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.

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Quiz: Data Acquisition
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is the result of an evolution of technology that started with the invention of the programmable logic controller (PLC) in 1968. It has blossomed in recent years with the incorporation of artificial intelligence and advanced networking protocols. How much do you think you know about the IIoT? Try this quiz to check your knowledge.
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Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
This article examines advancements in Flexiv’s material abrasion technology, specifically focusing on sanding and polishing applications and the utility of force control technology.
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Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Material transport workflows for production and assembly lines are time-consuming, non-value-adding tasks for most manufacturers. AMRs provide a simple, efficient, and cost-effective way to automate material handling and in-house transportation tasks in nearly any situation where employees would previously have been required to push carts around the facility.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Inventors at the NASA Langley Research Center have developed a novel method to model and ingest point-wise process data to evaluate an additive manufacturing build and its file for issues by highlighting potential anomalies or other areas where the build may have issues with fusion of the material.
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Quiz: Test & Measurement
One of the benefits of modern digital technology is that industrial maintenance can be done in a more efficient way than ever before, by using a process called predictive maintenance (PdM). See how much you understand about it — take this quiz.
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Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
To make fusion power not only physically possible but also economically possible, we need to develop high-performance fusion reactors. However, these reactors call for high-performance materials.
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INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Anyone who has ever tried to pack a family-sized amount of luggage into a sedan-sized trunk knows this is a hard problem. Robots struggle with dense packing tasks, too.

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Application Briefs: Motion Control
Since its introduction, dozens of steel mills — ranging from hot to cold and bar to sheet — have recognized the benefits of incorporating INSTAclamp Lock Rings into their operations. Despite a redesign with a new material, the product is not restricted by which mill types it can operate within.
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Special Reports: Test & Measurement
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Smart Factory/IIoT - September 2023

Factories are getting "smarter" and more automated by the day, thanks to advances in AI, robotics, connectivity and sensors. In this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs and Sensor...

INSIDER: Materials

A new type of ferroelectric polymer that is exceptionally good at converting electrical energy into mechanical strain holds promise as a high-performance motion controller or...

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Quiz: Connectivity
Industrial PLCs were first used in 1969 and are still in wide use today. Test your PLC knowledge with this quiz.
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Articles: AR/AI
The battery industry is forecasted to grow tenfold by the end of the decade. This growth is driven by increasing demand for Li-ion cell batteries, predominantly for electrified transportation and energy storage.
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INSIDER: Unmanned Systems

There is extensive research on how a fixed-position flap affects lift in the realm of fluid-structure interaction. However, taking the conversation in a new direction, researchers...

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Articles: Motion Control
Automation vendors are looking for the latest technology that will give them a competitive advantage.
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Blog: AR/AI
The term artificial intelligence (AI) has become an everyday catch phrase. The way it’s used all over the media, however, is very different from the way I think about it.
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Quiz: Motion Control
Factories are becoming more and more automated and integrated. How much do you know about what factory automation actually is? Take this quiz to find out.
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Briefs: Medical
Companies in many industries are completely revamping the way in which their manufacturing arms are designing, building, producing, and servicing their goods.
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INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) announced that it has developed a gripper capable of all gripping movements, inspired by elephant trunks. It mimics how...

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Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The 3D printing industry has grown quickly over the last decade with average compound annual growth rates of around 27 percent leading to a market size of $17.7 billion in 2022.
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Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
Document cover
Smart Factory/IIoT - September 2022

Factories are getting "smarter" and more automated by the day, thanks to advances in AI, robotics, connectivity and sensors. In this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs and Sensor...

INSIDER: Software

A new general-purpose optimizer can speed up the design of walking robots, self-driving vehicles, and other autonomous systems.

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Articles: Internet of Things

Although industrial factories and processing plants have long been automated, it remains vital for human decision-making to be involved in operations, sometimes to a great extent. Automation in...

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INSIDER: Design

Mimicking the human body, specifically the actuators that control muscle movement, is of immense interest around the globe. In recent years, it has led to many innovations to improve...

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Articles: Transportation

While the U.S. historically has had much lower energy costs than in other parts of the world, today’s volatile energy market combined with the initiatives of many corporations to reduce carbon...

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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

The automation of additive manufacturing (AM) is limited and usually still requires human labor workflows, including the fundamental step of removing the finished object from the printer...

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Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Are soft machines an important technology for the future?

Soft machines — a subcategory of robotics that uses deformable materials instead of rigid links — are an emerging technology commonly used in wearable robotics and biomimetics (e.g., prosthetic limbs).

INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Engineering researchers from North Carolina State University have demonstrated a new type of flexible, robotic grippers that are able to lift delicate egg yolks without...

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INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Inspired by the natural dexterity of the human hand, a team of engineers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has created a reconfigurable hybrid robotics system that is able...

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