Blogs

The opinions of Contributors.


Four questions to ask before choosing a drivetrain for heavy industries

When it comes to performance and durability, not all power and motion transmission solutions are created equal. Harsh environmental conditions in certain markets, such as the metallurgical and marine sectors, can heavily damage the drivetrain. In these cases, exceptional performance, durability and reliability are essential.


More robots, more problems

Relax; count backwards from ten, the robot will see you now; these are hardly the reassuring words you need to hear while in the operating theatre. The surge in surgical robots is coming, but with more robots comes more problems. Harmonics and electromagnetic interference are just two factors that are detrimental to safe working environments when operating that need to be eradicated. Here, Steve Hughes, managing director of power quality specialist REO UK, explains the need for a robust infrastructure when using these devices.


The changing face of design and research

The relationship between design and research is changing. From Bell Labs onward, in-house corporate research was once a major method for companies to invest in creating long-term value. But that approach is changing as more large companies increasingly rely on acquisition of venture-funded companies for innovation rather than in-house R&D. With a maturing start-up ecosystem, large companies with money to spend can let investors and founders take innovation risks first, rather than taking those risks themselves.


Time to start getting over Brexit?

Times are changing for the UK and its place in manufacturing, globally. Whilst the politicians still have yet to agree a set source and it is unclear what the exact nature and repercussions of Brexit will be, it’s clear that manufacturers and supply chains as a whole are starting to take urgent steps to mitigate risks. Whatever the deal (or no deal) it’s almost inconceivable that there’s not going to be any disruption in the coming months and years. So, what can we do about it?



The rise of quantum technologies will bring a huge impact on our lives

The rise of quantum technologies will bring a huge impact on all our lives. In the future we will have navigation systems that can operate when GPS satellites are hidden from view and cameras that are so sensitive they can see light scattered by objects round a corner. Plus, security: we’ll have new techniques to secure information in a world of ever evolving threats.


5 product design trends to keep an eye on in 2019

Rapid advances in technology mean that the people behind the scenes need to make sure that the practices they engage in are keeping up. Individuals who focus on product design need to be sure that they are staying abreast with the latest capabilities and trends: whether that means leveraging new technologies such as additive manufacturing or digital twin or improving collaboration to improve the product development process.



Ready Engineer One

The computer games generation was always a refence to teenagers… well it was in the ‘80s and '90s (to save you looking it up, the ZX Spectrum was first launched in the UK in 1982). It’s no surprise then that most engineers working now are comfortable with digital interface technology and that the latest developments in Augmented Reality have quickly been applied to making improvements on the factory floor.


Extracting the benefits of customised chain solutions

Many machines are completely reliant upon chains for their operation, so it makes sense to use the best chain possible and to get specialist advice when specifying a new or replacement chain. Derek Mack, UK sales director for Tsubaki, the world’s leading manufacturer of industrial drive chain, how a custom solution will often provide the best fit and deliver Total Cost of Ownership savings.



Laudable ambition

A sense of sad inevitability greeted the announcement on December 7 that the Bloodhound Project, which started life 10 years ago, had finally been axed.


Cyber-security in the emerging digital world

It seems a long time ago now since various malware attacks on the operational layer changed the security landscape and highlighted vulnerabilities in the de-facto automation architecture. However, as we move along the road towards Smart Manufacturing with a view to improving efficiency, productivity and reliability of supply using the principles of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the subject of cyber-security is becoming arguably even more important.


Cutting complexity at the edge

The edge is top-of-mind for many IT and OT professionals across a wide range of industries and sectors. This interest is driven by the need to use data more effectively to maintain operations, optimise performance and increase uptime.


Addressing aging workforce issues with new technologies

Perhaps the world’s best predictive maintenance system is in place at a large petrochemical complex in the Ship Channel area of Houston. This system, however, isn’t a piece of software. Instead, it’s a reliability and maintenance engineer, let’s call him Carl, with 40 plus years of experience. His story was related to me at a recent industry event, and he’s responsible for optimising maintenance of 150 critical pumps.


Industrial robots access AI via the cloud

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a cloud-based solution for pro-active maintenance based on the AI platform within IBM Watson, which enables the smart analysis of operational data to predict and highlight future maintenance requirements.


The decommissioning dividend

The cover story of Eureka’s September issue looks at the programme to decommission the UK’s legacy nuclear power plant, with particular emphasis on the opportunities this creates for engineering innovation.


3D printing materials: Sustainable or not?

Among the various innovations that the profession of design engineering has experienced in recent times, the marvel of Additive Manufacturing (AM) is perhaps the one with the most influential nature. Here, Melissa Albeck, CEO of online materials database Matmatch, explores the latest developments in the industry and how environmentally sustainable AM actually is.


Design matters…

It would be nice to think that the value of design to the UK’s economy would not need highlighting. However, the reality is that it is often a misunderstood concept and consequently underappreciated.



Is the Medical Device Regulation a threat to additive manufacturing?

When the European Union’s (EU’s) Medical Device Regulation (MDR) was first introduced in 2017, it set in motion a three-year countdown to its full application in 2020. The MDR could drastically impact the way that medical devices are made in the EU, particularly those that are produced using additive manufacturing (AM). Here Bryan Austin, general manager of global engineering company, Renishaw’s Medical and Dental Products Division gives his advice on how companies in the AM industry should handle the MDR.


Electrifying vehicle technologies

Despite appearing to be a modern phenomenon, the first electric vehicle took to the road in 1832 and in 1899, outselling all other available options, including steam and gasoline powered vehicles. Since 1935, with the invention of the internal combustion engines, gasoline-powered vehicles have become the popular choice. This changed in 2016, which saw a record in the sale of electric vehicles worldwide, with 750,000 cars sold.


How thin cell batteries are revolutionising industry

In 2011, Chinese engineers claimed to have made the world’s first shrinking device. While it may sound like it came from a film, the device only creates the illusion of a smaller object, rather than actually shrinking it. Illusions aside, it is clear that devices in the electronics sector are continuing to get smaller. Here, J.D. DiGiacomandrea, applications engineering manager at global battery manufacturer Ultralife Corporation looks at how thin cell batteries are revolutionising a number of industrial sectors.


Should robots pay taxes?

Robot tax? A tax on robotics is as absurd an idea as a tax on pencils. As Britain’s political parties discuss a potential tax on automation and robotics, Nigel Smith, managing director of Toshiba Machine partner, TM Robotics, explains why slowing down the machine economy would lead to a productivity disaster.


How will surgical robots change hospital power requirements?

In January 2018, the NHS invited companies to tender for a contract to provide £300m worth of surgical robots to surgeries across the UK. With it now only a matter of time before robots become commonplace in UK hospitals, Steve Hughes, managing director of medical power component manufacturer REO UK, explores the power demands they will bring with them.