The opinions of Contributors.

Supply chains: The Missing Link

COVID-19 has dramatically exposed the fragility of today’s ‘just-in-time’ global supply chains. MakerBot’s VP Engineering, Dave Veisz, looks at the lessons learnt.

How micromotors can be used in the agricultural industry

Agriculture is a demanding and developing industry. One farming tractor can now do in a day what used to take 100 people, a week. While the industry is literally, reaping the benefits of demand, this does provoke concerns over pesticide use and soil health. However, farming robots are paving the way to help overcome these concerns.

Amputee bonds with son thanks to 3D printed hand

Danny Florence lost both legs, a hand and most of his fingers, after contracting meningitis at the age of 5. For 21 years he managed adequately with one hand, but when Danny became a father, he realised it had an impact on the bond he had with his son.

The road ahead for commercial vehicle design

Time magazine has announced its Person of the Year for 2019 as Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl who has inspired a global movement to fight climate change. This is a poignant reminder that sustainability and environmental issues will be high on the global agenda in 2020, and the commercial vehicle sector is no exception. Here, Roger Brereton, head of sales at steering system manufacturer Pailton Engineering, explains three commercial vehicle design trends to look out for this year.

Top-level lessons from REO UK’s R30 e-book

In November 2019, power quality specialist REO UK celebrated 30 years of excellence in electrical engineering by releasing its book, R30: The past, present and future of power, on Amazon Kindle. Here, Steve Hughes, managing director of REO UK and author of R30, shares some of the top-level insight explored in the book.

Improved dental tools will provide faster treatment for patients

If you’ve ever suffered from a toothache, you know that the pain it causes can be life-disrupting. Alarmingly, there are growing numbers of people across the UK waiting for dental treatment in pain. The increasing sophistication of micromotors is having a major impact on dentistry, leading to faster and improved treatment. Here, Stewart Goulding, managing director at mechatronic drive system supplier EMS Ltd explains how micromotors are improving patient care.

Busting electric vehicle myths

Following a surprise break into the electric vehicle (EV) market, Dyson’s £2 billion project came to the end of the road in October 2019. As the famed maker of vacuum cleaners and hair dryers failed to find a way to make its project commercially viable, is the EV hype fizzling out? Here, Simone Bruckner, managing director of power resistor manufacturer Cressall Resistors, busts some of the myths in EV uptake.

UPSs and SPDs: A powerful duo in the fight against power outages

Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Wallace and Gromit. In film, the role of the sidekick is crucial in aiding the protagonist to achieve their overall goal. Here, John Mitchell, global sales & marketing director at supply, installation and repair specialist CP Automation, explains the necessity of protecting uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems with a surge protection device (SPD) that accounts for transient surges.

Would you like a side of mould, Sir?

When former Prime Minister, Teresa May, proclaimed that she wasn’t opposed to scraping off mould from the top of a jar of jam and eating the product underneath, it sparked a conversation about what mouldy foods were safe to eat. Here, group vice president food & beverage at ABB, Darcy Simonis, looks at the advancing methods food producers are using to monitor the safety of their products.

Amputee bonds with son thanks to 3D printed bionic hand

For 21 years, Danny Florence has lived with one hand. But when he became a father, he decided to apply for an Open Bionics Hero Arm. With the help of the maxon driven prosthesis he can now build a strong bond with his son.

The real secret to choosing maximum bearing load

We’ve all tried it – carrying all our shopping bags from the weekly food shop into the house in one go, just to avoid an extra trip out to collect the rest. Here, Chris Johnson, managing director of specialist bearing supplier, SMB Bearings, explains a different kind of load – and how a bearings ability to deal with it can help maximise bearing longevity.

Developing the future generation

Engineering is a developing industry, with new skills and processes constantly being established. the same is true for talent in the sector, with more businesses opting to hire apprentices and then mould their skills from within the organisation. here, Miguel Millan, apprentice design engineer at precision drive system manufacturer Electro Mechanical Systems Ltd, discusses his apprenticeship experience.

Why the nuclear sector should adopt plug-and-play wireless technology

From Chernobyl to Fukushima, we all know how disastrous it can be when things go wrong in a nuclear facility. The nuclear industry must follow strict regulations for mission critical safety equipment, like radiological monitors, designed to keep facilities operating safely. Here, Gary Bradshaw, director of remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, discusses the role of plug-and-play wireless technology for radiological monitoring.

Ceramic bearings: Three questions to ask

Back in 2000, scientists discovered zircon in rocks that showed life might have started 500 million years earlier than previously thought. This incredible compound has made a huge impact, as has its oxide, zirconia (ZrO2), used to make full ceramic bearings. Here, Chris Johnson, managing director of specialist bearing supplier, SMB Bearings, explains the three most overlooked factors concerning full ceramic bearings.

What military vehicle OEMs can learn from passenger vehicle production

In contrast to Henry Ford’s model of standardised car production, the introduction of the modern MINI in 2000 shifted customer demands for customisation in passenger vehicles. However, the need for flexible production isn’t solely confined to consumer cars. Roger Brereton of military steering system manufacturer, Pailton Engineering, investigates how military vehicle manufacturers are using flexible production methods to fulfil requirements for customised vehicles.

How chrome steel can fight climate change

Reducing your carbon footprint is like a marathon: dedication and discipline will only get you so far. To get first place, you will need to be efficient in every step you take. Similarly, businesses must strive to be efficient to meet tighter goals to reduce CO2 emissions. Here, Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings, explains how industry can use advanced chrome bearings to go green and, at the same time, reduce electrical consumption.

Robot revolution in materials handling

In June 2019, Amazon revealed that a new range of robots had been adopted in its sorting and distribution facilities, to replace conventional conveyor systems. Here, Michele Windsor, global marketing manager at robot battery specialist Ultralife Corporation, reflects on how robotics manufacturers may need to re-consider their choice of portable power when improving robot designs.

Precision in surgical robots

It’s 10am and even after a long double shift, robo-doc can perform laparoscopic surgery with ultimate precision. The NHS has begun the process of developing a £50m framework for robotic surgical equipment and it’s clear that robots are set to become an integral part of the tools surgeons use. Here, Graham Mackrell, managing director of precision gear specialist Harmonic Drive UK, explores how robots are improving the lives of patients and doctors alike.

RX3i CPU systems replace, streamline 90-30 controllers

They say time equals money, but what about space? Reducing the size and complexity of plant equipment can achieve space and cost savings. Add smart hardware to the mix, however, and it’s possible to enhance process flexibility and performance. Sean Robinson, service leader of automation specialist Novotek UK and Ireland, explains how a popular replacement for decades-old 90-30 systems is realising the idea that ‘space equals money’.

Plug and play technology

When shopping for a new watch, do you prefer a classic face or a smart watch with the latest technology? Sony developed the Wena watch strap so that consumers no longer have to choose one or the other. Similarly, manufacturers no longer have to choose between traditional processes and new technology. Here Jonathan Wilkins, director at industrial automation parts supplier EU Automation explores how plug and play technology can improve productivity.

The rise of recycled bearings

Bearings are circular, much like the economy they are used in. As more customers avoid disposing of bearings needlessly, Chris Johnson, managing director of bearing re-lubricator SMB Bearings, explains the sudden surge in popularity of reusing and recycling ball bearings through relubrication.

How artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things work in harmony

The central nervous system is made up of the brain, the spinal cord and nerves. Your nerves respond to external stimuli, such as temperature or pressure, and transmit signals back to the brain, which decides on the appropriate reaction. In manufacturing, the myriad of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices act as the nerves, measuring parameters and collecting data, but what’s the brains behind the operation? Here Sophie Hand, UK country manager at automation equipment supplier EU Automation, explains how artificial intelligence (AI), might just be the brains we need.

Building a digital twin

Research company Gartner predicts that half of large industrial companies will be using digital twins to improve productivity by 2021. Here Jonathan Wilkins, director at industrial automation parts supplier EU Automation, explains the important factors that manufacturers should consider when building a digital twin.

Weighing up the hybrid bearing debate

The best cyclists have a very special mindset, which allows them to focus on the bike and the road, without distraction, ignoring tailwind, overlooking the rain, appreciating the uphill. These escapes from reality are often beneficial, but there are some misconceptions in cycling that aren’t as helpful. Here Chris Johnson, managing director of bike bearings specialist, SMB Bearings, reveals a few home truths about hybrid bearings