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A row of John Deere tractors

5 for Friday: Field Work for Electric Vehicles, Customize Your Drive System, 2023 Predictions for Robotics and the Supply Chain

Jan. 20, 2023
Machine Design takes a look at the week past, and a look ahead to the issues facing the design and manufacturing sector.

Plowing through CES News

You don’t think of CES as the place where tractors would take center stage—unless it’s to move large booths off the show floor. But one big name in that business has a big presence at CES this year.

As Machine Design reported this week, John Deere is using high-tech to improve the speed, accuracy and sustainability of farming. The See & Spray Ultimate is a 120-foot sprayer that uses 36 cameras and 10 graphic processing units to differentiate weed from plant and spray only the weed. The ExactShot Planter places a seed precisely in the ground and puts the fertilizer directly on the seed, resulting in saving 60% savings in fertilizer.

Another area where Deere has been on the leading edge is electric vehicle manufacturing. Its electric excavator can reduce noise while running eight hours of battery life. In all the rush to get more electric passenger vehicles on the road, it’s the off-highway world, and agriculture in particular, that has made the greatest strides in this area. The work on such issues as GPS systems and battery longevity are literally already in the field.

Customize Your Drive System—at Top Speed

One of the things engineers like the most is to solve complex design issues Sometimes, those solutions can be plug-and-play, but there is a lot to be said for taking the basic building blocks and creating a customized solution that both improves the final product and manages design and operational costs.

On Jan. 26, Machine Design, Power & Motion and Parvalux will present a webinar on how to accomplish this custom approach for drive systems by taking full advantage of both technology and people.

John Uzzolino, the head of business development for the Parvalux product line at maxon, USA, will discuss such issues as leveraging standard products in a highly customized drive solution, and how such a solution can actually speed development time, reduce selection risk and optimize product value.

Register today for this informative and rewarding webinar. Also, review the Machine Design library of webinars designed to improve design, operational and maintenance reliability and performance.

2023 Predictions, Part 1: An Arm up in Cobot Deployment

As the above webinar notes, the trend is to create custom solutions using components. This also is true for system development, as Universal Robots noted in its predictions for the new year.

“In 2023, cobot automation will become more sophisticated yet more straightforward to use,” said Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development and strategic marketing at Universal Robots in a press release. “We are going to continue seeing phenomenal growth within complete robotic systems for applications such as welding, palletizing and machine tending, propelled by UR partners creating full solutions powered by our collaborative robot arms.” One telling statistic from the UR predictions: Sales of UR cobots for integration in OEM solutions grew about 50% in 2022.

2023 Predictions Part 2: How Much we Make

Endeavor Business Media’s Design & Engineering Group, which includes Machine Design, has completed a comprehensive look at salaries and sentiments across all engineering disciplines. The annual Salary & Career Survey e-book is now available for download and review. It looks at the compensation for engineers and industry leaders across a number of fields, and it also assesses their thoughts on the present and future of manufacturing. It’s a valuable reference and resource tool, and it provides a benchmark for your own careers and impressions against tens of thousands of your peers.

2023 Predictions, Part 3: Supply Chain Thinking

We’re applying digital strategies across all aspects of manufacturing, including in the critical areas of supply chain. That topic has become top of mind of the average public, but everyone in manufacturing has been acutely aware of supply chain issues for years. In his predictions for 2023, Nirav Patel, CEO of Bristlecone noted the value of that intersection between supply chain and technology. “It has become an imperative for organizations to employ digital tools for enhanced automation, visibility and resiliency,” Patel noted in a press release.

He cited three specific areas of emphasis: digital twins for supply chains, predictive maintenance and tracking. Of the three, predictive maintenance might seem the least applicable from a supply chain perspective, but as Patel notes, “Supply chain operations become more resilient knowing that all machines and robotics are working efficiently.”

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