Mechanical Engineering News
“The RISE platform offers a completely new mechanical motion technology that makes electric-powered motor-to-movement solutions possible. It’s a game changer for any manufacturer trying to electrify its heavy machinery.”
Source: RISE Robotics Raises $3 Million in Additional Funding to Drive Forward the Electrification and Sustainability of Heavy Machinery
The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $38 million in funding for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS). The program seeks to design economically attractive Hydrokinetic Turbines (HKT) for tidal and riverine currents.
Source: Department of Energy Announces $38 Million to Support Hydrokinetic Turbine Technology Development
Robots Create Jobs
May 18, 2018
At 309 units per 10,000 employees, robot density in German manufacturing industry is the third highest worldwide. At the same time, the number of people employed in Germany reached 44 million in 2017, the highest figure since reunification. The rapid spread of industrial robots hasn’t made a dent in employment figures: today, new tasks have been created for the workforce alongside once performed by machines. These are the results of the latest study by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
“The results of the ZEW study on the labor market confirm what we are observing in leading industrial nations across the world,” comments Junji Tsuda, president of the International Federation of Robotics. “The modernization of production shifts hazardous, unhealthy and monotonous work to the machines. In the vast majority of cases, only certain activities of a job are automated and not the entire spectrum of an employee’s work.” However, if jobs are cut – the ZEW reports that 5% of employees were replaced within five years – these losses are compensated for by new jobs overall.
In Germany, the rise in the use of machines has allowed employment to grow by 1%. This development looks set to continue in future: based on details from companies surveyed, the ZEW estimates that further automation and digitization in industry will generate a 1.8% rise in employment by 2021.
This development tallies with experience from the 1990s onwards with the computer boom.
The large-scale use of IT in companies did render traditional processing jobs superfluous. But according to calculations by the ZEW, from 1995 to 2011 employment rose by just under 0.2% per year.
The London School of Economics (LSE) recently published a study entitled Robots at Work on the use of industrial robots in 17 developed economies between 1993 and 2007. LSE head of research, Guy Michaels, summarised the key results at a Messe Munich press conference on automatica 2018: “Productivity has improved by around 15% due to industrial robots. At the same time, the proportion of low-skilled labour dropped and pay increased slightly. Industrial robots don’t have any significant impact on the number of employees overall.”
IFR position paper: https://ifr.org/ifr-press-releases/news/position-paper
ZEW survey: https://bit.ly/2qrSBgj
International Federation of Robotics: www.ifr.org
Robots Create Jobs
Stirling Engine Workshop
There is a lot of recent interest in the use of the Stirling engine due to its high efficiency. Stirling-cycle engines were invented in the beginning of 19th century and were commonly used until arrival of Otto cycle engine. Stirling engines are external combustion engines designed as sealed systems with an inert working fluid, usually either helium or hydrogen.
The workshop addresses technical challenges that have delayed adoption of Stirling engine technology:
- Low-leakage piston rings and bearings for operation in the unlubricated working engine space
- Long-term durability/reliability and high cost
- Shaft seals to separate the high pressure hydrogen space from the lubrication in the mechanical drive train
- Minimization of material stress and corrosion in the high temperature/high pressure heater head
- Blockage of fine-meshed heat matrices used in the regenerator assemblies with particles/fines generated through the rubbing action of piston rings
New materials and technologies may breathe new life into the Sterling engine which has unique advantages for applications in the space, auto and marine industries, as well as in distributed power applications.
Attendance to this event is by personal invitation only. We are fully booked, no more registrations accepted. This announcement appears as a matter of record only.
Publications on Sterling engine technology:
- Stirling Engine Market Analysis
- Automotive Stirling Engine, Noel P. Nightinagale
- 5 kWE Free Piston Stirling Engine Convertor, Peter A. Chapman, et al
“ASME’s International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE), the largest interdisciplinary mechanical engineering conference in the world, will be held on November 13-19 in Houston, Texas. IMECE plays a significant role in stimulating innovation and fosters new collaborations that engage stakeholders and partners not only from academia, but also from national laboratories, industry, research settings, and funding bodies. Among the 4,000 attendees from 75+ countries are mechanical engineers in advanced manufacturing…”
Jobs in Mechanical Engineering
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of mechanical engineers in 2016 is about 288,800 for US alone.
“Robotics is all the rage at all technology conventions we visited in 2015 – from CeBit 2015 in Hanover to just wrapped up International Robot Exhibition, displaying miracles of state-of-the-art mechanical engineering, in Tokyo. “
“Pioneering digital technology company ABB today announced a major, new US$150 million investment in Shanghai, China to build the world’s most advanced, automated and flexible robotics factory – a cutting-edge center where robots make robots. The new Kangqiao manufacturing center, near ABB’s expansive China robotics campus, will combine the company’s connected digital technologies, including ABB Ability™ solutions, state-of-the-art mechanical engineering and innovative artificial intelligence research to create the most sophisticated and environmentally sustainable “factory of the future.” It is expected to begin operating by the end of 2020.”
Mechanical Engineering Startups to Watch
Carbon is reinventing how polymer products are designed, engineered, manufactured, and delivered, towards a digital and sustainable future.
Fortify is an advanced manufacturing startup that aims to disrupt additive manufacturing.
Gecko Robotics develops and operates robots to automate infrastructure inspections.
Katerra is a Silicon Valley startup that is redefining the multi-trillion dollar construction industry.
Onshape is the first and only full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team work together.
GrabCAD was founded as a marketplace to connect engineers with CAD-related jobs and evolved into a community for engineers to share CAD models. GrabCAD brought together all the tools for engineers to manage and share CAD files on one platform. In 2014 GrabCAD was acquired by Stratasys, a virtual prototyping company.
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