NCS Solutions Transform Manufacturing Process, Receives Provisional Patent for Lean Manufacturing

NCS Solutions | September 04, 2020

NCS Solutions Inc., serving faith-based organizations for more than 100 years through its manufacturing of offering envelopes set out to transform their process and business by moving away from Batch Manufacturing to Lean Manufacturing. The new process is so innovative and unique that today, NCS has filed a provisional patent for its Lean Manufacturing Process.

The century-old manufacturer, NCS, requires a manufacturing process that can efficiently manage large amounts of variable data from its church clients including names, addresses, unique identifiers, and barcodes at very high speeds.

"Working with Xerox Corporation, NCS developed a printing process for envelopes that was truly something that had never been done before," said Doug Wright, President and CEO of NCS.  "Many technical challenges with data and functionality had to be overcome.  The result was something so innovative, that we obtained a provisional patent for the new process."

Spotlight

Make no mistake, Manufacturing 4.0 technologies have played a vital role in manufacturers’ ability to remain agile amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers responding to Hitachi Vantara’s Industry Insights: Manufacturing Operations During the COVID-19 Crisis survey indicated that digitalization was already a part of their long-term strategy prior to the outbreak and it is exactly those implementations that have helped them maximize output and maintain quality during the COVID-19 crisis.


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INNOVATION

SIGA launches in Luxembourg to support the OT cybersecurity of critical infrastructure and manufacturing hubs in Europe

SIGA | January 31, 2022

SIGA announces its European HQ in Luxembourg to rapidly scale SIGA's services for the cyber defence of national infrastructure and manufacturing facilities across Europe. SIGA will leverage its new Luxembourg office to expand its customer base and distribution networks with industrial automation and OT cybersecurity partners. SIGA joined the House of DeepTech Roundtable with the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg and Chief Information Security leaders in Europe last week to trade notes on best practices and lessons learned internationally. "Moving beyond the network security layer to level zero is critical to the effective cyber risk governance of our manufacturing hubs and critical infrastructure. We welcome SIGA into Luxembourg and to accelerate the company's impact across the European Union." -Francois Thill, Ministry of Economy, Director of Cybersecurity and Digital The global cybersecurity market, valued at USD 183.34 billion in 2020, has a CAGR of 11.6% from 2021-to 2030. Analysts predict it to reach USD 539.78 billion by 2030 (Research and Markets, Oct 6, 2021). Luxembourg was a natural choice for SIGA's European headquarters, as it was recently voted second most inclusive economy globally and second in the world for market access and infrastructure. The accelerating pace of cyber attacks on infrastructure poses greater public safety and economic risks to industry and the public and forces CISOs to anticipate a third-party risk. Accidents can be as catastrophic as attacks, as Chernobyl demonstrated so well. The high effectiveness of level zero detection of incipient attacks and accidents adds unique value to the cyber risk governance stack. As for every system connected to the Internet, CISOs must adequately secure their industrial control systems. Yet industrial physical processes are often overlooked in this mission because they are tied to legacy mission-critical systems and depend heavily on low-level sensor/actuator infrastructure. SIGA's mission in Europe is to expand its footprint to secure the integrity of critical OT processes by delivering AI-enhanced monitoring and in-depth operational situational awareness. SIGA's unique machine-learning-based solution is designed to monitor the most reliable level of process data within any operational environment, the physical layer, and detect anomalies that indicate cyberattacks or operational faults. Through SIGA's Incipient Failure Detection solution, SigaGuard, the company mission is to secure the integrity of critical OT physical processes by delivering AI-enhanced monitoring and uncovering in-depth operational perception for secure, safe, productive & continuous operation. SIGA's technology incorporates a comprehensive process anomaly detection system that monitors critical assets using LEVEL 0 ICS electrical signals-based predictive analysis and artificial intelligence. It is an autonomous and intelligent "out-of-band" solution and cannot be hacked or manipulated. "SIGA selected Luxembourg as our strategic gateway to the European Union. With the support of our partners at the House of DeepTech and the Ministry, we can accelerate our R&D development, investments, and commercial scale." - Amir Samilioff, CEO of SIGA OT Solutions. SIGA's investors include PureTerra Ventures, a Dutch fund that specialises in water and infrastructure investments, AWZ Ventures, SIBF, Moore Strategic Ventures, and a German electrical and control systems manufacturer, Phoenix Contact. In collaboration with its global industrial automation partners, SIGA will build on its global footprint of energy, oil and gas, water utilities, data centres, and heavy industrial and manufacturing clients. About SIGA OT Solutions SIGA OT Solutions is an Israeli OT Cybersecurity company providing critical infrastructure and industrial assets cybersecurity protection services. SIGA's technology incorporates a comprehensive process anomaly detection system that monitors critical assets using LEVEL 0 ICS electrical signals-based AI. https://www.sigasec.com

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Desktop Metal Welcomes X-Series Line of Additive Manufacturing Systems for Metal and Ceramics into Growing Portfolio

Desktop Metal | March 14, 2022

Desktop Metal, a global leader in additive manufacturing technologies for mass production, today announced the launch of the X-Series line of binder jet 3D printing systems for metal and ceramic powders in a wide range of particle sizes. The newly branded Desktop Metal line of printers is derived from the acquisition of ExOne last fall and will soon be offered with Desktop Metal’s build preparation and award-winning sintering simulation software applications. Additionally, the X-Series will now be supported by Desktop Metal’s experienced global support team. The X-Series line offers a differentiated approach to binder jetting enabled by patented Triple ACT — an advanced compaction technology for dispensing, spreading and compacting powders during the binder jet printing process. This flexible, open material platform architecture is capable of binding together a wide range of powders with a D50 of 3 to 100 microns. Desktop Metal now offers three X-Series models: InnoventX™, an affordable, entry-level binder jet system perfect for academic, R&D, and low-volume production applications; X25Pro™, an accessible and productive mid-sized solution already being used for volume production globally, featuring a build box of 400 x 250 x 250 mm (15.75 x 9.84 x 9.84 in); and X160Pro™, the world’s largest metal binder jet system, featuring a build box of 800 x 500 x 400 mm (31.5 x 19.7 x 15.8 in). “Desktop Metal’s X-Series printers give customers more choices than ever when it comes to binder jet additive manufacturing, Our team is moving aggressively to drive additive manufacturing into mass production through a focused strategy of production-capable printers, high-performance materials, and key applications. Binder jetting is the key technology that enables all the benefits additive manufacturing has to offer at scale, from reduced waste to more efficient, lower-risk supply chains.” Ric Fulop, Desktop Metal Co-founder and CEO Binder jetting is widely regarded as the fastest method of metal 3D printing for high-volume output. First patented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology by Ely Sachs, a professor of mechanical engineering and co-founder of Desktop Metal, the process prints digital part designs by using industrial inkjet printheads to rapidly deposit binder into a bed of metal, sand, ceramic, or wood particles, creating batches of solid parts, one thin layer at a time. X-Series printers repeatably deliver tight dimensional tolerances and densities of 97-99% or greater — in line with or surpassing metal injection molding or gravity castings. Surface roughness values as low as 4 µm (Ra) can be achieved directly out of the furnace. About Desktop Metal Desktop Metal, Inc., based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is accelerating the transformation of manufacturing with an expansive portfolio of 3D printing solutions, from rapid prototyping to mass production. Founded in 2015 by leaders in advanced manufacturing, metallurgy, and robotics, the company is addressing the unmet challenges of speed, cost, and quality to make additive manufacturing an essential tool for engineers and manufacturers around the world. Desktop Metal was selected as one of the world’s 30 most promising Technology Pioneers by the World Economic Forum, named to MIT Technology Review’s list of 50 Smartest Companies, and the 2021 winner of Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award in materials and Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech Award for sustainability.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Picket Equipment Brings $2 Million in Manufacturing Back to the US via SRM-Contract Manufacturing

SRM-Contract Manufacturing | March 26, 2022

Snake River Manufacturing (SRM)-Contract Manufacturing (CM) signed a letter of agreement with Pickett Equipment, LLC to be a contract manufacturer for Pickett Equipment edible bean harvesters. Pickett will bring $2,000,000 of offshore equipment manufacturing back to the United States through this partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, SRM-CM will custom manufacture forty bean harvesters. SRM-CM will produce these units between March and June 2022. "Our extensive manufacturing experience through our subsidiaries, SRM-Double L and SRM-Kodiak, makes us the perfect partner for Pickett Equipment. We are pleased to be a conduit that brings manufacturing back to the United States, and our team in Idaho is already hard at work building-out the Pickett bean harvesters." Grant Flaharty, Snake River Manufacturing CEO Jonathan Price, Pickett Equipment partner added, "Farmers know and trust that when the Pickett name goes on our equipment, that their equipment will be dependable and durable. SRM-CM is a U.S. equipment manufacturer that shares these values, and we are certain that our equipment will be the best on the market. Now that we have found a U.S. manufacturing partner, we are pleased to be creating great jobs and superior equipment in the U.S." About SRM-Contract Manufacturing Snake River Manufacturing and SRM-Contract Manufacturing employ over 125 team members in Southern Idaho and across the US. Snake River Manufacturing develops, manufactures, and sells equipment ranging from potato planting and harvesting/storage to commercial snow blowers. SRM-CM is a contract manufacturer designed to deploy a complete suite of expertise to bring large equipment concepts from drawing board to completion. Snake River Manufacturing is innovating to make the world more productive ™ in every category we represent. About Picket Equipment Pickett Equipment designs and sells a complete line of edible bean equipment for the agricultural industry.

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ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

Amorphology Partners with AddiTec for the Additive Manufacturing of Multi-Metal Robotics Gear Components

Amorphology | May 04, 2022

Amorphology Inc, a NASA spinoff company founded from technology developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the California Institute of Technology, has partnered with Additive Technologies (AddiTec), a founding partner of Meltio, an additive manufacturing company pioneering the development of affordable multi-metal 3D printing systems. Together, Amorphology and AddiTec are developing the additive manufacturing of multi-metal gear components for robotics. Building on their previous collaboration of 3D printing large-scale strain wave gear flexsplines using directed energy deposition (DED), the partnership between Amorphology and AddiTec has now turned to the development of multi-metal, functionally-graded gear components, combining two different steels together within a single part. The three-inch diameter flexspline demonstrator is part of a zero backlash strain wave gearbox used in robotic arms and precision-motion mechanisms. The thin-walled flexspline has competing requirements of wear resistance in the teeth and a fatigue-resistant body that motivates the use of two different materials during 3D printing. The steel in the toothed region is a precipitation hardening martensitic stainless steel typically used in high-strength applications with an average hardness of 35 Rc. In contrast, the steel below the toothed region is known for high toughness with a lower average hardness. By combining the two steels strategically in a gear, it becomes possible to tailor the mechanical properties to take advantage of the benefits of each alloy. Through its exclusive licensing agreement, Amorphology is developing its intellectual property around multi-metal 3D printing, specifically functionally graded metals, which allows for the strategic transition between more than one metal during 3D printing to produce multi-functional parts that are free from cracks and unwanted phases. The core technology, developed over a decade ago at JPL, focuses on the design of multi-metal transitions to achieve predictable mechanical or physical properties in the printed part. Unlike conventional claddings or overlays, functional grading aims to achieve the best possible properties at the interface between dissimilar metals or composites in a 3D printed part, which is useful for preventing failures such as those caused by thermal mismatch or fatigue cracks. Tailoring the interface between different metals during printing can be achieved through diffusion at the interface by allowing the disparate metals to mix or by adding one or more intermediate compositions at the transition. The prototype developed in the current partnership was produced through wire-fed DED by printing the base of the gear from high-toughness steel and then sharply transitioning to the high hardness steel at the vertical location where the teeth begin, using the melt pool to diffuse the layers. The materials could have also been transitioned by mixing powders of the two materials in the powder-blown configuration of the DED printer. "Functional grading with multiple materials allows us to develop gear components for robotics that cannot be fabricated with conventional metallurgy. The ability to tailor the properties of a gear via alloy composition gives us an entirely new design freedom when developing precision mechanisms," said Dr. Glenn Garrett, Amorphology CTO. "Whether it's improving the wear resistance of gear teeth while maintaining toughness in the rest of the part or using high-value steel in combination with low-cost steel to save cost, multi-material additive manufacturing is allowing us to innovate in the way that we approach gears for robotics. We can tailor properties for machinability, cost, hardness, strength, corrosion resistance, even density. For large gears where it makes sense to use additive manufacturing to save machining costs, this could be a real advantage." "Meltio's dual-wire DED technology provides an ability to change from one material to another material automatically during the fabrication of metal components. This results in gradual change in properties and functions which can be tailored for enhanced performance," Dr. Yash Bandari, Business Development Manager at AddiTec The multi-metal flexspline demonstrator from Amorphology and Additec is designed so that the high-performance high-hardness steel resides in the gear teeth and the rest of the cup is made from highly machinable tough steel. The as-printed hardness of the gear teeth through DED was measured to be around 30 Rc while the base of the cup measured at around 7 Rc (87 Rb). A further increase of the gear teeth hardness is possible through subsequent heat treatment. Future work will focus on different combinations of steels, and the development of localized heat-treating strategies to optimize the properties of each metal in the bi-metallic gear. Amorphology is actively developing other applications for functionally graded metals in applications such as thrusters, rockets, robotics, and gears, and is seeking partners for further development and licensing. About Amorphology Headquartered in Pasadena, California, Amorphology is a NASA JPL/Caltech spinoff with exceptional lineage and intellectual property developed as part of the space program. Amorphology is a leader in applying advanced materials and manufacturing technologies toward improving gear production for robotics and other industrial applications using amorphous metals, also known as bulk metal glass (BMG), additive manufacturing, and custom metal alloys and composites. About AddiTec AddiTec is a founding partner of Meltio and is proud to serve as the master reseller of Meltio's products in North America. Its focus is building an ecosystem for Meltio's technology and driving business opportunities. AddiTec has a 6-year heritage in the design and development of multi-laser metal direct deposition technology and has completed a broad range of customer installations and benchmark work, as well as providing training and customer application support. AddiTec's customers include prominent universities, major research centers, technology centers, national laboratories, and a wide range of industrial customers in the aerospace, nuclear, automotive, mining and energy sectors.

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Spotlight

Make no mistake, Manufacturing 4.0 technologies have played a vital role in manufacturers’ ability to remain agile amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturers responding to Hitachi Vantara’s Industry Insights: Manufacturing Operations During the COVID-19 Crisis survey indicated that digitalization was already a part of their long-term strategy prior to the outbreak and it is exactly those implementations that have helped them maximize output and maintain quality during the COVID-19 crisis.

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