Metal Prototyping with 3D printing: Our best tips

MARIANNA PAPAGEORGIOU| August 24, 2018
METAL PROTOTYPING WITH 3D PRINTING: OUR BEST TIPS
3D printing is a great technology used in many industries. One specific technique that proves to be a great asset for demanding engineering projects is Metal Prototyping. According to the State of 3D printing 2018, the use of metal in the Additive Manufacturing industry is huge. And this is a well-justified fact if we take into account what metal prototyping is capable of.

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Kalas Manufacturing, Inc.

Kalas has been providing quality copper wire and cable solutions for over 50 years. Our vision is clear: We simply will be the best wire and engineered cable solution provider. To accomplish this, we offer products ranging from raw copper wire and cable to engineered terminated cable assemblies. Kalas is vertically integrated and can manage cost and quality from raw material through distribution.

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Top 5 Manufacturing Applications of Machine Vision

Article | October 20, 2021

Machine vision is becoming increasingly prevalent in manufacturing daily across industries. The machine vision manufacturing practice provides image-based automated inspection and analysis for various applications, including automatic inspection, process control, and robot guiding, often found in the manufacturing business. This breakthrough in manufacturing technology enables producers to be more innovative and productive to meet customer expectations and deliver the best products on the market. A renowned industry leader Mr. Matt Mongonce conveyed in an interview with Media7, 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. Why is Machine Vision so Critical? The machine vision manufacturing process is entirely automated, with no human intervention on the shop floor. Thus, in a manufacturing process, machine vision adds significant safety and operational benefits. Additionally, it eliminates human contamination in production operations where cleanliness is critical. For instance, the healthcare business cannot afford human contamination in some circumstances to ensure the safety of medicines. Second, the chemical business is prohibited from allowing individuals to come into touch with chemicals for the sake of worker safety. Thus, machine vision is vital in these instances, so it is critical to integrate machine vision systems into your production process. Machine Vision Application Examples To better understand how businesses are utilizing machine vision in production, we will look at five cases. Predictive Upkeep Even a few seconds of production line downtime might result in a significant financial loss in the manufacturing industry. Machine vision systems are used in industrial processes to assist manufacturers in predicting flaws or problems in the production line before the system failure. This machine vision capability enables manufacturing processes to avoid breakdowns or failures in the middle of the manufacturing process. How is FANUC America Corporation Avoiding the Production Line Downtime with ROBOGUIDE and ZDT? FANUC is a United States-based firm that is a market leader in robotics and ROBOMACHINE technology, with over 25 million units deployed worldwide. In addition, the company's professionals have created two products that are pretty popular in the manufacturing industry: ROBOGUIDE and ZDT (Zero Down Time). These two standout products assist manufacturers in developing, monitoring, and managing production line automation. As a result, producers can enhance production, improve quality, and maximize profitability while remaining competitive. Inspection of Packages To ensure the greatest possible quality of products for their target consumer groups, manufacturers must have a method in place that enables them to inspect each corner of their product. Machine vision improves the manufacturing process and inspects each product in detail using an automated procedure. This technology has been used in many industries, including healthcare, automation, and electronics. Manufacturers can detect faults, cracks, or any other defect in the product that is not visible to the naked eye using machine vision systems. The machine vision system detects these faults in the products and transmits the information to the computer, notifying the appropriate person during the manufacturing process. Assembly of Products and Components The application of machine vision to industrial processes involves component assembly to create a complete product from a collection of small components. Automation, electronics manufacturing, healthcare (medicine and medical equipment manufacturing), and others are the industries that utilize the machine vision system in their manufacturing process. Additionally, the machine vision system aids worker safety during the manufacturing process by enhancing existing safety procedures. Defect Elimination Manufacturers are constantly endeavoring to release products that are devoid of flaws or difficulties. However, manually verifying each product is no longer practicable for anybody involved in the manufacturing process, as production counts have risen dramatically in every manufacturing organization. This is where machine vision systems come into play, performing accurate quality inspections and assisting producers in delivering defect-free items to their target clients. Barcode Scanning Earlier in the PCB penalization process, where numerous identical PCBs were made on a single panel, barcodes were used to separate or identify the PCBs manually by humans. This was a time-consuming and error-prone process for the electronics manufacturing industry. This task is subsequently taken over by a machine vision system, in which each circuit is segregated and uniquely identified using a robotics machine or a machine vision system. The high-tech machine vision system "Panel Scan" is one example of a machine vision system that simplifies the PCB tracing procedure. Final Words The use of machine vision in the manufacturing business enables firms to develop more accurate and complete manufacturing processes capable of producing flawless products. Incorporating machine vision into manufacturing becomes a component of advanced manufacturing, which is projected to be the future of manufacturing in 2022. Maintain current production trends and increase your business revenue by offering the highest-quality items using a machine vision system. FAQ What is the difference between computer vision and machine vision? Traditionally, computer vision has been used to automate image processing, but machine vision is applied to real-world interfaces such as a factory line. Where does machine vision come into play? Machine vision is critical in the quality control of any product or manufacturing process. It detects flaws, cracks, or any blemishes in a physical product. Additionally, it can verify the precision and accuracy of any component or part throughout product assembly. What are the fundamental components of a machine vision system? A machine vision system's primary components are lighting, a lens, an image sensor, vision processing, and communications. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the difference between computer vision and machine vision?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Traditionally, computer vision has been used to automate image processing, but machine vision is applied to real-world interfaces such as a factory line." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Where does machine vision come into play?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Machine vision is critical in the quality control of any product or manufacturing process. It detects flaws, cracks, or any blemishes in a physical product. 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What are the Risks that Manufacturing Face in the Current Times?

Article | December 30, 2021

Risk management in manufacturing has always been a top priority for manufacturers to avoid any unfortunate incidents. As a result, it is possible to create a more secure work environment for employees by conducting risk assessments and implementing remedies. “If you don’t invest in risk management, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, it’s a risky business.” – Gary Cohn, an American Business Leader. As of 2019, the worldwide risk management market was valued at $7.39 billion, and it is expected to rise at a CAGR of 18.7% from 2020 to 2027, according to allied market research. Why is Risk Assessment Critical in Manufacturing? The manufacturing industry must have a credible risk assessment and management plan to defend itself from any breaches. Risk assessment helps firms understand the dangers they face and their implications if their systems are compromised. Hence, risk assessment is very critical in the manufacturing industry. Five Risk Assessment Principles Identify hazards/risks - Employers must examine their workers' health and safety risks. Therefore, an organization must regularly inspect its employee’s physical, mental, chemical, and biological threats. Identify who may be hurt and in what way – Identifying the personnel both full-time and part-time at-risk. Employers must also examine threats to agency and contract personnel, visitors, clients, and other visitors. Assess the risks and act accordingly - Employers must assess the likelihood of each danger causing injury. This will evaluate and lower the chance at the working space. Even with all safeguards, there is always some danger. Therefore, employers must assess if danger is still high, medium, or low risk. Get the Risks Documented - Employers with five or more employees must record the critical findings of the risk assessment in writing. In addition, register any risks identified in the risk assessment and actions to minimize or eliminate risk. This document confirms the evaluation and is used to examine working practices afterward. The risk assessment is a draft. It should be readable. It shouldn't be hidden away. The risk assessment must account for changes in working techniques, new machinery, or higher work objectives. 5 Manufacturing Risks to Consider in 2022 Accidents at Work Even if official safety policies and programs are designed, followed, and enhanced, manufacturers may endure workplace accidents and injuries. Risk assessment for workplace accidents assists in mitigating the negative impact on both employees and the organization. Environmental Mishaps Manufacturers have distinct issues regarding fuel handling and hazardous waste disposal in facilities. Sudden leaks or spills may be extremely costly to clean up and result in fines from state and federal agencies. Risk assessments for such plant accidents assist businesses in mitigating financial losses. Equipment Breakdowns Essential machinery throughout the production process might fail at any time, incurring significant repair or replacement costs. Therefore, it's critical to recognize that business property insurance may not cover mechanical issues. Risk assessment and prepayment solutions protect against equipment failures without interfering with typical company operations. Supply Chain Disruption Dependence on your supply chain may result in unintended consequences that are beyond your control. For example, if you experience downtime on the manufacturing line due to a supplier's failure to supply materials or parts, you risk losing revenue and profitability. If a disturbance to your supply chain poses a hazard, risk management can assist you in managing it more effectively by quickly identifying the risk and providing a suitable response. Operation Temporarily Suspended Depending on the severity of the weather event, a factory might be severely damaged or perhaps utterly wrecked. While major repairs or rebuilding are being undertaken, recouping lost income might be vital to the business's future profitability. Risk assessment in this area enables your organization to budget for overhead expenditures such as rent, payroll, and tax responsibilities during the period of suspension of operations. Final Words Risk management is critical in manufacturing because it enables manufacturers to comprehend and anticipate scenarios and create a well-planned response that avoids unnecessary overhead costs or delays in delivering the production cycle's final result. Manufacturing risks are undoubtedly not limited to the risks listed above and may vary according to the nature of the business and regional environmental conditions. Therefore, create a well-defined strategy to overcome threats in your business and be productive at all times. FAQ How are manufacturing business risks classified? In most cases, the business risk may be categorized into four types: strategic risk, regulatory compliance risks, operational compliance risks, and reputational risks. Why should a manufacturer conduct a risk assessment? Every manufacturing employment has risks for injury or illness. But risk evaluations can significantly minimize workplace injuries and illnesses. In addition, they assist companies in discovering strategies to reduce health and safety risks and enhance knowledge about dangers.

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Filmmaking is Manufacturing

Article | July 27, 2021

Filmmaking is manufacturing. To date, no one has made the direct correlation between the two. As many entertainment professionals know, the budget gap between indie productions and big studio blockbusters continues to grow. The day of mid-budget, independent (indie) movies is disappearing as fast as the middle class in the American economy. According to newbiefilmschool, the average budget is barely at $2 million for these pictures and producers have been forced to adapt by discovering creative ways to decrease costs, while maintaining a high production values for a sophisticated audience with high expectations. Though there are many ways to cut costs, any business professional will agree to go with the options that bring down the budget the most. Just as dog is man’s best friend, here are three reasons why manufacturers have become the same for a filmmaker by saving money and time for every type of production. Film equipment manufacturers No long may a film lack quality in picture, sound, and bad acting. Once acceptable, these older movies were produced with the technology and film equipment constraints and from limited funding. Film equipment manufacturers from cameras, sound equipment, and computers cost less to achieve high production values. Film equipment companies face increasing competition, which has driven down the purchase price. Better equipment with significant technology improvements has reframed the indie film industry with high-level sound and image capture quality. The transition of cameras from film to digital was a notable shift for manufacturers. Many industry-insiders believe that digital is free, and film is expensive, but there is more the manufacturing construct. Digital cameras, when compared to film cameras in the same market price bracket, are much more expensive than analog counterparts. It is true that film costs money and is single-use. Digital memory cards are relatively expensive and can be reused. Film also needs to be developed and there is a cost associated with that production cost. There are other ways in which digital modalities save filmmakers. Automation Across all industries, efficiency always wins. Innovative manufacturers have developed machines to make numerous jobs easier for everyone. Machines have been assisting filmmakers since the invention of the camera. AI (artificial intelligence) is poised to change film even more and continues to augment human creativity. Storytellers work with computers during every process of creating a motion picture which has sped up the time it takes to complete each-step in film making. Automating pre-production processes, such as creating a budget and writing a script, is analogous to an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software for a traditional manufacturing operation. The Movie Magic budgeting software by Entertainment Partners has made creating a budget more efficient and accurate. Screenwriter programs vary from the downloadable Final Draft, and the purely cloud based, Celtx, are the reasons automated scriptwriting is the norm. These programs also automatically format writing to industry standards, facilitating the creative process. Automation in post-production is equally advanced through editing software for video, sound, effects, and colors all the way to distribution and promotional content. Editing footage from digital rather than film saves time and money. Industry favorites include Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple’s exclusive Final Cut Pro and are used on almost all well-known movies and TV shows. The impacts of COVID-19 on entertainment manufacturers Without question, the pandemic has affected every industry by creating an unanticipated production standstill. Entertainment manufacturers have sacrificed countless productions, lost billions of dollars, and major talent agencies have furloughed hundreds of employees. This negative impact is not just difficult for indie filmmakers, big studios are suffering just as much with production delays and cancellations still happening as this article goes to press. Any way back to the set is better than no set at all. A new necessity for productions to safely reopen includes epidemiologists and other public health specialists; they provide detailed strategies dealing with large crews who work in cramped spaces, makeup artists who get face-to-face with actors who kiss, hug, and fight on set. These COVID-19 consultants rely on the manufacturing industry for PPE supplies and carry out regular PCR tests. Face coverings and hand sanitizing stations have also become the norm, just like most other manufacturing operations.

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How Collaborative Robots Are Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

Article | December 10, 2021

A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products. 1.1 A New Breed of Bot Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot. Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots. Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another. This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces. 1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products. They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility: • Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years. • Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being. • Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space. • Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects. • Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation. 1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement. The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes: • Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping. • Welding, brazing, and soldering. • Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly. • Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing. • Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times. • Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances. • Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing. • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management. 1.4 No-Code Programming While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit. Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused. At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour. It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control. An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force. These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps. Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions. It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements. 3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming. This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries. Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices. Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next. 1.5 A Human World Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation. Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs. For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example: • Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components. • Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power. • Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch. • While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions. 1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction. Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs. Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision. Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic. Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions. Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening. Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense. Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive. A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers. Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees. For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.

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Spotlight

Kalas Manufacturing, Inc.

Kalas has been providing quality copper wire and cable solutions for over 50 years. Our vision is clear: We simply will be the best wire and engineered cable solution provider. To accomplish this, we offer products ranging from raw copper wire and cable to engineered terminated cable assemblies. Kalas is vertically integrated and can manage cost and quality from raw material through distribution.

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