For machine tool history junkies (sadly, the machine tool industry in the U.S. is largely history), I found a marvelous set of historical photos of the Mesta Machine Company in Homestead, Pa. Mesta for decades was largest steel making machine tool company in the world and was located next to U.S Steel’s former Homestead, Pa. Works. It was even on Nikita Kruschev’s itinerary in his visit to the U.S in 1959. Sadly, Mesta like the rest of steel industry in Pittsburgh vanished between 1975-90. It’s assets were acquired by WHEMCO in 1983. The hundreds of photos from the first quarter of the 20th century show what a power Mesta and the U.S. were in steeling making and heavy industry (now there’s a term you don’t hear much any more).
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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