The slew of new features for machine tools is a good sign for manufacturing, which in turn is a good sign for the economy. Siemens must have confidence in the manufacturing sector, or they wouldn't be doing this.
Do these types of systems have any closed-loop control? That is, does the machine respond to cutting conditions based on input from sensors, such as light or thermal? This is a big deal for controlling quality on plastics parts produced in injection molding machines. It's certainly necessary for a nonNewtonian material, but maybe not so much for metals. Research over the years has determiend than in-mold cavity pressure sensors can have a major effect on part quality and repeatability. Cost, of course, is an issue.
Yes, it looks like Siemens does have a rosy outlook for manufacturing. Of course, being a global company, Siemens's view of manufacturing may look different that it does here in the U.S. But even more than a rosy look at manufacturing, I think Siemens has a positive view of automation. As long as automation keeps delivering significant efficiencies it can grow quickly even if manufacturing grows slowly.
I recall a recent post from Alex Wolfe on Siemens doing a lot of hiring in upcoming months--another piece of evidence pointing up its confidence in growth in the manufacturing sector.
As for the slew of new technologies, I'm wondering if there is any tie back or integration between these new machine tool capabilities and its PLM software, particularly the Tecnomatix piece, which is Siemens PLM Software's digital manufacturing platform? I'm thinking there are some strong synergies between both platforms and integration between engineering and the shop floor is a key part of Siemens' PLM story.
I think that kind of 3D is probably a bit out, although likely on the horizon. I'm thinking more like animated work instructions or something similar so operators can get a real sense of how the machine operates or perhaps, is malfunctioning.
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Scientists at four major universities in Europe have released a joint paper describing the use of light to put active materials into motion and to control that motion, producing lifelike mechanisms that may or may not contain living organisms, but can produce useful work.
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