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Machine Design Tips the Hat to Contributors of Note in 2023

Dec. 20, 2023
Catch up on technology updates you’ve been meaning to read about all year. Links are provided at your fingertips.

Machine Design regularly accepts industry submissions under the umbrella of “from our industry to yours.”  

While the publication receives scores of submissions and pitches from industry insiders, few qualify for space on our print and online pages. Some contributors hit the mark with a one-off topic, while others return time and again with content that meet the mark.

Presented below is a limited curation of feature stories, listicles and industry briefs straddling topical themes covered in 2023—ranging from robotics and artificial intelligence, to advances in medical device design and applications. 

Catch up on what you’ve missed or need to revisit over this Holiday Season by clicking through to read samplings contributed by industry insiders. Then, connect with us to let us know what you would like to see more of in 2024. 

1. Servo Motors, Lasers, Embedded Systems, Cobots and More

Emily Newton, a technology and industrial journalist and editor-in-chief of Revolutionized, had her finger on the pulse when she pitched the idea that maintenance of servo motors is an often-overlooked task in the overall health of robotic systems. Newton noted that servo motors are more prone to failure than other components. “As a critical moving part, these technologies encounter high movement speeds, heavy physical loads and long operation times, leading to more wear-and-tear,” said Newton, who regularly covers stories about warehousing, logistics and distribution. 

Newton also has a penchant for providing holistic views and end-to-end impacts of product and systems design. She demonstrated this in an article on why industrial laser is a popular option for accomplishing many manufacturing process goals. 

Explore more topics from Newton:

2. Finding Fresh Applications for Your Technology Through Collaborative Automation 

Kristian Hulgard can tell a good story, especially as it relates to the use of collaborative robots. Chalk it up partly to the fact that he is general manager of OnRobot Americas, where he has honed his experience in industrial automation industry. Hulgard’s most recent submission is framed around the use of cobots to augment labor shortages in the potato industry. He described how a cobot solved a palletizing problem that could accommodate a small installation footprint and large work envelope that the farmer needed. 

“The cobot can stack two pallets at once (one on either side of the robot), reaching easily from floor to ceiling, and actually taking up about 18 fewer inches than having workers in that area,” wrote Hulgard. 

But that’s not even the innovative part. Read the article to learn about a pioneering approach the project’s integrator, WeAssistBots, took by mounting two OnRobot 2FGP20 electric finger grippers on the cobot arm to handle the 52.5-lb boxes. 

Links to Hulgard’s stories:

3. AI is Everywhere and Affects Adaptive Design

Eric Whitley, the director of Smart Manufacturing at L2L, is a long-time leader in the manufacturing space whose perspectives are no doubt influenced by previous roles leading the Total Productive Maintenance effort at Autoliv ASP and serving as an adjunct faculty member in the Management Certification programs at The Ohio State University. Check out Whitley’s perspectives on why cobots are becoming a mainstay in the automotive industry or why connected worker technology enhanced by AI will spur adaptive design. 

Read Whitley’s articles here:

4. Reshaping the Industrial Landscape

Tara Van Geons, business group marketing manager for Motion, whose listicle on emergent robotics will help you sift through various categories and applications for robotics that will help manufacturers optimize operations. From collaborative, to mobile, swarm and vision-guided robots, these solutions have become part and parcel of industrial automation, she said. 

Link to Van Geon’s story:

5. How Advancements in MedTech, Robotics and Laser Welding Influence the Future of Healthcare

Uncover the multiple effects that smart technologies have on healthcare. Protolabs became a regular contributor in 2023 with a string of submissions that keep us informed about additive manufacturing. Rob Young, a senior injection molding product leader at Protolabs, explained how the company helped improve the wheelchair user’s experience by merging rider intent and independence with the protection and assistance provided by LUCI, an attachable accessory system that brings smart technology to power wheelchairs for stability, security and connectivity.

In a similar vein, Thomas Renner, who writes on building, construction, engineering and other trade industry topics, described how Dynamic Devices AG of Switzerland developed a robotic system that tracks, analyzes and visualizes the interaction of an individual’s central and peripheral nervous system with their lower extremities. The article showed why the design of a training robot included lube-free bearings to ensure suitability for applications in clean environments.

Laser plastic welding has grown in popularity for medical applications because it reliably joins a wide range of materials, including dissimilar materials. Emerson’s global product manager for Branson laser welding, Priyank Kishor, enlightened readers about an unwelding technique in a feature story about using laser technology to reheat the delicate assembly of a rejected part and reusing the components in another part. 

Read the articles:

Machine Design thanks all contributors who keep the wheels in motion all year round. Send your story ideas and article pitches to Rehana Begg, editor-in-chief, at [email protected].

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