Cobots: Paving the Way for Advanced Manufacturing

COBOTS_PAVING_THE
The International Federation of Robotics predicts that cobot sales will reach $1.94 billion per year in 2028, which is 15.7% of the total market for robots. Collaborative robots, popularly known as cobots, have been one of the most impressive sectors of the robotics industry in terms of market growth. Cobots are designed to work alongside as well as near humans, unlike other robots operating in 4-D environments that require separation from humans to operate securely. In manufacturing, the use of cobots is on the rise because they make workers and businesses safer and more productive.


The Rise to Prominence:

When compared to their human coworkers, these computers may be "taught" to execute repeated jobs and are significantly less prone to making mistakes. Cobots are also relatively simple to operate with minimal training and can usually be set up in a short time span. Cobots also appeal to manufacturers because they are smaller and can move around more easily than traditional industrial robots.

A wide range of cobot types may be wheeled from one industrial station to another swiftly and easily. They are, in most cases, software-flexible, allowing them to be reprogrammed to perform multiple jobs rather than just one. Cobots are also appealing because their naturally safe design eliminates the need for often costly safety attachments, saving both money and factory floor space. With such benefits, as well as manufacturing's preference for flexibility considering high variability, low volume, and short product life, it's easy to see why cobots are so valuable.


Early Adopters of Cobots:

The automobile sector was one of the first to use cobots. University research programs and the General Motors (GM) Robotics Center produced the first cobots in the mid-1990s. These robots were later used by BMW and Volkswagen in 2013. BMW's cobot worked with humans during the door construction process. Volkswagen used cobot to install glow plugs into cylinder heads. Both companies wanted to reduce the physical strain of their workers by having robots perform repetitive and unergonomic tasks.

The use of cobots is no longer restricted to the automobile industry. It has diversified into various other processes and industries.


Good News for Every Industry:

Cobots can be utilized to bring industrial automation to a variety of corporate processes. Each machine can be used for a variety of activities, from fine detail work to palletizing, but some versions are better suited to specific tasks. A business that wants to automate non-load-bearing operations may benefit from a tabletop model like the UR3e, but a larger cobot arm will be able to pull its weight with heavier jobs.

One of the most valuable qualities of cobots for a small firm is their versatility. They can be reprogrammed in a short time to address gaps that arise in nearly any aspect of the business, from palletizing to the production line. The adaptability of cobots is due to one key component: their end effectors.

End effectors, also known as end of arm tooling (EOAT), are an important part of every cobot. They attach to the robotic arm's end and enable it to do specialized activities ranging from tedious tasks like selecting and packing to technical jobs like welding and sanding. Depending on a company's needs, a single cobot could accomplish up to a dozen jobs in a working week.

 

Final Thoughts:

Following the industry's initial skepticism of this new technology, cobots acquired remarkable traction in entering production lines. The advancement was spurred in part by the buzz around cobots, but it is obvious that the ease of use and versatility of cobots made robotization accessible to small and medium-sized firms. Because cobot development has made a big step forward, one can surmise that it will be used in almost every part of manufacturing in the future.

Spotlight

Ditch Witch

Anyone who has ever visited our factory in Perry, Oklahoma, has heard us say it: "We bleed orange."​ But what does it mean? It has something to do with the signature color of our equipment, of course. But mostly it's about what's inside our machines and, especially, what's inside the people who build them.

OTHER ARTICLES

AI for Manufacturing: Leveraging ML to Prepare for Change and Uncertainty

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Innovation, Industrial 4.0

Optimize Value Chain: Embrace Collaborative Platforms in Industry 4.0

Article | July 17, 2023

The curated list of platforms and industry 4.0 tools above, delves into simplification and enhancing of digitalized manufacturing processes. These value chain tools enhance the user experience. The advent of Industry 4.0 has revolutionized the way businesses operate, with technologies such as IoT, AI, and automation driving digital transformation across the entire value chain. In this dynamic landscape, collaborative platforms have emerged as powerful tools that enable organizations to optimize their value chain, fostering seamless collaboration and integration among stakeholders. In this article, know the significance of collaborative industry 4.0 software and the benefits they offer in optimizing the value chain. 1. PARCview PARCview is a powerful real-time manufacturing analytics software that empowers data-driven decision-making in manufacturing environment. 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With the ability to connect machines both in the cloud and at the edge, MachineMetrics enables manufacturers to digitize their legacy processes and enhance profitability. Numerous manufacturers have adopted the platform worldwide, with thousands of machines already connected. By delivering timely and relevant information, MachineMetrics helps improve machine performance, productivity, and capacity utilization. Ultimately, it empowers manufacturers to stay competitive and win more business in the global market. 7. Siemens Opcenter Siemens Opcenter is a comprehensive Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution that facilitates the digitalization of manufacturing operations. By offering end-to-end visibility into production, Opcenter empowers decision-makers to identify areas for improvement in product design and manufacturing processes. This enables operational adjustments for smoother and more efficient production. 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As the Industry 4.0 revolution unfolds, organizations that proactively adopt and leverage collaborative platforms will be well-positioned to thrive in this era of unprecedented connectivity and digital transformation.

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Procurement & Supply Chain

Manufacturing Production Planning and Control: What, Why, and How?

Article | January 3, 2022

Production planning and control are critical components of any manufacturing organization. It helps organizations with the regular and timely delivery of their goods. Furthermore, it allows manufacturing businesses to increase their plant’s efficiency and reduce production costs. Numerous software and tools for production scheduling and planning are available on the market, including Visual Planning, MaxScheduler, and MRPeasy, which assist manufacturing organizations in planning, scheduling, and controlling their production. According to KBV Research, the manufacturing operations management software market is anticipated to reach $14.6 billion by 2025 globally, expanding at a market growth of 10.2 percent CAGR during the forecast period. So, what exactly is production planning and control? Production planning is an administrative process within a manufacturing business. 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Steps in Production Planning and Control Routing The first stage of production planning determines the path that raw materials will take from their source to the finished product. You will use this section to determine the equipment, resources, materials, and sequencing used. Scheduling It is necessary to determine when operations will occur during the second stage of production planning. In this case, the objectives may be to increase throughput, reduce lead time, or increase profits, among other things. Numerous strategies can be employed to create the most efficient schedule. Dispatching The third and final production control stage begins when the manufacturing process is initiated. When the scheduling plan is implemented, materials and work orders are released, and work is flowing down the production line, the production line is considered to be running smoothly. 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Robotics and Automation

2022: The Year of Robotics Industry Expansion

Article | November 12, 2021

Robotics industry growth has accelerated rapidly across several industries. It has aided manufacturers in overcoming numerous barriers related to real-time communication, workplace safety, and overall manufacturing cost and timeliness. However, if we trace its history back to 1961 when George Charles Devol introduced the first robot, dubbed 'UNIMATE,' it has exponentially grown and utilized across sectors to make operations more effortless, precise, and faster. “As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity.” – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca. However, the industry has seen snags or difficult times due to market fluctuations, unfavorable situations, and the need to remain competitive in the drive for expansion. To thoroughly understand the robotics industry, let us examine each component that surrounds it. Industrial Robotics Global Market Size According to recent Allied Market Research studies, the global industrial robotics market was worth $37,875 million in 2016 and is expected to reach $70,715 million by 2023, rising at a 9.4% compound annual growth from 2017 to 2023. Industrial Robotics Market Analysis The global industrial robotics market is primarily driven by a global increase in labor costs, which has compelled firms to replace human labor with robots. As a result, Asia and Europe are the world's fastest-growing areas, with top companies such as ABB, Fanuc, KUKA, Kawasaki, and Yaskawa Electric Corporation headquartered in the region. The global market of robotics has been segmented by its type, industry, and function. Type Industry Function Articulated Automotive Soldering and Welding Cartesian Electrical & Electronics Materials Handling SCARA Healthcare & Medicine Assembling & Disassembling Cylindrical Rubber & Plastics Painting and Dispensing Others if any Machinery & Metals Cutting and Processing Food & Beverages Milling Precision & Optics Others if any Others if any Industries That Are Pioneering the Use of Robotics As we have observed, the global robotic market will continue to rise in the future years. Therefore, let us examine which industries will extend their use of robotics in their operations. Healthcare & Medicine Medical robots help surgeons optimize hospital logistics and free up the working staff to focus on patients. In the healthcare field, robots are revolutionizing surgery by speeding supply delivery and disinfection and freeing up time for doctors to interact with their patients. da Vinci System – A General Surgical Robot The da Vinci System is a surgical robot that focuses on a wide range of urological, bariatric, and gynecological surgical treatments. In addition, Stryker's MAKO System also specializes in orthopedic surgery, specifically partial and total knee replacements. The da Vinci SP system is cleared for use in the United States exclusively for single-port urological procedures, lateral oropharyngectomy (often referred to as radical tonsillectomy), and tongue base excision. Law Enforcement Police robots are meant to gain access to areas inaccessible or dangerous to first responders, and they are capable of manipulating items and gathering data using several technologies. It encompasses robots capable of operating in various conditions and displaying a range of data and communication capabilities. Agriculture & Food Industry Farm equipment is now routinely equipped with sensors that utilize machine learning and robotics to identify weeds, compute the appropriate quantity of herbicide to spray, or learn to detect and pick strawberries, for instance. Additionally, in the food business, robotics has been used to do repetitive tasks such as picking and placing food items and cutting and slicing food items during any given food item. For instance, the modern bakery business uses robotics to perform traditional craft skills and produce any product in large quantities while maintaining high quality and hygiene standards. Transportation The transportation sector is highly leveraging robotics. The powerful transport capability, advanced control technology, and sensing precision are some of the benefits that make the transportation robots widely utilized in this sector. These benefits from robotics help the sector convey various commodities in factories, restaurants, and medical institutions, among other locations. Manufacturing Robots are employed in manufacturing to do repeated jobs and streamline the overall assembly process. Additionally, robots and humans can also collaborate on product making. Robots can replace humans for hazardous tasks or processes that need large quantities of materials, which might be hazardous for a human employee to handle. Factors Sustaining the Growth of the Robotics Industry Reduces Manufacturing Costs: Robotics application in all industries reduces the overall manufacturing process running costs. Improves Product Quality: The precision of robotics throughout the manufacturing process helps produce high-quality items that meet target client needs. Offers Competitive Market: Increased income due to utilizing the benefits of robotics applications makes any industry more competitive. Speed-ups Production Time: Robotics speeds up production and helps manufacturers increase output. Offers Task or Process Flexibility: Robotics can weld, cast, mold, assemble, machine, transfer, inspect, load, and unload items, among other duties. So, it gives the manufacturer process flexibility. Reduces Excessive Use and Waste of Production Materials: Robotics employs the exact quantity of material required for the manufactured product, reducing waste and overuse of materials. Offers a Safe Working Place: Robotics improves employee health and safety by performing tasks that humans find risky. For example, in the chemical industry, a human employee may not do a hazardous task. In such instances, robots can replace people. Final Words The rise of the robotics industry has accelerated dramatically, and it is now spreading its wings across industries. Research firm IDC provided a projection for the commercial robot market, forecasting that the market will exceed $53 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20%. In addition, several advantages of robotics such as safety, productivity, uniformity, and perfection are pushing its expansion and making it an essential element of industry 4.0. FAQs Why are robots the future of the manufacturing industry? The use of robots in manufacturing has improved process efficiency and product quality. As a result, robots are gaining favor in production and becoming the future of manufacturing. Which industries make the most use of robotics? Healthcare, agriculture, food, and manufacturing are the industries that are embracing robotics to get the most out of it. How is manufacturing utilizing robotics? Manufacturing uses robotics for repetitive tasks. This helps in the reduction of errors and human efforts. It also improves production efficiency. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why are robots the future of the manufacturing industry?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The use of robots in manufacturing has improved process efficiency and product quality. As a result, robots are gaining favor in production and becoming the future of manufacturing." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Which industries make the most use of robotics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Healthcare, agriculture, food, and manufacturing are the industries that are embracing robotics to get the most out of it." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How is manufacturing utilizing robotics?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Manufacturing uses robotics for repetitive tasks. This helps in the reduction of errors and human efforts. It also improves production efficiency." } }] }

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Spotlight

Ditch Witch

Anyone who has ever visited our factory in Perry, Oklahoma, has heard us say it: "We bleed orange."​ But what does it mean? It has something to do with the signature color of our equipment, of course. But mostly it's about what's inside our machines and, especially, what's inside the people who build them.

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Manufacturing Technology

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Manufacturing Technology

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Robotics and Automation

Kardex and Addverb start partnership in the area of intralogistics software

Kardex | January 25, 2024

Kardex has agreed a strategic partnership with Addverb in the area of intralogistics software. Addverb is a leading global robotics and warehouse automation company based in India. The cooperation combines Kardex's expertise in the area of compact storage systems with Addverb's outstanding warehouse management technology. Addverb's highly innovative warehouse management system is based on a modern microservices architecture and fully operable in the cloud. The partnership between Kardex and Addverb enables an integrated and efficient solution package with the latest technologies in the area of warehouse management and automation. The overall package of Addverb software and Kardex storage systems offers seamlessly integrated and optimized storage processes for companies of all sizes in all industries. Addverb's warehouse management solution is based on a microservices architecture that makes it seamlessly scalable and extremely flexible. In addition to which it features a user-friendly interface that eases the implementation and administration. With its algorithms optimizing the handling of resources and materials, the Addverb system ensures optimized workflows and greater productivity. The cloud-based architecture meanwhile guarantees global access and real-time data for optimal decision-making with the highest possible security standards. The partnership between Kardex and Addverb is an important step forward in the advancement and innovation of warehouse management technologies. Both companies are convinced that their joint effort will contribute to boosting the efficiency and agility of companies worldwide. "Thanks to the partnership with Addverb, we are able to offer our clients one of the most advanced warehouse management solutions for highly efficient storage. The combination of our technologies will set new standards in the integration of logistics systems" emphasizes Dr. Volker Jungbluth, Head of Corporate Technology at Kardex. The strategic partnership enables extensive synergies between the two companies. "Together with Kardex, we will be able to offer our clients first-class solutions that will revolutionize their warehousing processes and make them more competitive", says Pieter Feenstra, CEO Addverb EMEA.

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Manufacturing Technology

Mouser Electronics and Panasonic Industrial Automation Announce Distribution Agreement for Integrated Solutions and Sensors

Mouser Electronics | December 19, 2023

Mouser Electronics, Inc., the authorized global distributor with the newest electronic components and industrial automation products, announces a distribution agreement with Panasonic Industrial Automation. With over 40 years of design experience and a strong reputation for quality, Panasonic Industrial Automation offers a range of technically advanced sensors, programmable controllers, human-machine interfaces, and servo motors and drives. According to the agreement, Mouser will offer customers Panasonic's selection of integrated solutions for a variety of automation markets, including automotive, semiconductor, packaging and bio-medical. Panasonic Industrial Automation offers an extensive portfolio of technically advanced products, such as the EX-10 ultra-slim photoelectric sensors, now available at Mouser. These sensors offer a built-in amplifier in a slim 3.5 mm package and reduce power consumption by up to 35% when compared to conventional sensors. With an IP67 waterproof rating and bend-resistant cable types, the flexible sensors are suitable for the positioning of PCBs, checking for the absence of capacitors in trays, and detecting ICs and wafer cassettes. The PM U-shaped micro photoelectric sensor, also available at Mouser, reduces the risk of sensor malfunctions due to wiring errors. The PM Sensor has three protection circuits: reverse supply polarity, reverse output polarity, and output short-circuit. Additionally, the sensor features a beam emitting and receiving distance of 6 mm and beam marks for easy adjustment. The Panasonic Industrial Automation FP0R programmable controller is a pocket-sized device providing large data memory and program capacity in a small package. The FP0R programmable controller is ideal for small switching cabinets and other limited spaces, offering ultra-high-speed processing of 80 ns/step. The Panasonic Industrial Automation FD reflective-type fiber optic sensor boasts tough, high-quality fiber, reducing the risk of breaking and bending during installation. Product types include threaded, square head, cylindrical, sleeve, flat, small spot, oil resistant and more. Panasonic Industrial Automation FD reflective-type fiber optic sensors can be bent with precision and used on moving parts. As a global authorized distributor, Mouser offers the world's widest selection of the newest semiconductors and electronic components — in stock and ready to ship™. Mouser's customers can expect 100% certified, genuine products that are fully traceable from each of its manufacturer partners. To help speed customers' designs, Mouser's website hosts an extensive library of technical resources, including a Technical Resource Center, along with product data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, application notes, technical design information, engineering tools and other helpful information. Engineers can stay abreast of today's exciting product, technology and application news through Mouser's complimentary e-newsletter. Mouser's email news and reference subscriptions are customizable to the unique and changing project needs of customers and subscribers. No other distributor gives engineers this much customization and control over the information they receive. About Mouser Electronics Mouser Electronics, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an authorized semiconductor and electronic component distributor focused on New Product Introductions from its leading manufacturer partners. Serving the global electronic design engineer and buyer community, the global distributor's website, mouser.com, is available in multiple languages and currencies and features more than 6.8 million products from over 1,200 manufacturer brands. Mouser offers 27 support locations worldwide to provide best-in-class customer service in local language, currency and time zone. The distributor ships to over 650,000 customers in 223 countries/territories from its 1 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art distribution facilities in the Dallas, Texas, metro area. About Panasonic Industrial Automation Panasonic Industrial Automation provides a broad portfolio of products and over 40 years of design expertise, offering integrated solutions that fit into various automation markets, including automotive, semiconductor, packaging, and bio-medical. This company features a strong reputation for quality, an established organization of highly experienced professionals, and technically advanced products.

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Manufacturing Technology

Kimberly-Clark Professional™ Improves Protection for Lab Workers with New Kimtech™ Polaris™ Nitrile Exam Gloves

Kimberly-Clark Professional | January 16, 2024

Kimberly-Clark Professional™ announced the availability of new Kimtech™ Polaris™ Nitrile Exam Gloves for use in laboratory settings that afford users the highest level of protection, durability and comfort from a glove in the Kimtech portfolio. Featuring a new dark magenta color unique to Kimberly-Clark Professional and a proprietary high-quality nitrile formulation, Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves have one of the lowest acceptable quality levels (AQL) for pinholes at 0.65, when compared to leading competitors. The average tensile strength is 31 megapascal (MPa) after aging, more than double the strength of the industry standard. The gloves also have been tested against some of the harshest chemicals used in labs and industrial work environments,1 meeting and exceeding the industry standards for exam gloves. "Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves were created with the end-user in mind and represent a new chapter in innovation for Kimberly-Clark Professional," said Anuj Sinha, General Manager, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Partnership Products, Kimberly-Clark Professional North America. "Our goal was to elevate the glove – making it more durable than our other gloves without sacrificing comfort." Certified by U.S. Ergonomics, Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves provide measurable ergonomic benefits to the user by improving comfort and fit and minimizing the risk factors that may cause injuries. The gloves are specifically designed to protect professionals in laboratory settings, and they are also suitable for industrial work environments, pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical device manufacturing and biotechnology. "These exam gloves are typically worn for long periods, so comfort was top of mind when designing Polaris," said Sinha. "Beyond the fit of the glove, we gave it breathability and thermal comfort resulting in a glove 80% of daily glove users found favorable versus their current glove, according to a recent study.2" In addition to delivering greater comfort and superior barrier protection, Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves will also help in advancing customers' sustainability goals, as it is recyclable through The RightCycle™ Program by Kimberly-Clark Professional. Through The RightCycle Program, eligible non-hazardous Kimberly-Clark Professional PPE waste, such as Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves, are collected at the end user's facility and taken to a recycling partner where they are turned into plastic pellets used to make durable consumer goods. Kimtech Polaris Nitrile Exam Gloves do not contain silicone,3 are food contact safe4 and meet United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) <800> guidelines.5 The gloves are available for purchase as of Jan. 2, 2024, and are being stocked by a large number of scientific and industrial distributors. About Kimberly-Clark Professional™ Kimberly-Clark Professional™ partners with businesses to create Exceptional Workplaces, helping to make them healthier, safer and more productive. Key brands in this segment include Kleenex, Scott, WypAll, KleenGuard and Kimtech. To see how Kimberly-Clark Professional is helping people around the world to work better About Kimberly-Clark Kimberly-Clark and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Fueled by ingenuity, creativity, and an understanding of people's most essential needs, we create products that help individuals experience more of what is important to them. Our portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Neve, Plenitud, Sweety, Softex, Viva and WypAll, hold No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in approximately 80 countries. We use sustainable practices that support a healthy planet, build strong communities, and ensure our business thrives for decades to come. We are proud to be recognized as one of the world's most ethical companies by Ethisphere for the fifth year in a row.

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Robotics and Automation

Kardex and Addverb start partnership in the area of intralogistics software

Kardex | January 25, 2024

Kardex has agreed a strategic partnership with Addverb in the area of intralogistics software. Addverb is a leading global robotics and warehouse automation company based in India. The cooperation combines Kardex's expertise in the area of compact storage systems with Addverb's outstanding warehouse management technology. Addverb's highly innovative warehouse management system is based on a modern microservices architecture and fully operable in the cloud. The partnership between Kardex and Addverb enables an integrated and efficient solution package with the latest technologies in the area of warehouse management and automation. The overall package of Addverb software and Kardex storage systems offers seamlessly integrated and optimized storage processes for companies of all sizes in all industries. Addverb's warehouse management solution is based on a microservices architecture that makes it seamlessly scalable and extremely flexible. In addition to which it features a user-friendly interface that eases the implementation and administration. With its algorithms optimizing the handling of resources and materials, the Addverb system ensures optimized workflows and greater productivity. The cloud-based architecture meanwhile guarantees global access and real-time data for optimal decision-making with the highest possible security standards. The partnership between Kardex and Addverb is an important step forward in the advancement and innovation of warehouse management technologies. Both companies are convinced that their joint effort will contribute to boosting the efficiency and agility of companies worldwide. "Thanks to the partnership with Addverb, we are able to offer our clients one of the most advanced warehouse management solutions for highly efficient storage. The combination of our technologies will set new standards in the integration of logistics systems" emphasizes Dr. Volker Jungbluth, Head of Corporate Technology at Kardex. The strategic partnership enables extensive synergies between the two companies. "Together with Kardex, we will be able to offer our clients first-class solutions that will revolutionize their warehousing processes and make them more competitive", says Pieter Feenstra, CEO Addverb EMEA.

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