, these containers are available in a wide range of designs and sizes to meet the needs and preferences of consumers.

 

With the rising awareness of Eco-friendly and rapidly changing lifestyles, the demand for paper plates, paper bowls, and paper cup has increased tremendously year on year.

 

Before Starting Your Paper Plate Making Business…

To start a paper plate business, you will need high quality and efficiency paper tray making machines. And where can you find the best paper box making machine manufacturer? Here, I will recommend you to visit Win Shine Machinery Co., Ltd.

 

Win Shine is a professional paper food packaging containers making machines manufacturer in Taiwan. They develop and customize a series of lunch box making machines to meet your requirement of paper food containers.

 

Below, there are some samples manufactured by Win Shine paper bowl forming machine:

 

2-Mold Pater Plate, Bowl Forming Machine

WS-3301 / WS-3302 / WS-3303

Food Containers Making Machine

If you have interest or have requirement of paper bowl making machines, no hesitation, check out Win Shine website or contact them at +886-4-2515-4999 for more details!

 

Win Shine Machinery Co., Ltd.

No.208, Sec. 1, Guofeng Rd., Shengang Dist., Taichung City, 42942,Taiwan

TEL: +886-4-2515-4999

FAX: +886-4-2525-0111

E-mail: winshine.taiwan1990@gmail.com

 

Article Source: Quora