Manufacturing & Prototyping

Industrial Controls & Automation

Explore the key advances impacting industrial controls and automation. Access technical briefs and developments in the applications that are essential to automation integration and design.

Latest Briefs & News

Articles : Imaging
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
A team of inventors found a fast way to join plastic to metal.
2019 'Create the Future' Manufacturing/Robotics/Automation Category Winner: The HPCI® Joining Gun
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark

Thermal cameras like forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors are actively deployed on aerial and ground vehicles, in watch towers, and at check points for surveillance purposes. More recently,...

Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics
Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics

Contact lenses that can monitor the wearer’s health and correct eyesight use embedded electronics. These, and other curved devices such as solar cells and electronics, could be...

Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Expanding Traditional Machine Vision With High-Speed Digital Imaging
Expanding Traditional Machine Vision With High-Speed Digital Imaging
Machine vision systems shed light on processes too small or too fast to see with the human eye.
Expanding Traditional Machine Vision With High-Speed Digital Imaging
Articles : Test & Measurement
Bringing Precision Anamorphic Micro-Optics to Consumer-Level Laser Applications
Bringing Precision Anamorphic Micro-Optics to Consumer-Level Laser Applications
Laser illumination is scaling in a new direction.
Bringing Precision Anamorphic Micro-Optics to Consumer-Level Laser Applications
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel

Between walking and running, human gaits can cover a wide range of speeds; for example, at low speeds, the metabolic rate of walking is lower than that of running in a slow jog....

Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces

A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in...

New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
Articles : Electronics & Computers
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
While most cars today run on 12-volt DC batteries, cars in the future will run on 48 volts. This increased voltage could affect ball bearing performance.
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Briefs : Nanotechnology
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts

An automated system designs and 3D-prints complex robotic parts that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. The system fabricates actuators — devices that mechanically...

Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Products : Internet of Things
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs

Toposens, Sunnyvale, CA, released the TS3, a 3D ultrasonic sensor suitable for autonomous systems including robotics, autonomous vehicles, and other positioning applications that require...

Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
INSIDER : Imaging
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Insider

Diffraction-Limited Aspheric Lenses

Optical Surfaces Ltd. (Surrey, UK) is an international supplier of diffraction-limited aspheric lenses for nuclear research laser facilities. Over the last 40 years, Optical Surfaces has produced diffraction-limited aspheric lenses, up to 600mm...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency
Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency

Unlike water, liquid refrigerants and other fluids that have a low surface tension spread quickly into a sheet when they come into contact with a surface. For many industrial...

Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Miniature Spring Performance Tester

In order to qualify miniature springs, manufacturers of these systems rely on commercially available testers that are designed for large-scale springs (>0.5" diameter). Commercially available spring...

Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection

Accurately detecting, locating, and quantifying leaks of methane — the main component of natural gas and a major fuel source worldwide — is critically important for both environmental...

Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Micromachining Subsystem

SCANLAB GmbH (Puchheim, Germany) has introduced a new member of its precSYS product line. Five-axis precSYS subsystems enable industrial...

New Products: September 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Each passing year, machine vision is finding its way into applications that were not commercially feasible — and in some cases, impossible.
Machine Vision Camera Trends: 2019 and Beyond
Products : Electronics & Computers
New Products: September 2019 Sensor Technology
New Products: September 2019 Sensor Technology

People-Counting Sensor

FLIR Systems, Inc. (Wilsonville, OR) announced the latest generation of the FLIR Brickstream 3D Gen 2 people-counting sensor. This new version includes a unique...

New Products: September 2019 Sensor Technology
Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
There is increasing demand in many high-end commercial and industrial markets for precision motion sensing for a diversity of applications.
All-Silicon MEMS Inertial Sensing at Fiber Optic Gyro Performance Levels
Articles : Internet of Things
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
We interviewed an industry expert about the role of inductive position sensors in the IIoT.
The Many Uses of Inductive Position Sensors in the IIoT
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) play the primary role in IIoT systems. Also referred to as machine controllers, PACs provide a centralized architecture; they act as the...

Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Articles : Communications
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity

Along with the onslaught of Internet of Things (IoT) and wirelessly enabled devices, cloud connectivity has become a major benefit for a range of applications from commercial to military. As...

Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Articles : Motion Control
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection

Stepper motors and stepper-based linear actuators are often selected for open-loop motion control devices and equipment. These can be found in a wide range of products and...

Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings
Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a new method for making small-diameter, high-grade ball bearings that are less than 0.25” in diameter thanks to the development of a new alloy...

Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Lunar Surface Manipulation System

NASA's Langley Research Center offers a novel lifting and precision positioning device with hybrid functional characteristics of both crane-type lifting devices and robotic manipulators. The design of the...

Lunar Surface Manipulation System