Supplier Spotlight

Video Exclusives

Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

gtr

The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

gtr

Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


Click here/on image to watch video

In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

Web Exclusives

« back to listing

Intelligent robots: should we be scared?

As increasingly sophisticated levels of automation are utilized in manufacturing plants, do we need to fear the intelligence behind these robotic workforces?

Mark Proctor, European Automation

 

In 1942 science fiction writer, Isaac Asimov bestowed upon the world The Three Laws of Robotics in his collection of short stories I, Robot. This was the basis for a reasonably successful film by the same name that you might have seen.

Without the comforting knowledge of the three laws, the idea of sentient machines would undoubtedly keep many of us up all night. Instead however, safe in the knowledge that, thanks to the first law, a robot may not harm a human being, the dawn of the smart factory can be greeted with open arms instead of terrified screams.

In the 1980s, American carmakers feared they might be completely wiped out by cheaper and more efficient Japanese competitors. This led to car manufacturers in Motor City, Detroit, envisioning an illustrious solution to beat their rivals – ‘lights-out’ manufacturing. The vision was of a factory that could ultimately run on its own with minimal human interaction. They would turn the lights out in the factory and leave robots to do all the work unsupervised.

This hasn't quite been the case with the manufacturing industry until fairly recently. Technological advances and the Internet of Things have resulted in interconnected devices forming a convergence point between the physical and digital world. The more information stored in a system, the better-positioned machines are to make smarter and timelier decisions about things normally left to human judgment.

Most factories now use processes such as laser cutting and injection molding that operate with minimal human interaction. Additive manufacturing machines can be left alone to print day and night once they have been designated a task. And fear not, my human brethren, as we all know a robot must obey the orders given to them by human beings – it’s the second law of robotics.

These processes benefit manufacturers by minimizing defects and downtime, therefore boosting efficiency.

The Siemens Electronic Works facility in Amberg, Germany, is a plant that we would probably fear if we weren't so impressed by it. The 108,000ft² high-tech facility is home to an array of smart machines that coordinate everything from the production of the company’s products to the global distribution.

The custom, built-to-order process involves more than 1.6 billion components for over 50,000 annual product variations, for which Siemens sources about 10,000 materials from 250 suppliers to make the plant’s 950 different products.

Despite the endless variables within this system, a Gartner industry research study conducted in 2010 found that the plant boasts a reliability rate of more than 99%, with only 15 defects in every million.

You can therefore see the importance of keeping such an efficient automation process up and running. Asimov's third law – a robot must protect its own existence.

However, when this goes wrong and production breaks down, it's comforting to know that European Automation can send key parts such as drives, motors, Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs) out in as little as nine hours, to quash any robotic uprising.

 

1 October 2014

RECEIVE THE
LATEST NEWS


Your email address:





Read Latest Issue
International Engine of the Year Awards
Read Latest Issue
Read Latest Issue

Web Exclusive Articles

Hyundai 2019 Veloster N: The Knowledge
Designed specifically for the US market and officially unveiled at the 2018 Detroit auto show this month, Hyundai’s 2.0-liter turbocharged Veloster N has been developed to deliver driveability rather than outright performance statistics.
Read Now

Renault Trucks reveals how mixed reality can improve engine quality control
Renault Trucks, in collaboration with Immersion, is evaluating the potential of mixed reality to deliver a new, faster and more reliable quality control process at its Lyon engine manufacturing site.
Read Now

BAIC Motor on the industry’s fuel economy performance ambitions
BAIC has teamed up with Siemens to implement vehicle energy management and model-based systems engineering as the Chinese OEM works towards optimal fuel efficiency
Read Now


Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the engine technology industry. Want to see your company included? Contact aboobaker.tayub@ukimediaevents.com for more details.

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the engine technology community? We'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to d.slavnich@ukimediaevents.com

Submit Your Recruitment Ad

Recruitment AdTo send us your recruitment advertising or to receive information on placing a banner please email aboobaker.tayub@ukimediaevents.com