Tag Archives: technology

  • Snapshot of the Future of Metal Fabrication

    Snapshot of the Future of Metal Fabrication
    By: Monica Gomez

    Anyone who wants to know where career possibilities exist, as well as where their current job is going, would benefit from paying attention to industry forecasts; the industry of metal fabrication is no exception. The metal product industry has been going through quite a bit of change over the last decade, reinventing itself quite a bit after significant changes occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, which reduced the number of mass production assembly plants nationwide. Today’s industry is often managed by smaller outfits that operate with far more nimble programs and functions, that take on quite a bit more of custom work, and that are spread out in far more places geographically. Let’s take a look forward to see where the industry might be headed.
    Recycled Metal

    One of the first big trends that appeared (and that continues to grow) is the use of recycled metal. Where recycled metal was once may be 10 or 20 percent of supply, today it makes up more than half of the material used, up to 60 percent. That means there are jobs and careers on both sides of the recycling picture, from sourcing material to be recycled to those consuming it and recreating used metal into new products and constructs.

    At some point this figure will likely increase more, but the general demand for metal still far outpaces what is available from recycled sources. So there will continue to be some portion of new virgin metal supply provided. That said, understanding how to source, work with, and manipulate recycled metal is here to stay, especially as companies find themselves sourcing from farther and farther away for new raw supply.
    Steel

    In terms of actual product manufacturing, steel is still a hot commodity and has a healthy demand. This is expected to continue going forward because nothing has been produced so far that would replace the function and purpose of steel on a broad scale. Granted, there have been some interesting inventions with carbon fiber, aluminum and other materials, but steel remains the main building product for infrastructure strength and framework. In fact, steel has been booming in architectural design due to desire for a neo-modern appearance. Naked interiors of rooms and building showing the structural framework have been very popular in new building lobbies, restaurants and more.
    3D Printing & Technology

    On the production process side of metal manufacturing, technology is king. Knowing the various tools, software, types of systems applied, and how new tools are being invented for automated assembly is key. Those seeking to reinvent their career or start a new one in metal manufacturing will be well served to become as much of a related tech guru as possible. Computers and robot assembly have already established themselves as the replacement for hand labor in large facilities. These same tools are now starting to make inroads to medium and smaller facilities because the cost of the technology is coming down, making it far more affordable. 3D printing allows users to expand the realm of possibilities and could also potentially cut costs and manufacturing time, writes weldingschool.com. 3D printing trends mean there will be a growing demand for those who know how to run and operate such equipment and software.
    Worldly Knowledge

    Finally, the metal fabrication world and related markets are becoming more and more global. Having knowledge of other languages and cultures will go a long way for anyone looking to not just be in fabrication, but manage it from an international customer perspective. This includes remote quality control, sales, manufacturing training, multi-vendor supply system management, and more. The ability to work with different people in different time zones will become more and more important, especially as much of communication is changing to a round-the-clock status in terms of working with people and exchanging information.

    So, metal fabrication isn't going anywhere. Instead, the industry is healthy and will continue to see demand in the future, but it will require far more technical knowledge with a heavy reliance on technology for accuracy and engineering.

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  • 3D Printing FAQ

    Think of 3D printing as the opposite of CNC machining: Instead of starting with a big block of material and machining out the part you need, it takes tiny bits of material and connects them layer by layer, building up the part you need. Because of this the term Additive Manufacturing is used to describe all types of 3D printing processes. Imagine a square cut out of cardboard, then another slightly smaller one cut and placed on top of it, and on and on until it came to a point, automate that process and you have a 3D printed pyramid.   Click Here To Read Full Post...
  • Driverless Car Goes 300,000 Miles Without An Accident

    (Photo courtesy RideStory.com)

    Google has been testing the technology of self-driving cars for a few years, actually going out on the roads of Nevada at speeds up to 70 MPH, and with no human intervention. And astonishingly, the fleet has zero accidents in the 300,000 miles the cars have driven. (Normally, correct grammar would require me to write "...the cars have been driven", but in this case, it's the cars themselves doing the driving!)

    You could sit in the passenger seat and relax...these cars feature sensors that can track pedestrians, understand traffic lights, and even merge at highway speeds.

    California governor Jerry Brown has signed state legislation that will pave the way for driverless cars, signing the bill after he travelled to Google headquarters in a self-driving Toyota Prius to show his full support for the new technology. The law will establish safety and performance regulations to test and operate driverless vehicles on California’s roads.

    “Today we’re looking at science fiction becoming tomorrow’s reality—the self-driving car,” Mr. Brown told journalists gathered to witness the historic moment for smart cars. “Anyone who gets inside a car and finds out the car is driving will be a little skittish, but they’ll get over it.”

    It's questionable whether people will get used to the idea of autonomous cars soon, but Google believes that it will take less than 10 years until the first self-driving vehicles will be available on the market. Car manufacturers such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Ford have been working on autonomous car technology for years.

    Read the entire article at RideStory.com.

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  • Honda Develops Technology To Weld Steel And Aluminum Together

    Car manufacturers are always looking to reduce vehicle weight and thereby improve fuel economy. Toward that end, automotive giant Honda has developed a new technology for the continuous welding of steel and aluminum.

    They call it Friction Stir Welding (FSW), a solid-state joining process in which two metals can be intermixed using mechanical pressure. The resulting weld strength will be equal to or better than conventional MIG welding.

    Honda expects this technology to cut body weight by 25% compared to a conventional steel sub-frame, but you won't be using this technology any time soon in your garage shop. Conventionally, FSW requires the use of large equipment, but Honda has developed an FSW continuous welding system applied to a highly versatile industrial robot.

    Honda plans to first adopt the technology to the North American version of its 2013 Accord before expanding to other models.

    Read more about this breakthrough automotive welding technology here.

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