New 3D Printer Expands Ultimation’s Design Capabilities

Ultimation Industries will soon have additional new 3D printing capabilities that will reduce the turnaround time for developing, testing and implementing prototypes of plastic parts. Ultimation won a new Photocentric LC Magna 3D Printer in a pitch contest hosted by Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Southfield-based CoreTechnologie provided the printer and related CAD software package.

Going for the prize

To win the printer, manufacturers had to submit an application as to how the industrial 3D printer would solve a labor, capacity or process challenge and support their business overall. Selected applicants were invited to make an in-person pitch during Automation Alley’s Integr8 Conference on May 10, 2022.

Tommaso Helwig, Ultimation’s engineering manager, made the winning pitch and said it will give the company more creative freedom to design parts in-house and will allow the company to implement changes at a fraction of the time allowed by outsourcing. “Prototypes can now be completed in hours or days rather than weeks,” he said.

Tommaso Helwig 3D printing

Good news for vertical farmers

The new 3D capabilities are especially good news for indoor vertical farmers, who rely on plastics to create food-safe environments for growing leafy greens, herbs, fruits and other produce. Indoor farms allow foods to be grown locally in areas where they may otherwise have been imported.

“Plastics are a very much part of a food safe environments and are an ever-growing part of our scope of work in indoor vertical farming,” said Tommaso. He added that within the last year, Ultimation has partnered with the largest indoor vertical farm to provide miles of a plastic drainage, flow rail, and conveyors to automate their farm.

Planting the seeds for a “green hub” in Detroit and South East Michigan

“Our goal is to connect Detroit’s rich manufacturing history and manufacturing network to this emerging market,” said Tommaso. “We are getting the chance to not only support innovative farmers who are challenging how we grow things every day, but also working to help solve one of the world’s largest problems: sustainability. With enough effort, Detroit can easily become one of the green hubs of this country.”

Ultimation believes that its evolving Agtech (Agricultural Technology) capabilities to provide full farm material handling and mechanical structure is a key enabler for future growth. The global vertical farming market was estimated to be $3.6 billion in 2021 and will increase to $17.6 billion by 2028.

It’s Time to Upgrade Old Energy-Wasting Industrial Conveyor Systems

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (April 21, 2022) — Ultimation Industries says manufacturers who want to improve the overall energy efficiency of their facilities may find savings from an unexpected source: by upgrading their conveyor systems. Ultimation is the leading direct-to-consumer conveyor manufacturer and serves the automotive, food processing, vertical farming, heavy equipment, warehousing, fulfilment and delivery segments.

“Replacing legacy conveyor systems with motorized driven rollers, or MDRs, is a great choice for energy efficiency because they only use electricity when they are actively moving cargo,” said Richard Canny, president of Ultimation Industries. “They’re also quieter and can handle a multitude of products such as packages, tote bins, pallets, tires, cartons and more.”

MDRs operate with 24-volt DC power and use motorized rollers within the conveyor frames to move products from location to location. They also use zero pressure accumulation, which means loads continue moving along the MDR conveyor until they get close to (but do not touch) the product unit in front, ensuring there are no gaps in the assembly line. MDR conveyor systems have built in logic cards which automatically manage turning zones on and off so it runs on demand.

Canny estimates that a typical 5-foot ­­­­Chain Driven Live Roller (CDLR) conveyor system using approximately 0.75kWh of energy for operation could save up to 81% in energy usage by replacing it with a same-size MDR system. For a manufacturing facility with more than a dozen conveyors, the savings could add up to more than $3,500 a year. For larger manufacturing facilities or distribution centers, the energy savings can easily exceed $100,000 per year.

MDRs and overhead conveyors are often used together with warehouse robots or Autonomous Mobile Robots. Warehouse robots can pick up and drop off loads from existing conveyors and provide a flexible way to link all conveyor styles together for maximum productivity and space utilization.

Depending upon the conveying application, different controls and accessories are available. Optional control cards make the MDR versatile for different accumulation activities. Load capacity can range from a few pounds to thousands of pounds per motorized zone.

“Motorized rollers have become the dominant type of conveyor system in use today, for good reason,” said Canny. “Their energy efficiency is just another reason why manufacturers should consider them when modernizing their material handling systems.”

About Ultimation:

Ultimation Industries, LLC is a woman-owned leader in the conveyor technology and automation industry. Founded in 1989, Ultimation designs, manufactures and installs machinery and equipment, automation devices, tire and wheel processing lines and conveyor systems for customers throughout the Americas. The company offers a line of proprietary automation systems and is also a leading integrator of Jervis Webb Conveyor Systems. Ultimation’s e-commerce channel sells Ultimation, Interroll, Itoh Denki, Jervis Webb, and a wide range of other conveyor equipment. Ultimation was named a 2022 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch Award from Michigan Celebrates Small Business. In 2020, Ultimation was recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies in America and was a finalist for Amazon’s 2019 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. Visit https://www.ultimationinc.com/ for the latest product information and news about Ultimation.

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For further information please contact:

Nancy Sarpolis for Ultimation Industries at [email protected].

Ultimation Produces Tourniquet Clips for Ukrainian War Zone as Member of Michigan-based 3D Printing Network

ROSEVILLE, Mich. (April 12, 2022)— Ultimation Industries is part of a 3D printing network in Michigan rushing to aid Ukrainians during wartime by printing tourniquet clips. Ultimation is the leading direct-to-consumer conveyor manufacturer and designs, builds and installs material handling equipment for the automotive, food processing, vertical farming, heavy equipment, warehousing, fulfilment and delivery segments.

Ultimation Engineering Manager Tommaso Helwig checks 3D-printed parts for Ukraine medical assistance

The humanitarian effort is being led locally by Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD, a 3D printing network of 300 small and medium-sized manufacturers. Automation Alley is working with Makershelp, a 3D printing organization in Denmark, to fulfill a request from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to supply tourniquets to help those in need of medical assistance during the Russian assault on Ukraine. Project DIAMOnD is activating its emergency mode to mobilize all printers in its network to print tourniquet clips before final assembly in Denmark.

 

 

“As a manufacturer, Project DIAMOnD has allowed us to aid in humanitarian efforts when called upon while experimenting with 3D printing and innovating for our own business,” said Richard Canny, president of Ultimation Industries.

According to Automation Alley, 3D printing is the ideal technology to produce needed parts in times of crisis, like wartime and pandemics, because of its flexibility and speed. The designs for parts can also be shared digitally among multiple locations and producers.

“The specific part that the Ukrainian government needed was a tourniquet clip that cannot be easily produced using conventional means quickly because of turnaround times in mold making. The 3D printers and the Onyx material we have available through Project DIAMOnD was a perfect fit for this application,” said Pavan Muzumdar, Automation Alley COO. “We are grateful to be able to help the people of Ukraine in some way.”

Ultimation Industries is producing 3D-printed tourniquet clips for Ukrainian medical assistance.

Project DIAMOnD—which stands for Distributed, Independent, Agile Manufacturing on Demand—was established in 2020 through CARES ACT funding grants given to Automation Alley to accelerate digital transformation among Michigan manufacturers and strengthen supply chains for developing PPE. To date, the initiative has distributed and connected 300 3D printers to manufacturers across Michigan.

When the printers are not being used to fulfill emergency orders, participating manufacturers use the 3D printers they received to expand their production of a variety of industrial parts and products, ultimately enhancing smart manufacturing capabilities in Michigan and throughout the United States.

 

“The Project DIAMOnD network has many printers that can be available at short notice. This means manufacturers like Ultimation and our network partners can produce a high number of parts in a very short time, with no wasted time for tooling,” said Canny. “This humanitarian effort is one great example of how additive manufacturing technologies can respond to a need quickly.”

When asked about the initiative, Dom Holmes of Oakland County, Michigan said “Since its launch in the fall of 2020, Project DIAMOnD has been a catalyst for innovation among Oakland County manufacturers. The activation of the Project DIAMOnD Command Center for the purpose of producing lifesaving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) highlights the utilitarian role such a network can have during extraordinary times.”

About Ultimation:

Ultimation Industries, LLC is a woman-owned leader in the conveyor technology and automation industry. Founded in 1989, Ultimation designs, manufactures and installs machinery and equipment, automation devices, tire and wheel processing lines and conveyor systems for customers throughout the Americas. The company offers a line of proprietary automation systems and is also a leading integrator of Jervis Webb Conveyor Systems. Ultimation’s e-commerce channel sells Ultimation, Interroll, Itoh Denki, Jervis Webb, and a wide range of other conveyor equipment. Ultimation was named a 2022 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch Award from Michigan Celebrates Small Business. In 2020, Ultimation was recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies in America and was a finalist for Amazon’s 2019 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year. Visit https://www.ultimationinc.com/ for the latest product information and news about Ultimation.

About Automation Alley:

Automation Alley is a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. We facilitate public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education and government to fuel Michigan’s economy. We help businesses embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution by equipping them with the knowledge and tools to develop a software-first mindset that leverages the intersections of advanced technologies, systems and people to jumpstart or accelerate a digital path to strategic success. Visit automationalley.com.

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For further information please contact:

Nicole Kampe for Automation Alley at [email protected]

Nancy Sarpolis for Ultimation Industries at [email protected].

Meet the newest member of the Otto Family – An Autonomous Forklift

Otto Motors is introducing its newest member to the autonomous family, the Otto Lifter. By implementing current technology with a staple of many warehouses, Otto is bringing to you the Autonomous Forklift known as the Otto Lifter!

Being Introduced as the “World’s Smartest Autonomous Forklift,” The Otto Lifter is helping companies overcome productivity issues caused by lack of workforce. It will also help companies optimize their workforce by utilizing the human labor elsewhere. It is estimated that there will be 2.1 million job openings in the US manufacturing market. Its goal will be to reduce material handling costs while also increasing the throughput in the workplace.

The Otto Autonomous Forklift is also here to help overcome another issue brought upon by the traditional Forklift, which is workplace safety. It will provide the consistency of the standard Forklift while also eliminating serious or non-serious injuries. According to statistics provided by OSHA, there are nearly 100,000 injuries per year involving forklifts. On average, there are also 85 deaths per year due to forklift accidents. Otto is backing its Lifter with 3 million hours driven in production, while providing 400,000 deliveries while allowing zero safety incidents.

By incorporating autonomous technology into the forklift, you are not sacrificing the capabilities of what the Otto Lifter is able to provide. It can lift up to 1200 kg (2640 lbs.) while being able to lift up to 30 in autonomously, or 106 in. with human operation controlling the lift. It can also operate at max 3.2 mph when in an open environment.

“Otto’s Autonomous Lifter complements our existing range of conveyors and material handling products” said Ultimation product specialist, Cory Meisel. “Many of our customers have been looking for this type of product to help optimize their warehouse layouts and provide flexible, fast to implement automation solutions. With its impressive payload, this new Otto product is well suited to pallet loads and larger items. We can provide docking stations where the forklift can load and unload from our conveyor systems, resulting in a totally automated warehouse operation.”

The Otto Autonomous Forklift is easily introduced with other Otto AMR vehicles to completely optimize productivity in the workplace. The Fleet Management system allows you to control all AMRs in the workplace. Keep in mind, AMRs do not require modification to the workplace. They analyze their surroundings and can maneuver its environment using Lidar technology. Traditional AGVs require sensors in the floor or some sort of path to follow, so the AMR is going to be easier to implement with less upfront work.

Is Vertical Farming the Future?

This story is courtesy of the Visual Capitalist. You can read the entire article here.

Advantages of Vertical Farming

Is Vertical Farming the Future?

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), half of the Earth’s topsoil has been lost over the past 150 years. This issue is known as land degradation, and it’s caused by natural and human forces such as droughts, overfarming, and pollution.

In this graphic sponsored by Global X ETFs, we’ve illustrated an innovative solution to land degradation known as vertical farming.

Advantages of Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is best defined as growing food indoors and on vertically stacked layers. It utilizes technologies known as controlled environment agriculture (CEA):

  • Aeroponics: Plants are suspended in the air and sprayed with nutrient-rich solvents
  • Hydroponics: Plants are cultivated in a nutrient-rich water-based solution
  • Aquaponics: Plants are cultivated in an ecosystem which also houses fish

Vertical farms can grow 1 ton of lettuce with just 17% of the space needed for a traditional farm, meaning they are much more space efficient. This is a direct solution for land degradation, but the benefits don’t end there.

Farming in a controlled environment cuts down on chemical usage because there is no longer a need for pesticides. A recent U.S. study found that in 71% of usage cases, pesticides have contaminated soil and reduced biodiversity.

Furthermore, vertical farms can reduce water use by up to 90% thanks to recirculation. This is a massive improvement when considering that traditional farms account for 70% of global water consumption.

What’s the Trade-off?

Like most things in life, vertical farms also have their drawbacks.

The first challenge is high energy consumption due to the lack of natural sunlight and water. Both of these inputs must be provided by using electricity, which may not be ideal depending on location. The second challenge is costs, not just because of energy consumption, but also due to the equipment needed for CEA systems.

The table below compares a traditional outdoor farm with a theoretical vertical farm. These estimates illustrate a clear trade-off between i) greater output and less water usage; and ii) a larger carbon footprint.

Metric Traditional Outdoor Farm Vertical Farm Percentage Difference
Lettuce output per 1 acre 16 tons 126 tons +787%
Kg CO₂ emitted per ton of lettuce 160 kg 540 kg +337%
KL of water used per ton of lettuce 118 kL 6 kL -95%

Traditional farm yields are based on the U.S. 2020 average. Source: Global X ETFs

With global population expected to reach 10 billion people by 2060, more efficient methods of farming are needed. Vertical farms, alongside other innovations in agriculture and food, could be the answer.