$4m to help automate AM

AM-Flow, the Amsterdam and Brainport Eindhoven-based industrial automation company for additive manufacturing (AM) factories, has announced the completion of a $4m Series-A investment round. The company will use the investment to accelerate and support the 3D-printing industry by providing step-change automation, heading for the lights-out factory of the future. AM-Flow provides AI-based computer vision, motion and robotics solutions to process 3D-printed parts at high speed and efficiency levels. The Series-A funding round was led by BOM Brabant Ventures.

For further information www.am-flow.com

CGTech and Makino partnership renewed

CGTech, the developer of Vericut software, and CNC machine-tool specialist Makino Milling Machine Co Ltd, have renewed their strategic corporate partnership to better serve their mutual customer base. Makino and CGTech have worked together for over 30 years. Says CGTech president Jon Prun: “Manufacturers who buy Makino machines have invested in world-leading technology. Our aim is to offer a software solution designed to help purchasers of Makino machines get up and running quickly, while protecting their investment in the long term.”

For further information www.cgtech.co.uk

77% planning digital investment

Nearly all of the respondents (99%) surveyed in HP’s latest Digital Manufacturing Trend Report believe that digital manufacturing technologies can lead to economic growth. As a result, decision makers are looking to transform their business models, with 77% of those surveyed indicating that they will invest in digital manufacturing technologies, such as industrial 3D printing, within the next 12 months. The medical, industrial and automotive industries were called out as those most ripe for innovation in additive manufacturing/3D printing over the next five years.

For further information www.hp.com

Tool room gets capability boost

The tool room at one of the globe’s leading manufacturers of domestic, commercial and industrial cleaning equipment has received a boost in capability with the arrival of a Sodick AD55L CNC spark-erosion machine from Sodi-Tech EDM.

Chard-based Numatic International Ltd, manufacturer of the world-famous Henry vacuum cleaner, says its new Sodick AD55L CNC die-sink EDM has enhanced the site’s mould-tool repair, maintenance and modification services.

With so many of its products comprising plastic components, Numatic operates its own mould shop. Supporting the mould shop is a tool-room facility, which has the task of repairing, modifying and maintaining around 2000 different mould tools, ranging in weight from 100 kg to 15 tons.

“Obviously some tools become obsolete over the course of time, but these are usually countered by new arrivals – we’re expecting 96 new mould tools this year, for example,” explains toolroom supervisor Scott Connett. “Addressing issues such as tooling modifications and general wear and tear, are the most common tasks for our tool-room team.”
Numatic’s existing manual spark-erosion capacity was coming up to 20 years old and the gap in capabilities, compared with a new CNC machine, was plain to see.

“We looked at various spark eroders, but for us it was more about service and support,” says Connett. “So, even though the AD55L was our first Sodick, we chose it because Sodi-Tech EDM came top of our assessments in terms of aftersales service.
“We’ve certainly noticed the difference since it was installed,” he adds. “With our previous manual machine we would need three or four electrodes to achieve our desired end result, whereas on the Sodick we just use a roughing and finishing electrode. As you would expect, the machine is also much quicker.”

For further information www.sodi-techedm.co.uk

VW acquires 2200 robots

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles brands are working flat out on the transformation and conversion of plants to e-mobility. VW Passenger Cars has now ordered more than 1400 robots from FANUC for its production facilities at Chattanooga, USA and Emden, Germany, while Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has ordered a further 800 ABB robots for its Hanover plant. The robots are mainly intended for body production and battery assembly. All three plants are currently being prepared for the production of electric cars using highly
advanced facilities.

From 2022, the ID.4 is to be produced at Chattanooga and Emden, while the model known under the show car name of ID. BUZZ is to roll off the production line at Hanover. In total, the group plans to invest €33bn by 2024 with a view to becoming the world’s market leader in e-mobility. Several billion euros are to be invested at these three plants.

For further information www.volkswagenag.com