Category Archives: Advanced Manufacturing

CAM Assist Creates Machining Strategies with AI

for 3+2 Axis CNC Machines

CloudNC, a manufacturing technology company backed by Autodesk and Lockheed Martin, announces that its CAM Assist solution can now create programming strategies and toolpaths with AI for 3+2 axis CNC machines.

Previously, CAM Assist – which is available as a plug-in for Autodesk’s Fusion software – generated machining strategies with AI for manufacturers using 3-axis CNC machines, helping them to create programs for the machines far more quickly than previously possible.

The new upgrade means CAM Assist can now provide strategies and toolpaths for 3+2 axis components as well, enabling many more manufacturers to benefit from CAM Assist’s efficiency gains. With 3+2 axis support in place, CloudNC estimates that CAM Assist now can help around two-thirds of the CNC machining market.

CAM Assist uses advanced computer science techniques and AI to generate intuitive machining strategies in minutes or seconds, depending on complexity, which could take CNC machine programmers hours or even days to manually create.

As a result, the amount of time it takes to program a CNC machine to make a component – a bottleneck in many factories – is greatly reduced, compared to the previous manual programming process, as is the time spent to estimate how much a new component will cost to program.

That gain enables manufacturers using CAM Assist to raise productivity and shorten lead times, while also estimating for more work, more quickly – saving an average workshop over 300 hours of programming and estimating time a year.

CAM Assist is available for Autodesk Fusion today, both via www.cloudnc.com, and the Autodesk App Store. CloudNC is currently undergoing beta testing in other packages, and expects to launch solutions for those later in 2024.

About CloudNC

CloudNC is reinventing precision machining. They save manufacturers hundreds of machine programming hours a year with CAM Assist, which accelerates CNC CAM programming by applying AI.

Founded in 2015, CloudNC consists of a world-class team combining expertise in computer science and physical manufacturing, based in their headquarters in London and their factory in Chelmsford.

For more information, visit www.cloudnc.com.

Shapeways Expands into Global CNC Market

Shapeways Holdings, Inc., announced its further expansion into the USD $67.5B global CNC market, with the launch of its new CNC Instant Quote feature. This online quoting portal will provide seamless access for CNC customers and enhance Shapeways’ robust suite of enterprise manufacturing solutions.

With the launch of CNC Instant Quote, Shapeways customers can access a wide range of metal and plastic materials, like aluminum and ABS, and significant capacity—with over 50 high-precision machines ready to support prototype and production orders.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is lauded for its precision, efficiency, and accuracy in mass production, and is used across industries like robotics, automotive, medical, and others. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global CNC market is projected to reach USD $80.4 billion by 2028, at a steady 3.5% CAGR.

This expanded capability reinforces Shapeways’ commitment to its enterprise go-to-market strategy of supporting companies across the globe with their supply chain challenges through unprecedented flexibility in production. In 2023, Shapeways Enterprise Manufacturing Solutions saw impressive growth in its large, multi-million-dollar Automotive and Robotics verticals. CNC machining, along with the company’s lineup of metal and polymer additive manufacturing and injection molding, will continue to open growth opportunities in 2024.

About Shapeways

Shapeways is a global provider of digital manufacturing, combining additive and traditional technologies with proprietary software solutions designed for other manufacturers and their customers, reducing costs, and improving supply chains. Partnering with hundreds of companies engaged in industrial applications like automotive, medical, and transportation, as well as aerospace and defense, Shapeways helps them scale their businesses, solve complex problems in product development, and achieve critical manufacturing milestones.

For more information, visit www.shapeways.com.

ABB Launches Next Gen MicroDrive ACH180 for HVACR

ABB introduces its next generation MicroDrive, ACH180, that complies with UL standards, including UL61800-5-1 for drives and UL60335-2-40 for HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration) equipment. As the newest addition to ABB’s HVACR drive portfolio, the ACH180 enables expert control of high-efficiency motors, while utilizing a compact design for space savings, lower capital expenditure and easier commissioning.

The ACH180 drive’s design allows operators to run motors based on the HVACR process demands, rather than running them at full speed and reducing output using mechanical controls like throttles or dampers, which greatly reduce energy consumption and CO₂ emissions.

Packed with HVACR-specific features, the ACH180 includes industry-standard Hand/Off/Auto controls, fireman’s override for smoke control, and four start interlocks for remote troubleshooting, including high static, smoke, freezestat, and fire stat. It supports the control of various motor types, including permanent magnet-assisted synchronous reluctance motors like IE5 EC Titanium by ABB, permanent magnet motors, and conventional induction motors. Further, onboard communication protocols, including BACnet MS/TP and Modbus RTU, offer compatibility with a wide range of building automation systems (BAS) or OEM controllers.

The ACH180 is suitable for a wide range of HVACR applications, including air handlers, fan arrays, heat pumps, compressors, and pumps. Its operation up to 40C (up to 60C with derate) provides cabinet air conditioning cost savings and will help reduce energy consumption, aligning with increasing regulations around the energy efficiency of air handling equipment.

The ACH180 launched at the AHR Expo in Chicago on January 22, 2024. For more information visit here.

For more information about ABB, visit website.

Sigma-Netics Announces Precision, Thin-Walled Metal Tubes

Sigma-Netics announces the addition of precision, thin-walled metal tubes to its product offering for use in sensor systems, biomedical components, defense applications and other industrial and precision uses.

These deep-drawn tubes are available as completely open or as closed at one end, and they come in various metal materials, including stainless steel, Monel, beryllium-copper, brass and bronze alloys. Using advanced tooling and manufacturing techniques, we can offer precision tolerances as low as 0.004 inch (in.) on the tube diameters, as well as tighter tolerances ranging from 0.00015 to 0.0005 in. on the wall thickness.

Tubes also feature a seamless design for reliable use in sensitive and mission-critical systems. Their production process begins with metal blanks that must undergo many deformation processes, resulting in a seamless design and smooth, homogenous surface compared to welded tubes. Other features include:

  • A maximum length of 17.72 in.
  • Diameter: 0.196 to 2.75 in. with a range of precision tolerances from 0.004 to 0.015 in.
  • Wall thickness: 0.0025 to 0.020 in. with a range of precision tolerances from 0.00015 to 0.0005 in.
  • Custom closed-end designs and options
  • Axial ribs and other special shapes, created via hydroforming
  • Supplied in hard or fully annealed conditions

Tubes are suitable for many applications like medical devices, plug connections, liquid distribution, sensor housings in submersible applications and defense applications, including precision bullet jackets and mortar ammunition.

About Sigma-Netics, Inc.

Sigma-Netics is a privately held corporation founded in 1966, headquartered in a 30,000 square foot facility in Riverdale, NJ, USA. We are a global manufacturer of pressure switches, pressure transducers, metal bellows and metal bellows assemblies.

For more information please, visit www.sigmanetics.com.

Vention, Flexxbotics Partner for Advanced Robotic Machine Tending

Vention, the company behind the cloud-based Manufacturing Automation Platform (MAP), and Flexxbotics, delivering workcell digitalization for robot-driven manufacturing, are announcing a partnership and the immediate availability of a combined offering for robotic workcell digitalization in next generation machining environments.

Starting today, customers can benefit from the combination of Flexxbotics’ advanced robot machine tending solution with Vention’s Manufacturing Automation Platform offering. Customers will utilize Vention’s cloud-robotic tools and proven modular automation hardware to design tailored machine tending robot cells, and then, take advantage of Flexxbotics’ powerful machine tending SaaS/hybrid solution and expert professional services for seamless deployment and continuous operation to achieve “lights out” manufacturing.

Vention broughten the accessibility of industrial automation for manufacturing professionals through a single digital environment. Combining 3D design, code-free industrial programming, and a library of 4,000+ modular automation components where users can navigate through the design, automate, deploy, and operate stages of creating automated equipment all within a game-changing platform. Through its simplicity, Vention empowers all manufacturing professionals, from automation beginners to advanced integrators, to design and procure efficiently and profitably the automation for each workcells’ unique machine tending requirements across the factory floor. Then, Flexxbotics professionals deploy and optimize the Vention designed robotic systems along with the Flexxbotics solution for advanced robot machine tending.

Flexxbotics workcell digitalization is important to the success of the smart factory, turning conventional robotic machine tending into robot-driven manufacturing with autonomous process control. With Flexxbotics, the robots are connected and communicate directly with the CNC machinery and the inspection equipment in the workcell for closed-loop quality control of precision machined parts. Utilizing inspection results, Flexxbotics directs the robot to make necessary adjustments to the CNC’s program to account for tool wear and other variables. This ensures that the production of each part aligns consistently with specifications, guaranteeing the highest quality, capacity, and profit per part while maintaining tolerance levels.

About Flexxbotics 

Flexxbotics workcell digitalization is the backbone of the Smart Factory delivering autonomous process control for next generation machining environments. Flexxbotics SaaS/hybrid solutions enable robot-driven manufacturing at scale. Flexxbotics breakthrough, the FlexxCORE technology, seamlessly connects and coordinates robots with existing automation equipment, IT systems and people. More powerful, flexible and open, Flexxbotics revolutionizes the use of robotics in complex production.

Visit www.flexxbotics.com to learn more.

About Vention

Vention helps some of the most innovative manufacturers automate their production floors in just a few days through a democratized user experience. Vention’s digital manufacturing automation platform allows clients to design, automate, order, and deploy automated equipment directly from their web browsers. Headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with offices in Berlin and Boston, Vention’s 302 employees serve 4,000+ customers on five continents and 25 manufacturing industries.

Over the years, the company has been awarded many business and industry recognitions. In 2023 only, the company was awarded the prestigious Deloitte 2023 Technology Fast 50m, Report on Business Canada’s top growing company, and Best Work Place (for professional development).

For more information, visit www.vention.com.