Our quantifiable future: the industry’s hunger for data (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 40)

Data acquisition processing is changing the world and the impact will be felt on larger scales than industrial contexts alone. IoT and IIoT technologies are gathering data points on many human and machine related activities, quantifying the world more precisely and pervasively than ever before. At this point in time, there are a few questions that can help us define the future of these processes: what are the next steps forward in this hunger for data? Do we have a functioning framework from which to extrapolate insights in a secure fashion? What will happen when technology allows us to make *anything* quantifiable? New partnerships are making data acquisition ubiquitous in the AM industry. This data will be used in quality assessments to improve part production and pipeline efficiency. Security is still paramount and new businesses and research projects are ready to prove that we have the technology to make safe and efficient data processing a reality. Businesses need to protect themselves against cyberattacks now more than ever. GPS technology is not anymore up to the standards required in the industry and everyday applications. Company Humantics is promising a microlocation-based future, which applied to AI and machine learning algorithms can enable new, high-granularity controls and services.

Oak Ridge Partners With Senvol For 3D Printing Data Collection Project

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry views the 3D printed proof-of-concept hull for the Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator (OMTD). (Photo courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Department of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), co-developer of the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) process and one of America’s leading technological research institutes, has signed a two-year research agreement with the Senvol additive manufacturing database. In the collaboration, ORNL will use Senvol’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to evaluate the best processes for data collection and apply it to quality assessment of 3D printer feedstock materials.

Read more here.

Three-Layer Technique Helps Secure Additive Manufacturing

[…] AM could become a target for malicious attacks – as well as for unscrupulous operators who may cut corners. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Rutgers University have developed a three-layer system to verify that components produced using AM have not been compromised. Their system uses acoustic and other physical techniques to confirm that the printer is operating as expected, and nondestructive inspection techniques to verify the correct location of tiny gold nanorods buried in the parts. The validation technique is independent of printer firmware and software in the controlling computer.

Read more about the system at RDMag.

Introducing Humatics: Revolutionizing How People and Machines Locate, Navigate and Collaborate

Imagine a tool that will only drill a hole at the exact right spot, a large format robotic 3D printer with unprecedented precision, a drone that hovers precisely indoors, and augmented reality glasses that project ultra-precise images onto the world you see. Now imagine AI and machine learning applied to every conductor, every factory worker, every robotic collaboration: technology placing our work within a broad human context. That’s where Humatics is going.

Take a look at Humantics at their website.

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3D printing & the environment: promises and limitations of AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 39)

There are a lot of manufacturing dynamics which 3D printing is upending. It goes beyond design freedom, AM technologies allow us to be a lot more conscious of our footprint on the environment. We are still testing new grounds and so far AM is revealing to be a less wasteful, smarter approach to manufacturing. Not only can we build structures that utilize the barest minimum in terms of material usage, entirely new materials and techniques allow us to tackle the problems of biodegradability and energy consumption. Nonetheless, AM still has a way to go before it can get to the level of manufacturing performance of traditional methods. Laser sintering still requires a great deal of electricity to fuse metal particles, most processes are imprecise by traditional standards and most groundbreaking AM applications are still very much R&D. This point reinforces the fact that AM should cover its role in a broader hybrid manufacturing system, in which the optimal outcome in terms of manufacturing footprint and item accuracy can be achieved. There is no holy grail solution in manufacturing, just an ever expanding toolset to give you the right means to get optimal ends.

3D Printhuset Lays Foundations For 3D Printed Office-Hotel in Copenhagen

A rendering of the finished BOD. Image via: 3D Printhuset.

Building on Demand (BOD), the latest venture of Danish firm 3D Printhuset, marks a major breakthrough for additive manufacturing in construction. The concrete office-hotel structure, occupying just under 50m of floor-space, is due to be 3D printed in Nordhaven, Copenhagen’s docklands area, and will be Western Europe’s first inhabitable 3D printed buildingJakob Jørgensen, Technical Manager at 3D Printhuset, explained in a press release that 3D printing the building over traditional construction meant that “complex forms can be entered at no additional cost”, while Michael Holm, the company’s development manager, emphasized the use of up-cycling and waste reduction in building materials.

Read the full article here.

3D Printed Biomaterials Degrade on Demand

Researchers 3D-printed intricate temporary microstructures that can be degraded on demand using a biocompatible chemical trigger. (Credit: Wong Lab / Brown University)

Biomaterials that can degrade on demand have been 3D printed by engineers at Brown University. The materials were fabricated by means of stereolithographic printing […]. The capacity of the materials to degrade is imparted by the development of reversible ionic bonds. Precursor solutions were prepared with sodium alginate, a compound derived from seaweed that is known to be capable of ionic crosslinking. Different combinations of ionic salts, including magnesium, barium and calcium, were then added to 3D print objects with varying stiffness levels, a factor which affected how quickly the structures dissolved.

“The idea is that the attachments between polymers should come apart when the ions are removed, which we can do by adding a chelating agent that grabs all the ions,” said assistant professor Ian Wong. “This way we can pattern transient structures that dissolve away when we want them to.”

Read the full at IEEE.

Research Breakthrough: Cold Sintering

Researchers in Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, led by Clive Randall, recently discovered a process that could revolutionize the manufacturing industry. Known as cold sintering, the process could be used for developing materials we use every day, such as bricks and glass, at a much lower energy cost than the process used today. The researchers have shown their new process can be used to make at least 50 materials, and they are continuing to expand their research to incorporate additional materials.

 

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Simulation: how machines are better problem-solvers (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 38)

Physical testing can only take us so far. New techniques in digital simulations enable us to experiment with every variable at play to guarantee the best desirable performance. This is the case, for example, when trying to pinpoint the reason for behind “material redistribution”, a phenomenon that leads to defects in printed metal parts. Simple observation and image recognition can only lead to partial understanding (although Nvidia’s GPUs have shown that huge strides have been made in that regard) as part of the reactions happen below the surface or in other unaccountable regions. Computer models of the system, coupled with high-speed monitoring of the same, can give unprecedented holistic vantage points when investigating these activities. Similarly, simulation can take researchers far in terms of understanding long-extinct animals’ behavior. Hydrodynamics, bone-structure, muscle arrangement, all this can be taken into account when determining the most plausible gaze for creatures that lived millions of years ago, in a system which can then be 3D printed and tested tangibly. Similarly, Canadian researchers want to take it a step further by merging AI simulation with manufacturing capabilities, creating a 3D printer which dissects a problem and finds the appropriate solution automatically.

Team finds reason behind defects in 3-D printing

LLNL finds reason behind defects in 3D printing

In a study published by Scientific Reports , LLNL scientists combined ultrafast imaging of melt-pool dynamics with high-resolution simulations, finding that particles of liquid metal ejected from the laser’s path during the powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing (PBFAM) process—commonly called “spatter“—is caused by the entrainment of metal particles by an ambient gas flow, not from the laser’s recoil pressure, as previously believed.

Read more at Phys.org

University of Southampton 3D Printers Solve Million Year Old Flipper Mystery

To determine the swim-path of plesiosaur flippers Southampton researchers, alongside partners at the University of Bristol, 3D printed models based on the dimensions of a fossil skeleton. According to the supporting paper, experiments show “that plesiosaur hind flippers generated up to 60% more thrust and 40% higher efficiency when operating in harmony with their forward counterparts, when compared with operating alone.”

Read the fully article here.

Canadian Researchers in Pursuit of Artificially Intelligent 3D Printers

Edward Cyr examines a 3D rendering of a lattice structure. Photo via The Star Phoenix

Edward Cyr’s research, funded by a McCain postdoctoral fellowship, aims to develop an AI system that will approach a problem and 3D print its solution after considering all the alternatives. Cyr acknowledged that a human problem solver would only be able to come up with an optimal design after testing thousands upon thousands of ideas.

A computer, on the other hand, “can actually model a total design space and tell us which one is the best, and it can even come up with things we might not even think of.”

Read the full article here.

 

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AM is moving transportation beyond traditional supply chains (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 37)

Transportation is victim to many of the issues plaguing many other industries: manufacturing lines are linear and dull and spare parts are manufactured in bulks. 3D printing is not only giving it tools to make many of these steps more efficient, it is also allowing startups to disruption the industry. Which do you think will be more impactful? Startups pursuing new business models or established companies using AM to fine tune theirs?

Siemens To Bring 3D Printed Parts To Dubai Metro

To keep trains running, and passengers happy, [Dubai’s] Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has signed an MOU with the Middle Eastern branch of award-winning automation conglomerate Siemens. The agreement will enhance the RTA’s existing 3D printed spare parts initiative, contributing to the endeavor to become “the world’s smartest city” by the year 2020.

“The 3D printing technology would enable RTA to keep the Dubai metro assets in service longer while driving down the cost of parts and in turn passing this saving back to the customer.” – Abdul Mohsin Ibrahim Younes, CEO of RTA’s Rail Agency.

Read the full article here.

Daimler Starts 3D Printing Metal Replacement Parts for Older Mercedes-Benz Trucks

Daimler 3D-printed truck parts

Daimler has been 3D printing plastic spare parts for older commercial trucks for about a year, and now it’s moving on to metal parts. The company recently 3D printed its first metal replacement part, a thermostat cover for older Mercedes trucks and Unimog utility vehicles. Daimler believes 3D printing could be a cost-effective way to keep spare parts available indefinitely.

Read all about it at Digital Trends.

How an Autonomous Vehicle Maker Slashed the Supply Chain with 3D Printing

Visualising Olli on MakerBot print/image via MakerBot

A new case study shows how Local Motors, an autonomous and open source vehicle manufacturer, is using 3D printing to save time and money. This case study produced by MakerBot clearly illustrates some of the primary advantages of using 3D printing in a production setting. Firstly, tooling costs at Local Motors are down by a half as 3D printing is used to create to custom tooling for low volume production. Secondly, obtaining the necessary tools quickly can greatly reduce the production time. Thirdly, the tools that are 3D printed and used are optimised for their particular project improving both workflow and the durability of the tools.

Read the full article here.

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AM delivering Self-Sufficiency @ the Front Lines (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 36)

Military operations all over the globe are encumbered by grave logistics problems with regards to supplying and maintaining bases, sometimes in remote areas.  3D printing is giving them the ability to utilize local resources for almost anything that’s needed to run the operation smoothly, from the barracks to on-demand repair parts and flexible asset design. The decentralization of the manufacturing capability is a game changer for the military, reducing dependency from external suppliers/producers and providing a more agile toolset to face the challenges of the front.

U.S. Army Seeks Commercialization of 3D Printed Cement Barracks

Cement barracks hut 3D printed at the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois. Army photo by Mike Jazdyk

Spanning 512 square-feet, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) in Champaign, Illinois, has revealed the successful construction of its first 3D printed barracks hut.

“ACES provides a capability to print custom designed expeditionary structures on-demand, in the field, using locally available materials.” – Dr. Michael Case, CERL ACES program manager.

Such huts would typically be constructed using plywood. By comparison, locally sourced cements reduces the cost of shipped building materials by half. Automation additionally saves manpower requirements by 62%.

Read the full article at 3D Printing Industry.

Marines Evaluate Mobile Fab Lab To Expedite Repair And Supply

Sgt. Ethan Maeder demos a 3D scanner in the X-FAB. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kailtin Kelly

The U.S. Marine Corps is evaluating the utility of an expeditionary fabrication laboratory (X-FAB) for on-demand crisis response. A self-contained fab lab, the 20 x 20 foot unit is stocked with four 3D printers, CAD software and a 3D scanner.

It can be deployed with battalion-level Marine maintenance units, servicing support ground equipment including motor transport and communications electronics.

“In a contested environment where ships cannot easily land, or airplanes cannot necessarily fly in and deliver goods, Marines need a way to support themselves—at least temporarily,” – Lt. Col. Howie Marotto, Additive Manufacturing lead at Marine Corps Installations and Logistics.

Read more about the X-FAB here.

US Marine Designs 3D Printed Surveillance Drone at Fraction of Regular Cost

Last year, Rhet McNeal (26-year-old Corporal in the US Marine Corps (USMC)) and a team of five collaborators submitted “Adaptable and Affordable 3D Drones,” a proposal for a transportable, quick-assemble, inexpensive drone that was modeled after the existing Wasp – but with 3D printable parts. An entire Wasp drone system costs roughly $250,000 once all is said and done. But using 3D printer resin, off-the-shelf electronics, and the iPhone app Q Ground Control, the Scout drone system (1 control system, 2 drones) can be built for just $613 – less than 0.5% of the Wasp system.

Read more about the project here.

 

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The Many Faces of Automation in Today’s Industries (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 35)

Automation is bringing about transformation to today’s manufacturing in many shapes and forms. Giants like McDonald’s are having a revival in productivity (and profits) thanks to smarter food handling systems. Similarly, renewal projects of power plants across the US employ automation to slash the number of employees considerably. Flexibility and performance find a match in Fraunhofer Institute’s new SelfPaint system, which enables factories to automate painting of individual objects.

Automation key to McDonald’s revival

A McDonalds restaurant in France.

Fast food giant McDonald’s has seen a significant rise in second quarter profits. This is being put down to new ways of working and automation, leading to increased productivity. McDonald’s net income leapt by 28% to $1.4B in the second quarter, Business Times reports. This predicted increase in growth is attributed to a continuation of technology designed to aid manufacturing automation and with McDonald’s further application of digital technology to automate the customer experience.

Read the full story at Digital Journal.

SelfPaint tech automates painting of one-off objects

A SelfPaint-guided robot paints a chair, with its calculated

German and Swedish scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute are developing a system known as SelfPaint, which will allow robots to figure out how to paint individual objects. It could reportedly reduce paint use by 2%, energy consumption by 15%and production time by 5%. First of all, a 3D scan of the item is performed. Next, the path that the robot will travel while painting is mapped out. The painting process itself then takes place, followed by an inspection to check that the coating of paint is thick enough.

Read all about SelfPaint at NewAtlas.

Automation Is Engineering the Jobs Out of Power Plants

View of a Mitsubishi-made gas-fired turbine

Gone are many of the mechanics, millwrights, and welders who once held high paying jobs to keep coal-fired power plants operating. […] the extensive use of analytics and automation within natural gas-fired power plants means that staffing levels can be cut to a fraction of what they were a decade ago. On August 1, Michigan-based DTE Energy revealed plans to spend almost $1B to build a 1,100-MW gas-fired power plant. When the station enters service in 2022, it will replace 3 existing coal-fired units that currently employ more than 500 people. Job openings at the new gas-fired plant? 35 full-time employees, says a DTE spokesperson.

Check out the full analysis on IEEE Spectrum.

 

Our Twitter feed has a lot more news and insights on AM and IIoT, check it out! Don’t forget to come back next week for another edition of hand-picked brain candies for you to feast on.

How AM can help fight climate change (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 34)

Climate change is caused by a great many aspects of human activity and one of the most impactful is manufacturing. In 2015, 21% of total greenhouse gasses emissions by the US was due to the industry sector. The manufacturing economy needs to be drastically reshaped in order to hamper the effects of climate change. Thankfully, technologies like AM are providing new avenues of production to do that. 3D printing enables production lines to be more flexible, reducing manufacturing to its most essential. Nonetheless, studies report that the energy consumption of some 3D printing methods are not up to their reputation, still needing some development in order to deal with material and energy usage. All the while, biopolymers are taking a hold in AM, proposing improved mechanical properties with the much needed value of being biodegradable.

 

Who Needs The Paris Climate Accords When You Have 3D Printing?

At the center of [digital manufacturing] technologies is 3D printing, which uses digital files to drive smaller, more flexible production lines than are economical with conventional manufacturing. 3D printing is still developing and is only now spreading to mass production. But in the next five to 10 years it should account for a sizable share of industry. As it matures, it will improve companies’ environmental performance in multiple ways.

Read the full article at Forbes.

 

Discovering Opportunities For Biopolymers In 3D Printing

[…] the few printable thermoplastics made from biological materials have limited applications, leading to concerns over environmental issues similar to those faced in conventional manufacturing. New biopolymers currently in development for conventional manufacturing can provide interesting opportunities for expanding biopolymer use in 3D printing applications.

Read the full article here.

 

3D Printing: A Boon Or A Bane?

Good prints require a ratio of 20– 50% virgin material to previously used powder to avoid problems, so a significant amount of waste is generated with each build. Another common claim is that 3-D printers are more energy-efficient than other manufacturing technologies. This claim is highly questionable because 3-D printers vary so dramatically in their energy use. A 2011 study measured the electricity use per kilogram of material deposited using several different 3-D printing methods and found that some printers used up to 80 times more energy than others.

Read the full report here.

 

Come back next week for another edition of the News In Review. Plus, keep an eye on our Twitter feed where we’ll share with you updates to our services as well as interesting AM / IIoT insights.

AM, Enabler of Breakthroughs (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 33)

3D printing is opening doors for what were previously thought to be unfeasible projects, paving the way for breakthroughs in a wide variety of areas: The Cell3Dtor project, funded by the European Union, is aiming to bring to market solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs), much more energy efficient and easily/cheaply manufacturable through 3D printing. Bioprinting is going further than medical implants, enabling tunable designs of biological matrixes to radically change drug testing. Graphene is also almost ready for mass-production as a new 3D printing method using Nickel and sugar makes it simple and efficient to produce.

Cell3Ditor uses ceramics 3D printing to improve production of energy efficient solid oxide fuel cells

A pioneering new project, Cell3Ditor, by the Catalan Energy Research Institute is now aiming to leverage ceramics 3D printing to help the environment more directly, with the production of new, more efficient solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). Currently, manufacturing a SOFC requires more than 100 stages of production, with the different components being made separately and assembled with vitreous seals. This complexity greatly increases the costs of both production and initial investment, which is estimated at around € 4.8 million. 3D printing technology could change all this for the better, cutting down production time and costs as well as drastically simplifying the whole assembly process. 3D printing techniques also allow for an improved final product, as the cell could be made in one single piece.

Read the full article here.

Why Drug Testing May Be the Most Important Application of 3D Bioprinting

3D printed tissue is proving to be an effective means of testing new pharmaceuticals, meaning that drugs can be thoroughly assessed and brought to market more quickly, all without harming animal test subjects. A group of researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) recently published a paper discussing the development of a new type of bioink that enables the 3D printing of cells and other biological materials as part of a single production process. You can access the paper, entitled “Mechanically Tunable Bioink for 3D Printing of Human Cells,” here.

Read the article at 3DPrint.

Scientists May Have Discovered a Sweet Way to Mass Produce Graphene

Image Credit: Tour Group/Rice University

Nanotechnologists from Rice University and China’s Tianjin University have come up with a way to make centimeter-sized objects of atomically thin graphene that’s pretty sweet. The method is simple, can be performed at room temperature, and only requires sugar and nickel in a process called “3D laser printing.” Due to the printing method, the scientists were able to control the shapes to the level of the pore and make them 99 percent air — retaining graphene’s lightness. This is a landmark for the “miracle material” — composed of a single atomic layer of hexagonally linked carbon — which has paradigm-shifting potential due to its high strength (200 times stronger than steel) and conductivity.

Read more about the landmark here.

 

See you next week for another News In Review! Our Twitter feed will keep you updated on the latest 3D printing/IIOT news as you wait.

 

Machine-Driven Performance for the Digital Thread (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 32)

Machine-learning methods are transforming image recognition and problem-solving skills in computers with hardware and simulation algorithms that are capable of providing actionable insights. Businesses are already starting to employ these new tools to gain a more efficient and productive workflow, automating the digital thread beyond simple dematerialization, as well as stepping into smart decision-making.

Machine Learning “Surfnet” Creates 3D Models From 2D Images

The SurfNet process. Image via Purdue University Mechanical Engineering.
The SurfNet process. Image via Purdue University Mechanical Engineering.

New research has developed AI technology that can transform 2D images into 3D content. The method, called SurfNet, has great potential in the field of robotics and autonomous vehicles, as well as creating digital 3D content. The research was led by Purdue University’s Donald W. Feddersen Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Karthik Ramani.

Karthik Ramani explains this process:

“If you show it hundreds of thousands of shapes of something such as a car, if you then show it a 2D image of a car, it can reconstruct that model in 3D”.

Read more about Surfnet here.

 

MIT’s Robotic Arm 3D Printers Take The Stress Out of Architecture

4 self-supporting gridshell test designs, 3D printed in plastic using a robotic arm. Image via 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing journal.

Stress Line Additive Manufacturing (SLAM) is an architectural 3D printing concept out of MIT. It challenges the typical FDM approach to construction, accounting for structural stresses caused by the act of depositing material layer-by-layer. […] In further development, the researchers will apply further architectural theory to the designs and make solid filled objects. They also hope to be able to integrate sensors into the system so the robotic arm intelligently adapts the design as it prints.

Read more about it at 3D Printing Industry.

 

Geometric search engines – How useful are they?

Digitisation presents challenges as well as opportunities: On the one hand we’re surrounded by more data than ever before, yet on the other, we have more efficient tools to manage the onslaught. […] In the process of searching for similar designs, while we have traditional search methods like text based and keyword based, they do fall short at times. Geometric Search Engines (GSEs) can significantly improve speed and efficiency of the digital thread in additive manufacturing to help solve these challenges.

Read the full article at Develop3D.

 

Don’t forget to come back next week for another news’ roundup. In the mean time, our Twitter feed should keep you updated with the latest AM/IIoT news!

Preparing for Next-Gen Manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 31)

Over the course of the last century, manufacturing has begun a downward dive in reputation, leading to less interest in the industry as a career path and, consequently, to broader ignorance in its developments, but there are ways to fix that. As a result, the industry is experiencing a skill-gap in its prospecting professionals who are not being prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. This is apparent in AM, as businesses are still encouraged to “work with the willing, and go from there”, but a lot of projects are starting to deal with this lack in education. Automation is engulfing the production pipeline and many businesses are not sure where to even begin investing their time and resources to start embracing IIoT and other smart technologies.

How to Fix Manufacturing’s Poor Image

How to Fix Manufacturing’s Poor Image

U.S. manufacturing suffers from an important image problem that undermines its competitiveness, according to a new survey released on July 13 by Deloitte, along with the Manufacturing Institute. Only 50% of Americans think manufacturing jobs are interesting and less than 30% are likely to encourage their children to pursue a career. However Americans have not yet given up hope on the industry and in fact are overwhelmingly optimistic for its future […] much needs to be done to make sure that the public, including educators and those in a position to guide talent to the industry, understand the facts, the report concludes.

Read more about the findings in the Deloitte report here.

Overcoming the Additive Manufacturing Skill Gap

Chris has been working as a machinist in the advanced manufacturing realm for 47 years. He’s regularly involved in Imperial’s most difficult Additive projects.

How does a company owner find experienced talent in an industry that’s only a few years old? This is the problem early adopters of Metal Additive Manufacturing are trying to solve. […] Indeed, additive is already playing an important role in the advanced manufacturing world, but there’s an unresolved pain-point felt across the industry; a small pool of skilled AM professionals, trying to satisfy the workforce needs of a rapidly growing industry.

Read the full article here.

Automation in the Warehouse: Asset or Obstacle?

Automation is a powerful tool and comes in many shapes and forms. In the warehouse, automation is generally used to make gains upon existing processes by improving efficiency, speed, reliability, accuracy and (eventually) cost savings. Gone are the days of thinking that paper-based processes are enough. Automation is at everyone’s disposal, yet investing in it doesn’t mean it will solve every goods-handling issue or be the right fit. Humans are still better at a lot of things.

Read more on smart automation deployment here.

 

As always, we hope to see you next week for another edition of the News-In-Review! In the mean time, our Twitter feed will keep you topped up on AM and IIoT related news, so check that out as well!