Jan 22, 2018 - A UK manufacturing group is reportedly poised to urge the Tory and Unionist cabinet not to pull Britain out from the EU customs union, alleging that remaining in the single market post-Brexit could produce double benefits for the UK.
Jan 16, 2018 - Airbus has strengthened its position following a record year for jet sales, extending an order lead over rival manufacturers such as Boeing. The European company booked contracts for 1,109 airliners in 2017, Airbus announced, widening its margin over its US competitor to 197.
Jan 12, 2018 - WICHITA, Kan. – Koch-Glitsch and INVISTA Performance Technology (IPT), affiliates of Koch Industries, announced today a new partnership to offer innovative DTL™ process technology, allowing refineries to capture the value spread between replacement fuel costs and high-octane gasoline blend stock. DTL process technology converts light olefins, present in fluidized-bed catalytic cracking (FCC) off-gas, coker off-gas and other refinery streams, into high-octane gasoline blend stock, significantly increasing their value.
Jan 10, 2018 - Lucas Oil Products, the world leader in heavy-duty and high-performance lubricants, has brought together its New Zealand and Australian operations to form a single market. The American oil company has given New Zealand-based Logan Distribution the rights to distribute its products in Australia, as well as the Kiwi market as from January 1, 2018.
Dec 28, 2017 - Were you aware that back in November 2017, Dropbox and AutoCAD became best buddies? By connecting your Dropbox account to AutoCAD, Dropbox users can now open and save DWG files directly to Dropbox without leaving the AutoCAD desktop application. This is particularly useful for a number of reasons; Short on disk space, Contractor access to your files, Not using selective etcTo link AutoCAD to a Dropbox account, follow these steps as described by Peter Crawley of CADPRO Systems:
Dec 11, 2017 _ The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says there are no grounds to impose provisional measures to protect steel products makers while it investigates claims subsidised Chinese rivals are damaging the local industry. In August, MBIE launched an investigation into steel reinforcing bar and coil (rebar) from the China after Pacific Steel NZ claimed government-subsidised rebar imports from China are causing material injury to Pacific Steel through price undercutting, price depression and price suppression. Pacific Steel is the sole producer of rebar in New Zealand and is a wholly owned subsidiary of New Zealand Steel Holdings whose parent company is ASX-listed BlueScope Steel.
Nov 30, 2017 - The vacuum-powered soft robots are reported capable of lifting objects a thousand times their own weight. There have been a number of soft robots inspired by the ancient art of paper folding – origami – recently, including polymer-based microgrippers and the safety-first Twister. Researchers from Harvard and MIT say that robots made of soft materials are often not as strong as their rigid counterparts. This thinking has led to the development of inexpensive artificial muscles that have been designed to give soft robots superpowers.
The artificial muscles have been developed by a team from Wyss Institute at Harvard University and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and use only air or water pressure to assist soft robots in lifting objects up to a thousand times their own weight. And they bend and flex in a less, well, robot-like fashion.
The muscle-like actuator is made up of an inner skeleton, which can be fashioned from a range of materials, including a metal coil or folded plastic, and is surrounded by air or liquid, before being sealed in a plastic or textile outer skin.
Muscle movement is triggered when a vacuum created inside the skin collapses around the skeleton, causing tension in the structure that results in movement. The type of movement is controlled purely by the shape of the skeleton, meaning that system processing and complex control algorithms may be surplus to requirements.
"One of the key aspects of these muscles is that they're programmable, in the sense that designing how the skeleton folds defines how the whole structure moves," explained Shuguang Li, Ph.D, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Wyss Institute and MIT CSAIL. "You essentially get that motion for free, without the need for a control system."A single vacuum source drives this snake-like soft robot with gripper
The researchers have built a number of different soft robots to demonstrate the numerous capabilities and resilience of their creation. They report that the artificial muscles are both lightweight and very powerful, claiming that one 2.6-gram actuator is capable of lifting a 3-kilogram object.
They're cheap and quick to make too. An actuator can be put together using materials that cost less than a dollar in around 10 minutes. And to demonstrate the scalable nature of the development, the researchers have made artificial muscles as small as a few millimeters in size to a meter, without any dip in performance.
The team also considers its innovation to be safer for close contact assistive robotics than other soft robot systems in development.
"Vacuum-based muscles have a lower risk of rupture, failure, and damage, and they don't expand when they're operating, so you can integrate them into closer-fitting robots on the human body," said co-author of the paper Daniel Vogt, M.S.
Potential usage examples include surgical devices, exoskeletons, deep sea manipulators and even architecture that can change its shape or function when needed and large structures that can be sent into space to aid exploration. A water-soluble version has also been developed, opening the door to potential use for ingestible robots.
"Now that we have created actuators with properties similar to natural muscle, we can imagine building almost any robot for almost any task," said Rob Wood Ph.D, Founding Core Faculty member of the Wyss Institute.
Nov 29, 2017 - Two licensed building practitioners (LBPs) have been held to account by the Building Practitioners Board for serious offences relating to their performance and conduct as LBPs. Christchurch-based LBP Stefan Mortimer has been ordered to pay $1500 and had his license cancelled for what the Board described as a cavalier attitude towards Building Code compliance.
“Mr Mortimer failed to obtain building consents for two buildings he constructed on land he owned for his family to reside in. These buildings did not comply with the Building Code in terms of structural integrity, amenities or sanitation,” says Registrar LBP scheme Paul Hobbs.
“Mr Mortimer’s offences are at the serious end of the scale, and the Board noted that the dangerous and insanitary nature of the building work was an aggravating factor in this case.”
In another case, Auckland-based LBP Satish Chand has been ordered to pay $2000 and had his license cancelled. This is Mr Chand’s third appearance before the Board, and his license has previously been suspended.
Mr Chand made a number of building-related errors which demonstrated a lack of understanding and knowledge of the Building Code and applicable technical standards.
“Mr Chand’s work failed inspection 10 times, and on numerous items. Many involved serious shortcomings relating to weathertightness of the home,” says Mr Hobbs
“The Building Inspector noted the work at hand was a simple job but Mr Chand seemed to be out of his depth. Some of the work continued to fail despite remedial work attempted by Mr Chand.
“The LBP scheme requires builders to perform safe, high quality building work that follows the Building Code, including the inspection process. This requirement wasn’t met in these two cases.
“New Zealanders can have confidence that where necessary, LBPs are held to account by the Board, who ensure building practitioners meet the high standards expected of them,” says Mr Hobbs.
A guide to making a complaint about a licensed building practitioner is available on the LBP website.
Nov 27, 2017 - It has been far too long arriving, but thanks to the enthusiasm of We Can Precision Engineering’s Ricky Pike, the Maintenance Engineering Society (MESNZ) has firmly established its presence in Hawkes Bay with the very first Kaeser Compressors Network Evening.
It is appropriate that as the modern face of precision engineering, We Can have taken over the Eric Paton Ltd stock and IP, giving some relief to engineers gutted by the loss of the industry stalwart. Whilst this acquisition is just another feather in the cap of the Hastings based company, their focus on precision, quality and innovation mirrors the ethos of Mr Paton himself. The mix of attendees on the night from leading firms in the meat, plastics and food industries was testimony itself to the depth of confidence that this firm commands
Owner/Operator, Rickie has vast experience in manufacturing. His focus has been the improvement of productivity and quality to reduce inventory and streamline processes. He is passionate about continually improving We Can’s systems and manufacturing techniques for the benefit of customers.
While We Can draws on a range of complimentary machines to undertake projects other precision engineering companies cannot tackle, they also use multitasking and five-axis machines.for the manufacture of complex parts involving a combination of turning, milling, hobbing and three dimensional profiling. The state of the art machinery including wire cut EDM gives them the capability to cut very intricate and delicate shapes and manufacture complex parts more accurately and cost-effectively than traditional machines. Their focus is on producing small to medium sized precision components in quantities that start at just one.
The Kaeser Compressors Network Evening series is as much about highlighting the capabilities of local companies as it is about spectacular achievements or interesting maintenance challenges and the We Can evening proved once again that precision engineering is a thriving capabaility in New Zealand.
The MESNZ Kaeser Compressors Network Evenings are hosted to showcase local operations and provide networking opportunities for engineers across all regions of New Zealand. The evenings offer the opportunity to take a look at the host operation and discuss common issues and solutions in a relaxed after work environment. Open to interested members of the public, the nights are well patronised.
The Maintenance Engineering Society is active across New Zealand, providing professional development opportunities for maintenance engineers and manufacturing operations to network and share innovations and experiences; both at a national level at their annual national conference or at these regional events. The 2018 National Maintenance Engineering Conference will be held in Rotorua on November13-15.