ManufacturingStories is a place where everyone can learn about and share information on the many exciting programs available to help revitalize & modernize manufacturing in America and to help bridge the skills gap between education and the workplace.


Looking at the Third Dimension in Surface Measurement

It seems that the subject of 3-D optical surface measurement is all the rage these days. When I work trade shows, a majority of the people who wander into our booth want to know about surface measurement—and a large majority of those want to know about 3-D optical surface measurement. But of those many who are interested, very few are willing or able to actually measure their parts in 3-D, optically or otherwise. The simple fact is that while optical systems have made considerable strides . . .

UR3 table-top robot automates tasks up to 3 kgs

UR3 is our new, smaller table-top robot for light assembly tasks and automated workbench scenarios. The compact table-top robot weighs only 24.3 lbs (11 kg), but has a payload of 6.6 lbs (3 kg), 360-degree rotation on all wrist joints and infinite rotation on the end joint. These unique features make UR3 the most flexible, lightweight, table-top robot to work side-by-side with employees in the market today. It’s an ideal choice for applications that require 6-axis capabilities where size, safety and costs are critical.

The Ever Increasing Role of Robotics in Manufacturing

When was the last time you thought about robotics being used in manufacturing? If the auto industry videos you were shown in high school come to mind, you are not alone. That was historically the most accurate depiction of robotics. However, today's robotics are breaking ground on new technologies and capabilities. The role of the robot is no longer to simply provide the brunt force in manufacturing but to extend and work with humanity to create is superior, usable, and life-sustaining solution. As the role of robotics becomes more prominent, politicians will continue to debate their usefulness and management. However, the role of robotics in manufacturing is here to stay, and manufacturers need to understand how nearly all robotic benefits can be summarized in these two aspects.

Everybody Needs STEM Talent

Evidence of the shortage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) talent in the United States is plentiful. However, in an effort to stop immigration of high-skilled STEM workers, left wing advocates argue that there is no shortage. A new twist to their argument is to claim that STEM graduates do not always go into STEM fields and therefore are not in short supply. This reasoning falls apart rapidly. First, the U.S. Census Bureau definition of STEM graduates and workers, which is used to make this argument, includes psychology and social science majors, which are not what most people think of when considering STEM occupations. But second, it ignores the glaringly obvious point that in today’s technology-driven economy, all sectors and industries-not just those classified as STEM fields-have a growing need for STEM talent.

Making Manufacturing Easier for the Makers

The Innovation Enterprise. Ayah Bdeir and her five-year-old company, littleBits, have become stars of the maker movement by emphasizing simplicity and ease-of-use. The company, which makes color-coded, interchangeable parts that snap together to form ready-to-use electronic circuits, says it is all about “democratizing hardware.” littleBits’ customers—from children to other makers—use the company’s little electronic Lego-like parts to bring intelligence to everyday items, like a door bell that sends a text when it’s rung.