Keppel Offshore & Marine receives Lloyd's Register certification to 3D print offshore grade steel parts

Keppel Offshore & Marine has received Lloyd’s Register LR Certification to additively manufacture offshore grade steel with a 3D printing technology from Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology SIMTech. The certification was granted after assessing Keppel O&M’s production processes, from design to post-processing and testing. Partnering with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore NTU Singapore and SIMTech’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research A*STAR, the company will now begin to 3D print high-value steel parts for the marine industry with the latter’s Laser Aided Additive Manufacturing LAAM process. Keppel O&M has been working with NTU Singapore and SIMTech for nearly four years to refine the additive manufacturing of steel components. NTU researchers have carried out rigorous testing on over 50 specimens of 3D printed offshore grade steel, assessing their material yield, tensile, elongation, fatigue and toughness properties against ASTM requirements.

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Robotics and Automation

Innovation Pioneer RobotLAB Celebrates Banner Year Fueled by Franchising and Key Partnerships

RobotLAB | January 24, 2024

RobotLAB, the premier robotics integrator that has delivered impactful business innovations and solutions for more than 15 years, is proud to report a remarkable and record-setting 2023, driven by prominent strategic partnerships, increasing demand strength and the launch of a groundbreaking robotics integration franchise program. With investments in robotics and automation expected to grow 7% annually in the next two years, RobotLAB’s remarkable 2023 underscores the fast-paced evolution of the robotics industry. As more companies nationwide seek accessible, easy-to-integrate robotics solutions, RobotLAB envisions a clear and wide path for continued success in 2024 and beyond. “I am deeply appreciative to work alongside a talented and dedicated team who made 2023 our strongest year to date, and we’re motivated by portfolio growth, new franchisees and notable partnerships to reach even more milestones in 2024,” said RobotLAB Founder and CEO, Elad Inbar. “Last year was characterized by intentional, bold steps – like launching the world’s first robotics integration franchise program - not only to enable corporate growth, but to fuel the growth of the entire robotics industry.” In 2023, RobotLAB proudly debuted a first-of-its-kind robotics integration franchise model, which established the nationwide infrastructure required to meet the rapidly growing marketplace demand for robotics solutions in key economic sectors, including delivery, cleaning, education and customer service. In the six months following the launch of the program, RobotLAB awarded 26 territories to five franchise groups in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh, N.C., Atlantic City, N.J., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with agreements for an additional 23 territories near completion. The innovative program was an immediate magnet for experienced franchisees wanting to diversify their portfolios, as well as entrepreneurs looking to enter the franchising world via the only future-proof, robot franchise available. With franchised offices now open in key markets across the country, and more in the pipeline, RobotLAB is building a reliable, customer-driven network of robotics professionals who can provide sales, tailored programming, onsite integration, and repairs to local communities and regional economies – ensuring more companies can access, understand and realize robotics solutions that will dramatically improve their business. RobotLAB’s successful 2023 was also marked by landmark partnerships with leaders in the public and private sectors. RobotLAB inked an agreement with the American Samoa Department of Education to provide more than 150 technology carts to the nation’s public schools. Each cart included humanoid robots, virtual reality headsets, laptops, tablets and lesson plans to expose students to age-appropriate technology and encourage a mastery of computer science, artificial intelligence, automation, STEM and robotics. On the commercial side, RobotLAB was tapped by B2B technology leader LG Business Solutions USA to expand the integration of its state-of-the-art hospitality robots, LG CLOi ServeBot and LG CLOi GuideBot, in restaurants, hotels and similar venues throughout the United States. The innovative robotics integrator was also named Bear Robotics’ preferred U.S. dealer partner for its deep knowledge of the restaurant and hospitality sectors. Finally, RobotLAB renewed its master distributor agreement with United Robotics Group (URG), ensuring the NAO and Pepper robots are equipped with top-tier software and curricula, and sold, integrated, serviced and repaired via RobotLAB’s best-in-class processes, as they have been since 2009. Numerous 2023 industry accolades further underscored RobotLAB’s standing as the market leader for robotic solutions and reinforce its reputation as a go-to robotics partner. Last year, the company collected several prominent honors, including LATF Daytime Beauty: Innovator of the Year, Franchise Journal: Top Brands of 2023, QSR Magazine: Digital Disruptor, ICX Elevate: Customer Experience Excellence Award and D CEO & Dallas Innovates: Innovation Award Finalist. RobotLAB is well-positioned to continue its impressive momentum in 2024 and beyond, thanks to significant portfolio expansion, a bevy of high-profile strategic partnerships and an already successful and attractive franchising opportunity introduced in 2023. About RobotLAB Since 2007, RobotLAB has guided businesses to dramatic bottom-line increases by helping them harness and leverage the immense power of automation. Catering to an array of economically critical industries that span education, finance, healthcare, delivery and hospitality, RobotLAB provides robotic business solutions that improve ROI and enhance the user experience. With a multitude of in-house teams and department specialists, the company remains focused on a seamless integration process that begins with an in-depth assessment of client needs. Sales and delivery experts ensure proper product immersion while implementation and installation professionals ensure peak performance. In a world replete with business uncertainties, RobotLAB ensures operational consistency through technology. In 2023, RobotLAB launched the first robotics integration franchise program to best serve growing demand for robotics across the U.S. in nearly all business sectors.

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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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Lean Manufacturing

Allient Announces Acquisition of SNC Manufacturing

Allient Inc. | January 15, 2024

Allient Inc. a global designer and manufacturer of precision and specialty Motion, Controls and Power products and solutions for targeted industries and applications, today announced the acquisition of SNC Manufacturing Co., Inc. (“SNC”), a premier designer and global manufacturer of electrical transformers serving blue-chip customers in defense, industrial automation, alternative power generation and energy, including electric utilities and renewable energy. SNC’s offerings are complementary to Allient’s current power quality capabilities while also providing needed incremental, low-cost manufacturing capacity. SNC will become a Technology Unit of Allient within the Allied Power Technology Pillar and will report to Ashish Bendre, Corporate VP and Group President. Richard S. Warzala, Chairman, President and CEO of Allient, commented, “SNC is a solid addition to our Allied Power pillar. In addition to extending our capabilities in the clean power industry, SNC will provide us broader and deeper reach into industrial automation, defense, medical and in the energy and alternative energy markets. The business will also provide expanded opportunities to leverage sales channels and, additionally, we will gain much-needed manufacturing capacity and expertise to further grow our power quality business. And lastly, we are confident that through the utilization of Allient Systematic Tools we are in a good position to leverage our expertise to drive productivity and margin improvements over time. “We are honored that John Vette III, selected Allient to carry the legacy of SNC forward after owning and leading the Company for 50+ years. John has built a strong leadership team and Jim Koepke the current President and COO of SNC will continue to lead SNC under Allient as the VP and General Manager of the Technology Unit. Jim will report directly to Ashish Bendre. We are confident that under the leadership of Ashish and Jim, the opportunities for Allied Power with this new addition will be greatly accelerated. We welcome the leadership team and the entire SNC workforce to the Allient family and we look forward to continued growth and success in the future.” Founded in 1946, SNC is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with approximately 440 employees in three locations. With approximately $40 million in revenue for the trailing twelve months, the business has other manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China. SNC’s leadership team will be staying with the business. About Allient Inc. Allient is a global engineering and manufacturing enterprise that develops solutions to drive the future of market-moving industries, including medical, life sciences, aerospace and defense, industrial automation, robotics, semi-conductor, transportation, agriculture, construction and facility infrastructure. A family of globally responsible companies, Allient takes a One-Team approach to “Connect What Matters” and provides the most robust, reliable, and high-value products and systems by utilizing its core Motion, Controls, and Power technologies and platforms.

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Robotics and Automation

Formic Releases New Software That Makes Everyone A Robotic Automation Expert

Formic | January 23, 2024

Formic Technologies, a provider of Robotics-as-a-Service automation for US manufacturers, announced the release of a suite of software tools to accelerate and simplify the deployment of robotic automation systems for businesses with no internal expertise, while also empowering their existing workforce to thrive and grow with the new technology. The Formic software is based on data and experience gathered from hundreds of thousands of hours of real production time across the Formic robot fleet - from state-of the-art Fortune 500 production facilities to small 30 person local manufacturing plants. Formic’s software enables operations teams and delivers results for every business size. The Formic Core operating system makes working with robotic automation solutions as easy as using your smartphone, Apple CarPlay, or Netflix. The intuitive multilanguage touchscreen UI allows all existing employees to operate Formic robots and program the equipment to meet production needs - all without any advanced training. At the same time, the software transforms the robot into a “smart system” capable of automatically adjusting to new obstacles in the vicinity of the robot, connecting to any new peripherals, and monitoring all sensor data, production rates, uptime, cycle times and more. “As the labor shortage continues to impact US manufacturing to the tune of more than one million jobs going unfilled in 2023, business leaders need to figure out how to get more out of what they have,” said Formic CEO, Saman Farid. “Formic Core makes it simple for business leaders to adopt automation by leveraging the existing capabilities of their workforce to streamline production while improving safety, quality, and throughput - all without any required capital expense.” All of the process information captured by Formic Core feeds into the powerful Formic Colony 2.0 performance dashboard. This command center software monitors total system performance across a wide range of deployments and uses AI to analyze the data coming from all robots, enabling predictive analysis of anomalies and preventative operations to minimize downtime and even prevent it. This data is accessible to facility owners and operators in real-time through the Formic App available for download on the Apple App and Google Play stores. Formic's technicians can use this data and the remote system access provided by the new software to resolve issues from a distance, enabling a swift return to production should any stoppages occur. While the Formic Colony toolkit is primarily leveraged by the Formic operations team to service customer deployments, it is also available for larger businesses to use internally with more advanced teams responsible for automation systems in multiple locations. The Formic FAST software suite enables the Solutions Engineering team to provide robotic system specification, quoting, and augmented reality (AR) demonstrations faster than ever before, reducing design and deployment times from months to weeks. This accelerated service delivers a best-in-class customer experience by expediting the path to greater productivity on the production floor. “Advanced automation has historically been elusive for all but the largest manufacturers,” said Shahin Farshchi, General Partner at Lux Capital. “Formic is changing that. By leveraging advanced AI and proprietary algorithms, Formic has automated the labor-intensive and expensive process of automating a work cell, and makes automating as easy as hiring workers for all logistics and manufacturing companies - large and small alike.” With the addition of these new software products, Formic now boasts a full complement of $0 CapEx robotic automation solutions, powerful workforce enabling software, a complete system monitoring platform, and solution identification, augmented reality, and simulation software to deliver US manufacturing businesses scale and growth. Formic is building a robotic workforce that can be used in every American manufacturing facility, with the aim to bring prosperity and abundance by making everyday items easy to produce and deliver. About Formic Founded in 2020, Formic makes robotics and automation accessible for all US manufacturing businesses. The Chicago-based “Robotics-as-a-Service” company delivers robotic automation for a low hourly rate, including 24/7 monitoring, 100% maintenance coverage, and guaranteed performance without the need for large, risky capital investments. Driving continuous improvement in safety, quality, and throughput is now possible for every business. With 7x growth in production hours YoY, Formic is currently entertaining Series B funding.

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