Category Archives: digital manufacturing

Augmented Reality or A/R Will Greatly Enhance Manufacturing Industries

augmented reality

Augmented Reality or A/R may feel like something out of a science fiction movie or a concept belonging to the future, but we already interact with A/R more often than we know. One recent example is the Pokémon Go craze that applied A/R to locate, capture, battle and train Pokemon creatures. Smartphone users of all ages used A/R to superimpose Pokémon’s computer-generated images to views of the real world.

Blending the Virtual and Real

Different than the computer-generated environment of virtual reality, Augmented Reality superimposes sounds, images and text on the world we see. The composite view produced through A/R can enhance the world and offer numerous applications for enjoyment and work. Prominent examples of applications abound in the aerospace, military and automobile industries. These companies use A/R to solve key operational issues and are introducing ways a workforce can more easily perform repetitive tasks in a more efficient manner.

It can also enhance remote work and improve collaboration. For example, applications can free users from the need to refer to a laptop for instructions or the need to be in a set location to call up videos. Users can leave notes, issue voice commands and call up information from colleagues literally before their eyes.

Manufacturing Industry Applications

But beyond demonstrations on a trade show floor or flashy examples from high-end companies with deep pockets, how will it be used in the so-called real world? A 2017 article from engineering.com profiled five possible uses of Augmented Reality in the manufacturing industry.

Complex Assembly – Instead of referring to work instructions on static documents that could be out of date, A/R can make the instructions changeable and easy to update. The technology can include technical drawings, video and comments from the last person on the job. Workers no longer need to leave a task to check a work station for information.

Maintenance – Support for maintenance-related tasks can become easier with A/R. Augmented models allow workers to confirm and record inspection orders and results using voice technology. This method allows workers to ditch cumbersome manuals while streamlining and speeding up the inspection process.

Expert Support – Traveling to a site to perform maintenance is expensive, but the telepresence provided could improve the process. Augmented Reality can allow a technician located anywhere in the world to see through the eyes of an on-site technician performing the work, offering the ability to provide real-time Q&A and support.

Quality Assurance – Manual inspections can also be enhanced through A/R. Inspectors take photos of parts or assemblies under inspection and compare those to an augmented reality overlay. As a result, out-of-spec features become easier to spot and report, potentially speeding up and enhancing the effectiveness of the inspection process.

Automation – Although some associate A/R with the use of robots with subsequent loss of jobs, others see it as supplementation and collaboration, ultimately improving working efficiency. Augmented Reality has the potential to read the environment and then “feed” that information to workers.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

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Nanomanufacturing has Many Benefits that Enable New Manufacturing Processes

nanotechnology

Faster, stronger, lighter, cheaper and more durable are necessary attributes for the manufacturing industry. But what if one could also have: water-repellent, anti-reflective, self-cleaning, ultraviolet- or infrared resistant, anti-fog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant and electrically conductive in the mix?

Small, but Mighty

Nanomanufacturing and nanotechnology using nanoscale materials promises just that, and its applications continue to grow. Using elements measured in nanometers or micros of 10-100 nanometers or less, nanomanufacturing is enhancing performance in the manufacturing industry by boosting the properties in high-performance, innovative, next-generation products.

Nanomanufacturing, defined as the production of nanoscale materials like powders or fluids, enables high-precision production through a “bottom up” or “top down” process.

Top-down fabrication – like whittling a large block down into another object, top down systematically reduces to a final nanoscale product

Bottom-up fabrication – builds up nanoscaled products from atomic- and molecular-scale components

Enabling New Manufacturing Processes

Attention for nanotechnology processes gained prominence in 2000 when the government established its National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Created with a goal to make the U.S. a global leader in nanotechnology, the NNI and its related departments and independent agencies have provided research and instruction to multiple industries, sharing advances in nanotechnology that can reduce costs and improve capabilities along the way. NNI’s website Nano.gov offers resources and information about nanotechnology for the public and private sectors.

Successful innovations through NNI’s initiative include examples from higher-education institutions such as Purdue University, Northwestern University, Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania where researchers apply nanomanufacturing technologies.

Tools and Techniques

Laser shock imprinting – forms nanoscale metallic shapes for gears (Purdue)

Desktop nanofabrication tool – uses beam-pen lithography arrays to build nanoscale structures (Northwestern)

Nanoscale diamond tips – creation of longer-lasting AFM tips for etching or depositing material in nanomanufacturing processing (University of Pennsylvania)

These educational institutions are also joined by companies such as MesoCoat, ArcelorMital, IMEC and Nantero that are using nanotechnology to prevent oxidation, create lighter steel, reduce waste and produce lower-cost solar cells. Well-known names like Hewlett Packard and Intel are applying nanotechnology to create improved memory devices with more computing power and storage capacity.

New Processes Enabling Nanomanufacturing

Chemical vapor deposition – reacting chemicals produce pure, high-performance films

Molecular beam epitaxy – deposits highly controlled thin films

Atomic layer epitaxy – deposits one-atom-thick layers

Dip pen lithography – dipping the tip of an atomic-force microscope into a chemical fluid to “write” on a surface

Nanoimprint lithography – “stamping” or “printing” nanoscale features onto a surface

Roll-to-roll processing – producing nanoscale devices on ultrathin plastic or metal

Self-assembly – bringing a group of components together into an ordered structure without outside direction

Funding Initiatives

The future of nanomanufacturing is bright, but progress doesn’t come cheap. Resourceful R&D will need to rely on funding to further the potential of nanomanufacturing. Currently, there are more than 90 NNI-funded centers throughout the U.S. and $36.5 million of President Trump’s YF 2019 budget of close to $1.4 billion is earmarked for nanomanufacturing.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

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The Increasing Importance of Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

cybersecurity

The topic of cybersecurity in manufacturing is something most companies only give thought to when an issue arises. Experience shows, many of these attacks happened to large retail organizations that process millions of financial transactions. For business owners within the industrial and manufacturing industries this preference has offered a measure of assurance, if not security. The reason being, many hackers had little interest in tampering with the systems used in these industries.

This is now a false sense of security. A report from Kaspersky Labs, a global cybersecurity company, said that manufacturing companies account for one-third of all attacks. Kaspersky Labs cited an uptick in invasions of Operational Technology (OT), including industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition programs (SCADA). OT systems control the management of production lines, monitoring of gas and oil, and the control of other operations. During 2017, Kaspersky Labs cited attacks on ICS and SCADA, including some 18,000 different modifications of malware, according to a report in Tech Republic.

Changing Focus

Kaspersky Labs, which protects corporate systems, data and processes in public sector organizations and smaller businesses, said hackers are switching their focus. These changes could include anything from ransomware to the theft of intellectual property (IP) and most recently crypto mining, which creates a slow, yet steady, stream of stolen funds.

Hackers are constantly shifting their focus, looking for organizations with vulnerabilities such as recent targets in the industries of defense and finance as well as academia. In 2017, energy and industrial firms, petrochemical companies and manufacturing were also targets. In these cases, they chose IP theft as their weapon of choice, using the theft to gain copies of successful products or to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace. IP theft negates the valuable time and money spent on R&D, cutting into margins and competitive advantage.

Damage Control

With cyberattacks becoming an increasingly real issue, it’s critical for manufacturers to look for ways to improve all levels of security within the business. Now more than ever, manufacturers need to apply ICS and SCADA to protect systems against intentional or accidental security threats coming from inside or outside the organization.

To create a more secure environment, it’s suggested that manufacturers assess their current OT and IT processes and determine where upgrades need to be made. This will likely include adding layers of additional security throughout the organization. Ongoing and frequent assessments will help determine if a company can evolve and survive the newest hacking targets.

Secure Steps to Consider

Use intrusion detection and a firewall help protect the perimeter from an outside attack.

Secure communications through a virtual private network (VPN) and/or use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

Increase security by installing antivirus and host-based intrusion detection software.

Control security by limiting access to network elements and applications.

Protect the physical surroundings using locks and alarm monitoring systems.

 

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

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