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Category Archives: Robotics

Save over $200 with discounted student tickets to Robotics + AI 2020 – TechCrunch

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 9:54 am

If youre a current student and you love robots and the AI that drives them you do not want to miss out on TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020. Our day-long deep dive into these two life-altering technologies takes place on March 3 at UC Berkeley and features the best and brightest minds, makers and influencers.

Weve set aside a limited number of deeply discounted tickets for students because, lets face it, the future of robotics and AI cant happen without cultivating the next generation. Tickets cost $50, which means you save more than $200. Reserve your student ticket now.

Not a student? No problem, we have a savings deal for you, too. If you register now, youll save $150 when you book an early-bird ticket by February 14.

More than 1,000 robotics and AI enthusiasts, experts and visionaries attended last years event, and we expect even more this year. Talk about a targeted audience and the perfect place for students to network for an internship, employment or even a future co-founder.

What can you expect this year? For starters, we have an outstanding lineup of speaker and demos more than 20 presentations on tap. Lets take a quick look at just some of the offerings you dont want to miss:

Thats just a sample take a gander at the event agenda to help you plan your time accordingly. Well add even more speakers in the coming weeks, so keep checking back.

TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020 takes place on March 3 at UC Berkeley. Its a full day focused on exploring the future of robotics and a great opportunity for students to connect with leading technologists, founders, researchers and investors. Join us in Berkeley. Buy your student ticket today and get ready to build the future.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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Pittsburgh company IAM Robotics is hiring and moving to Strip District’s Robotics Row – NEXTpittsburgh

Posted: at 9:54 am

IAM Robotics robots, dubbed Swift and Bolt, move about the warehouse floor completely on their own.

We have the only robots that can drive around a warehouse and pick up items off of a shelf by themselves, using computer vision and their own ability to see, says IAM Robotics founder Tom Galluzzo. The robots then add those items to a downstream process where they are packed and shipped to customers.

Such is the world of e-commerce which is rapidly changing the way we buy everything. And thats a great opportunity for the robotics company.

The industry is capped out on labor, explains Galluzzo. Theyre leaning heavily on automatic systems and robots to do the work, because theres just not enough people to do it.

IAM Robotics Swift robot. Photo courtesy of IAM Robotics.

The idea for their robots was born, like so many of the companys within Pittsburghs fast-growing robotics cluster, at Carnegie Mellon Universitys National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) in Lawrenceville.

We were working on how you get robots that have hands and arms and eyes to see items and pick them up and move them around, says Galluzzo. We got pretty confident in our ability to do that, even though its a very difficult problem. We started looking for low-hanging fruit, and it led us to e-commerce.

The company is expanding rapidly, moving soon from suburban Sewickley to a new 30,000-square-foot office in the Strip District. Robotics companies have very specific needs that diverge from the typical high-tech office space.

Not only do you need Class A office space for very bright computer scientists writing code, but you need a raw warehouse environment to do testing of the hardware that were developing where youre really using the products youre selling. The startup world calls it eating your own dog food, where you really get a sense of how it works, and come up with a lot of ideas on how to make it better.

IAM Robotics expects to grow its staff now at 55 by 25 to 30 percent. The move will also help with acquiring new talent.

We wanted to be central to everything going on in Lawrenceville and the Strip District, Robotics Row, says Galluzzo. Well be next-door neighbors to NREC. Were attracting a lot of young energetic talented folks from CMU, and thats where everyone wants to be, so were excited to be back there.

IAM Robotics new headquarters in the Strip District. Photo courtesy of IAM Robotics.

Its a familiar area for a lot of companies spun out of CMU. Theres a ton of great amenities, and it has a great energy to it. It has a sense of growth and innovation right now. People want to put their finger on the pulse of that spirit of Pittsburgh.

IAM RoboticsNational Robotics Engineering CenterNRECroboticsrobotsTom Galluzzo

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Global Smart Robots Market 2020-2024| Evolving Opportunities with ABB Ltd. and Amazon.com Inc.| Technavio – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 9:54 am

The global smart robots market is poised to grow by USD 20.28 billion during 2020-2024 during the forecast period. Request free sample pages

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200117005289/en/

Technavio has announced its latest market research report titled global smart robots market 2020-2024 (Graphic: Business Wire)

Read the 164-page report with TOC on "Smart robots Market Analysis Report by geography (APAC, Europe, MEA, North America, and South America), Product (Personal service robots, Professional service robots, and Collaborative robots), Solution (Software, Services, and Hardware), and the Segment Forecasts, 2020-2024".

https://www.technavio.com/report/smart-robots-market-industry-analysis

The market is driven by the increasing focus of companies on factory automation. In addition, the growing demand for smart robots in the automotive industry is anticipated to boost the growth of the smart robots market.

With the aim to improve productivity, enhance product quality, and reduce labor costs, several companies across the world are focusing on automating their manufacturing facilities. As a result, companies are increasingly adopting smart robots, such as collaborative robots and professional robots, which are equipped with advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and analytics. Collaborative robots can perform tasks such as order pick and place, packaging and palletizing, machine tending, and quality inspections. Moreover, the decision-making capabilities of AI-enabled smart robots also helps solve issues that occur in assembly and manufacturing processes. Therefore, the increasing focus on factory automation will drive the smart robots market during the forecast period.

Buy 1 Technavio report and get the second for 50% off. Buy 2 Technavio reports and get the third for free.

View market snapshot before purchasing

Major Five Smart Robots Companies:

ABB Ltd.

ABB Ltd. has business operations under three segments comprising of electrification products, robotics and motion, and industrial automation. The company offers YuMi, which is the company's first-generation cage-less collaborative robot with dual arms that include flexible hands, parts, and feeding systems.

Amazon.com Inc.

Amazon.com Inc. operates its business through three segments, which include North America, International, and AWS. The company offers smart robots such as Scout, Xanthus, and Pegasus.

FANUC Corp.

FANUC Corp. offers smart robots such as Paint Robot P-250iB/15, FANUC Robot CRX-10iA, FANUC Robot SR-3iA / SR-6iA / SR-12iA, FANUC Robot ARC Mate 100iD, and FANUC Robot R-2000iD. In March 2018, FANUC upgraded and launched an enhanced version of its simulation software. The company launched ROBOGUIDE Version 9, a 3D simulation software that can be used for controlling the motion of smart robots.

iRobot Corp.

iRobot Corp. offers smart robots for vacuum cleaning and mopping. The products include Roomba and Braava smart robots. In June 2019, the company acquired Root Robotics Inc. (Root Robotics) to expand its educational robot product offerings.

KION Group AG

KION Group AG has business operations under two segments, namely industrial trucks and services, and supply chain solutions. The company offers robotic systems such as Egv Compact, Standard Egv, Hybrid Egv, Custom Egv, and Etow systems.

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Technavio has segmented the smart robots market based on the product and region.

Smart Robots Product Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2020 - 2024)

Smart Robots Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Billion, 2020 - 2024)

Technavios sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple sections of the report, such as the market size and forecast, drivers, challenges, trends, and more. Request a free sample report

About Technavio

Technavio is a leading global technology research and advisory company. Their research and analysis focus on emerging market trends and provides actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and develop effective strategies to optimize their market positions.

With over 500 specialized analysts, Technavios report library consists of more than 17,000 reports and counting, covering 800 technologies, spanning across 50 countries. Their client base consists of enterprises of all sizes, including more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. This growing client base relies on Technavios comprehensive coverage, extensive research, and actionable market insights to identify opportunities in existing and potential markets and assess their competitive positions within changing market scenarios.

If you are interested in more information, please contact our media team at media@technavio.com

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200117005289/en/

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Technavio ResearchJesse MaidaMedia & Marketing ExecutiveUS: +1 844 364 1100UK: +44 203 893 3200www.technavio.com

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Global Smart Robots Market 2020-2024| Evolving Opportunities with ABB Ltd. and Amazon.com Inc.| Technavio - Yahoo Finance

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Lego Education launches Spike Prime to teach engineering and robotics to kids – Space.com

Posted: at 9:54 am

Lego Education is launching a new line to teach engineering and robotics concepts to kids in a celebration of sorts for the STEAM-focused toy division's 40th anniversary.

Called Spike Prime, the new education system is aimed at students ages 10 and up, from sixth to eighth grade. Lego Education, an education-focused division of the iconic building toy manufacturer, first announced the system last April and is rolling it out today (Jan. 14).

"Essentially, it is a Lego kit," Sid Muthyala, a senior concept designer for Spike Prime, told Space.com. "It's a tool box with a lot of Lego elements, a lot of bricks to build with. What we're adding to the set, along with the physical tools, is the hardware."

That means these aren't Lego kits you'll find at your local toy shop or department store. They're aimed at educators looking to incorporate hands-on STEAM concepts in the classroom.

Related: 25 Lego Sets You Need In Your Collection

Lego Education is launching Spike Prime, a new educational system to teach robotics, engineering and other STEM concepts to middle school students.

Lego Education celebrates 40 years of inspiring students to study the world with Spike Prime, a set aimed at middle school students designed to engage kids in engineering, math and science concepts.NOTE: The two robots on the far right are part of our own challenge.

Spike Prime combines vibrant Lego Technic system elements, motors, sensors and the Scratch programming language to teach science and engineering concepts. Thirty two lesson plans in four teaching units are available in a free app.

Each Spike Prime set is designed for use by up to three kids, so a classroom would need multiple sets for larger groups. The kit includes 528 pieces, including 11 new elements like bright purple "biscuit" pieces and a Technic base plate that allows building in any direction.

The multi-port Hub here is the brain of the Spike Prime set. The hub can be programmed to display different light-up shapes and control motors and sensors attached by cables.

This "Weather Guy" is one of several builds for students to try. here, the hub is programmed to describe the weather in different cities. The umbrella hints at a chance of rain.

A breakdancing robot controlled by the colored bricks in front is one of the standout projects in Spike Prime. Students can program hip, leg and arm movements using Scratch in the Spike Prime app, and then control when movements start and stop with the bricks and color sensor head.

This grabber device is one of two invention builds designed to show students different solutions for litter cleanup around a school. Another design sports a robot-like claw.

This rhino-looking model carries a force pressure sensor (front) sensitive to up to 10 Newtons (1 force-kg) for programming projects.

I put together this rover as part of a mobility challenge in Spike Prime, with some key help from Lego Education's Sid Muthyala. The goal: design a robot that can move forward for two seconds.

This arm-walking robot shows a different solution for the same robot mobility challenge.

Each Spike Prime kit sells for $329.95 and can be used by two or three kids in a class setting to solve engineering, programming and other challenges from one of 32 different lesson plans. Those lesson plans are organized in four teaching units with names like Kickstarter Business or Invention Squad, and are included in a free Spike Prime app. Programming commands are set using the Scratch coding language.

"The themes we're choosing, we're trying to be relevant to kids today," Muthyala said. "So it's not just 'Hey, learn about motions and forces,' but let's try and use inventions, and then try and teach them motions and mechanics."

The set comes with 528 pieces in range of shapes and vibrant colors, three motors, three sensors, a series of data cables and a yellowmulti-port Hub that serves as the brain of the set. The Hub can carry multiple programs and be commanded to light up and play sounds.

Spike Prime also includes 11 completely new Lego elements, including a Technic base plate that allows building in all directions, new wheel designs and an odd, purple 3x3 Technic brick called a "biscuit" to allow more connections for challenges.

Those challenges can range from building a "Weather Guy" robot, complete with sunglasses and an umbrella, and linking it with weather data from different cities, to programming a robot to dance on command using colored bricks. There are also sensors that can track color, distance and pressure to allow kids to design robots with different functions.

Related: Lego's Epic Apollo 11 Lunar Lander Set in Photos!

Some building challenges include a handheld grabber tool, a grasshopper-like insect, a rhino-like pressure sensor bot and my personal favorite a breakdancing robot that can move its hips, legs and arms separately depending on how students program it. But each of the lesson plans is designed to take about 45 minutes, including time for cleaning up.

I took one Spike Prime challenge to design a robot capable of moving itself forward for two seconds. Muthyala programmed that action in the Spike Prime app using scratch, and it was up to me to add pieces to a hub equipped with two motors to make the robot.

Once my robot was moving, Muthyala shared a student-design creation that used arms instead of wheels to pull itself along.

"So the idea is, we both used the exact same thing, a hub and two motors, but now we have two different ways of moving your creatures," he said. "Now imagine that in a classroom with 20 setsand 20 students. We've done this several time and there's 20 different ways of moving, just by trial and error."

Spike Prime fills a middle-school niche for Lego STEAM robotics, falling between the Lego Education's WeDo 2.0 system for elementary school students and the more advanced Mindstorms system for secondary and high school students.Lego Education has also released an expansion set with more pieces for Spike Prime and has a Competition Ready teaching unit for use with the FIRST Lego League and World Robot Olympiad competitions.

"As an educator who is always trying to find new ways to teach STEAM topics, I'm excited about Lego Education Spike Prime because it fits in with the maker mindset and creative elements that help get students at all levels involved and hands-on in the classroom," Jon Bishop, a K-12 STEM coordinator for Canton Public School District in Connecticut and a Lego Master Educator, said in a statement.

And that's the point, Muthyala said.

Lego Education stands apart from Lego's entertainment toy division precisely because it aims to engage kids in the world around them. That was true in 1980, when Lego Education was founded, and the mission has evolved over the last four decades.

The first STEAM and robotics elements arose 20 years ago with Mindstorms, Muthyala said. The challenge today is to prepare kids for the technologies and concepts they'll need once they leave school.

"I think for us, we've always been an education company," he said. "For 40 years now, we've been doing hands-on learning."

Email Tariq Malik attmalik@space.comor follow him@tariqjmalik. Follow us@SpacedotcomandFacebook.

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Lansingburgh to host 5th Annual Bots Take Burgh VEX Robotics Competition – Troy Record

Posted: at 9:54 am

TROY, N.Y. The 5th Annual Bots Take Burgh VEX Robotics Competition is right around the corner

On Saturday, Jan. 25, in the Lansingburgh High School Gym as students from multiple school districts will gather for the 5th Annual Bots Take Burgh VEX Robotics Competition.

More than 50 school teams will be there for an action-packed day of competition, battling one other with robots created from VEX EDR robotics components.

Students compete in VEX Robotics Competition Tower Takeover, scoring goals with multi-colored cubes. Tower Takeover was developed by VEX Robotics, Inc. and the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation, leaders in educational and competitive robotics.

Bots Take Burgh is one in a series of tournaments supported by the REC Foundation and various national, regional and local sponsors.

Winners of the Lansingburgh competition earn a bid in the New York State Championships this March in Syracuse.

This year's competition is sponsored by Jimmys Pizza, U.W. Marx, Troy PBA, Troy Uniformed Firefighters Association, Lansingburgh Teachers Association, and Lansingburgh Board of Education.

The robotics competition season culminates in April with the top-performing local and state VEX Robotics Competition teams competing at VEX Worlds in Louisville, KY.

At the world competition, exemplary teams challenge top-ranked peers from over 30 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

5th Annual Bots Take Burgh schedule:

Saturday, Jan. 25

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Mazor Robotics $1.6 billion acquisition is ‘beginning to pay off,’ Medtronic CEO says – CNBC

Posted: at 9:54 am

Medtronic's acquisition of Israeli robotic surgical equipment maker Mazor Robotics is in the early innings of success, CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC on Tuesday.

"It's only beginning to pay off," he said in a sit-down with Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. "We're delighted with the results that we're seeing and our spine business this last year ever since I've been here has had its strongest year, and the robot has played a big role in that."

Medtronic, the medical equipment company based in Ireland, paid out $1.64 billion in late 2018 for Mazor Robotics, which builds spine and brain surgical guidance systems for minimally invasive procedures. Medtronic bought out remaining interest in the firm after a 2016 partnership gave it an 11% share in Mazor.

Medtronic's spine division is within its Restorative Therapies Group, which includes brain, specialty and pain therapies. Revenue in the spine business improved 5.5% to $692 million in the quarter that ended in October. Medtronic also attributed growth in its brain therapies segment to robotics.

Ishrak, who is retiring as Medtronic chief in April, said the robotic-assisted guidance systems are being used in "most major centers" in the United States, but he did not go into details. At the health-care conference in San Francisco, Medtronic said it expects its minimally invasive therapies operations to grow by as much as 150 basis points in the 2022 fiscal year and by as much as 250 basis points by the 2023 fiscal year with the help of its robotic-assisted surgery platform.

The minimally invasive business is projected to reach $10.3 billion by the end of the 2023 fiscal year, up from about $8.5 billion last year, according to FactSet.

"The desire for that is pretty high, but most importantly what it does is it makes the procedures consistent" and "we're integrating it with other technologies, such as our navigation system and eventually our imaging system," Ishrak explained in the interview. "There's a spinal robot, we're also working on a general surgery robot, there's a cranial robot [and] there will be others."

Medtronic has focused on making acquisitions to shore up its minimally invasive and robotic surgery device business. The goal is to stave off growing competition in the cardiac and vascular space, where the company deals in stents and heart pumps.

When Ishrak retires at the end of the current fiscal year on April 27, he will retain his seat as chairman of the board and add the title of executive chairman of Medtronic. Since he took the helm of chief in June 2011, Medtronic stock has risen nearly 208% to date, from about $38 a share to $117.04 as of Tuesday's close. The company mandates that its executives retire at age 65.

Ishrak told Cramer his legacy is defined by the patient base of 75 million people served the prior fiscal year and the team that he worked with.

"When I started, the [patient] number was more like 20 million a year. So just watching that and the impact that has had on people is a huge thing, and I think the company's positioned to extend that further," he said.

Speaking of his successor, Geoff Martha, who currently heads the Restorative Therapies Group, Ishrak said, "I think if he can keep that, sustain it and grow it, that's all I need."

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Fitzsimons connects love of robotics and skeleton | News, Sports, Jobs – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Posted: at 9:54 am

Teddy Fitzsimons trains at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 on Jan. 14 in Lausanne, Switzerland.(Provided photo OIS/IOC)

For Teddy Fitzsimons, sport has been a passion since he could remember. He tried them all: wrestling, gymnastics, track, cross-country, baseball, football, lacrosse and soccer.

But it wasnt until his favorite sport wrestling was no longer an option that he found his new love. His high school didnt have a wrestling team during the winter, which left Fitzsimons looking for an activity to expend his energy.

Thats where skeleton comes into play.

I started skeleton as an accident, Fitzsimons said.

An accident in his mind, but maybe his mother always saw this happening. Skeleton is a family affair, as his mom was a skeleton athlete who competed on the world cup circuit some years ago. According to Fitzsimons, she would have made it to the Olympics, but her event was not included on the Olympic program.

My mom did skeleton so she kind of dangled the idea in front of me, Fitzsimons said. I went up to Lake Placid later that year and tried skeleton.

He attended a training camp, and a few months later, he returned to Lake Placid to slide for a week. After that, he made the team and was hooked on the adrenaline the sport brought.

Ill never forget the first time I tried skeleton, Fitzsimons said. It was absolutely terrifying. I remember I hit one wall and all the alerts in my body went up.

But when I finished the run, I was like, I have to do this again. I want to do this without it being terrifying. So I did it for about a week and finally I overcame my fears of the sport and it became really fun.

Fitzsimons has been hooked ever since. Though his passion for the sport is evident, Fitzsimons admitted that he does not get to the track as often as he would like. As a teenager living in Manhattan, making the trek to Lake Placid is not as easy for him as others.

Im out-experienced by most of the athletes, so Im really doing everything I can to get up to their level, Fitzsimons said.

Because his time on the track is less than his teammates and competitors, Fitzsimons, who has only been consistently sliding for one year, has turned to his passion for robotics to help give him an edge over others.

Robotics helps because it ties in with engineering, and I love to work on my sled, Fitzsimons said. Since Im not the strongest, fastest, biggest or have the most experience, what Im really focusing on is perfecting my sled. In my opinion, thats the best way I can really catch up to the people here. Connecting robotics and engineering helps.

Before coming to St. Moritz, Switzerland, to compete in the Winter Youth Olympic Games, Fitzsimons said there were three nights in a row while he was training in Lake Placid that he did not go to bed until three in the morning because he was tuning and adjusting his sled.

One item Fitzsimons has been working on lately is the structure of his saddle, which is the part of the sled that holds a riders body in place. The saddle had been irritating his ribs during some runs, so he turned to his passion for robotics to try to fix the issue.

Robotics is, in my opinion, problem solving, Fitzsimons said. When youre doing robotics, youre not looking at an instruction manual. Its the same thing with making your sled. Its trial and error, so youll adjust one thing about your sled, try it out the next day, and it might not work. So youll go back the next night, undo it and make another change. It teaches you the importance of working on your equipment.

For Fitzsimons, combining his passion for robotics and skeleton is a perfectly intertwined way to help give him an edge. While he self-admittingly is not the fastest athlete with the most experience, it is the burning desire to better his sled and himself so he can show the world what he is made of. He will get that chance on Monday, Jan. 20, when skeleton competes in St. Moritz.

I dont get pushed around much, and when people dont believe in me, thats really where I step up and believe in myself, he said.

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576th AMXS leverages robotic paint stripping technology on A-10 Lightn – Robins Rev Up

Posted: at 9:54 am

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) --

Robotic media blasting used to strip paint from fighter aircraft such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been around at Hill Air Force Base for more than three decades. Now, the technology is being used for the first time to remove paint from the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

The 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron is upgrading its traditional manual media blast paint removal process by using new-generation robots to strip the paint from A-10s that come to the base for depot overhaul and maintenance.

All aircraft require regular exterior maintenance to protect their metal surfaces from corrosion due to moisture and the harsh environments in which they continually operate.

The process is expected to reduce the man-hours it takes to strip paint from the aircraft and increase safety by removing employees from the blasting atmosphere, resulting in measurable time and costs savings.

There are going to be across-the-board improvements including a dramatic reduction in exposure to a Hexavalent Chromium dust environment. This is perhaps the greatest benefit to the robotic system, said Tim Randolph, 576th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director. Savings will also be seen with reduced operating time and less power consumption, as well as reduced costs in material. We really havent found a downside to this system.

James Gill, Corrosion Control flight chief for the 576th AMXS, said while the traditional manual media blast process is effective, its labor intensive, requiring teams of workers at least three full days to complete.

The new paint-removal process is accomplished by two robots, each with four hose attachments that move independently along both sides of the aircraft. In addition, the time to strip an A-10 is decreased from three days to 9-12 hours.

Compared to the manual paint-stripping method, the robots use half the amount of blast media at half of the air pressure, while removing an extremely precise thickness, uniformly, across the entire aircraft surface, Gill said. This translates into a process that is less stressful on the aircraft skins and saves money in media cost, while creating only half the waste stream.

In addition to the robotics process, a new laser-burn process is currently being tested and used on F-16s with proven success. However, the squadron is still maturing the process, and hopes to apply this process to the A-10s in the future.

By using new robotic technology, the squadron is expanding its capacity by adding capability.

Randolph said each of three processes have different capabilities and inherent limitations, but combined together, can reduce the total time an aircraft spends in depot maintenance and helps return it to the warfighter faster.

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DHL: driving global standardisation of operations with Robotics – Supply Chain Digital – The Procurement & Supply Chain Platform

Posted: at 9:54 am

When it comes to standardisation and optimisation Oscar de Bok, CEO of DHL Supply Chain, highlights the need for flexible solutions when battling todays supply chains that continue to grow in complexity.

De Bok emphasises that with a large global company such as DHL, the importance of having a strategy that utilises digitalisation and collaborative robotics is crucial for enhancing value, and ensuring its workforce is unified and connected. Standardisation of our processes is how we improve and is therefore a very important part. It starts with having the best people, then having standardised processes around the globe, to then making our customers aware and want to grow with us. Because the more we grow with our customers, the more opportunities we can provide, notes de Bok.

DHL has recently come to the end of its 2020 strategy, but has long-term strategies that look to as far as 2050. DHL is currently driving its 2025 strategy that focuses on delivering excellence in a digital world, as part of its strategy the company plans to invest US$2.2bn into digitalisation and robotics.

The future is exciting. The future is about innovation and making sure we continuously improve. We believe to be truly innovative, an idea has to be rolled out throughout the entire organisation, says de Bok. To accelerate growth and drive disruption, we are not going to wait for customers to tell us what will happen tomorrow, we will tell our customers.

Flow is everything in a supply chain environment, comments Markus Voss, CIO and COO of DHL Supply Chain. When you look at supply chain and logistics, we are at the brink of a major disruption. It is exciting to be in this industry at this moment in time, because we can shape the future. Markus Kckelhaus, VP Innovation and Trend Research at DHL, also adds that in a McKinsey study it was highlighted that 60% of potential digitalisation revenue is coming from the supply chain industry. With this in mind, DHL has been striving to change their whole paradigm, investing in a central team to drive productisation of technologies relevant for all sites.

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We have identified the key characteristics of innovative technologies and how they fit into our 2,000 sites globally, says Voss, with this method DHL has developed a standardised and structured process that drives optimised innovation, right now, we have more than 2,000 initiatives which we feel are ready to be rolled out.

Robotic and RPA innovations DHL has currently implemented to standardise its processes and increase productivity and efficiency include, goods to person robots and follow me robots to assist with the picking and transporting of products to reduce the miles covered by associates. In addition, DHL has also implemented wrapping robots reducing physical work; wearable devices to replace traditional barcode readers and picking devices; autonomous forklifts for moving pallets in warehouses; Neo Avidbots (cleaning robots) reducing unsociable and repetitive tasks and Sawyer robots (robotic arms) to reduce repetitive packing tasks. Inside these innovations is intuitive software, developed by DHL and its partners, which Voss believes will help to drive efficiency when it comes to the adoption of innovative technology. Ultimately, DHL aims to substitute its manual and repetitive tasks that add limited value to the company and to its associates satisfaction, with algorithms and robotics to improve the flow within its warehouses.We want every site, customer and employee to feel that a digital supply chain is actually a reality and that we're driving this very hard, comments Voss.

When it comes to standardisation, Voss highlight that it is a double edged sword. Robotics and RPA is extremely important when it comes to standardising physical operations within warehousing and logistics, but equally in order to achieve this standardisation of warehouse operations, backend software needs to also be standardised in order to truly see the benefits. All the amazing innovations that you see in terms of robotics is nothing without the intelligence and the software that is driving the decision making and that is innovating robots to where we need them to be, says Voss. This industry has been known to be a cottage industry, with each side of an operation being slightly different and running on slightly different systems. With the advancement of innovative technology such as robotics and automation it is very clear that the more standardised you are the easier it is to drive innovation through your operations. We have been putting a lot of effort in the last five years into the standardisation of our backend systems so that all sites are running on the same software and processes, making it much easier to connect robotic platforms and other innovative technologies, concludes Voss.

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DHL: driving global standardisation of operations with Robotics - Supply Chain Digital - The Procurement & Supply Chain Platform

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Here Come the (Snow-Fighting) Robots – Twin Cities Business Magazine

Posted: at 9:54 am

Isnt it time the robots helped out with snow removal?

As Minnesotans brace for another round of snowfall this weekend, a group of enterprising college students are preparing for the 10th annual Autonomous Snowplow Competition.

On Saturday, ten teams from seven universities in snowy locales will converge on the Dunwoody College of Technology campus to show off their snow-plowing robots. Its the first time the event is being held on Dunwoodys campus.

The robots are tasked with plowing snow with no direct human control. There are two rounds: First, the teams machines must plow a single I-shaped path on a Dunwoody parking lot. Then, the robots must plow two parallel paths. Judges will evaluate how each machine performed and select winners, who will receive a share of prize money to further develop their technology.

Dunwoody has three teams in the competition this year. Theyll face off against teams from the University of Minnesota, North Dakota State University, University of Michigan, Case Western Reserve University in Ohio, Lake Area Technical Institute in South Dakota, and Quebecs Laval University.

Dunwoody College student Hannah McCarthy, who participated in last years competition in Toronto, says her team has been working on their robot since September. This year, she says the team added a wobble stick limit switch, which tells the robot when to turn and when to back up. McCarthy is in her final semester for her associate's degree in automated systems and robotics.

The teams are permitted to use a range of navigation-aiding systems around the snow fields to help plow, according to the competitions rulebook.

The annual event is held by the nonprofit Institute of Navigation Inc. Saturdays event, which kicks off at 8 a.m., is free and open to the public.

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