Hot Sheet
The OB7 can perform pick and place or more complex tasks with zero programming
The OB7 can perform pick and place or more complex tasks with zero programming.
I, Cobot
Augmented intelligent co-workers ready to pick up the slack for job shops and contractors

A study released by the International Federation of Robotics estimates there will be more than 3.5 million operational industrial robots by the end of 2021. Deloitte’s Manufacturing Industry Outlook for 2021 stated a monthly average of 400,000 job openings are being posted by manufacturers. To balance workforce shortages with the need to maintain consistent output, a growing number of companies have accelerated adoption of automation and robotics.

Lack of skilled labor could also pose a challenge for manufacturers considering using robots to fill the gap. “The big promise that came with the introduction of collaborative robots was that they were simpler to program, anyone could learn to do it and they were safe enough to put anywhere on the shop floor,” says Zac Bogart, president of Productive Robotics. “But the truth is, you still needed an engineer to implement them.”

The Santa Barbara, California-based company manufactures 7-axis collaborative robotic arms. The proprietary, intuitive cobots can be used in myriad applications as augmented intelligent “co-workers,” yet require no programming.

“Our approach was to eliminate programming language,” says Bogart. An operator simply shows Productive Robotics’ OB7 what to do by “walking” it through a job’s required steps. Engineered with seven joints like a human arm, the OB7 has more freedom of movement than conventional cobots and can learn a job in a matter of minutes. It can work with new or legacy equipment from a CNC machine to a press brake, or take on a task such as material handling.

If you add a cobot like the OB7 you can get up to 24 hours of production and you don’t need a programmer or engineer to teach it or an operator to tend it.
Zac Bogart, President, Productive Robotics

“Connectivity can be a complicated topic,” Bogart says. “The manufacturing industry is made up of more small- to medium-sized job shops than large companies. It’s harder for them to justify a large investment in data systems. And they typically don’t need complex data reporting. Our cloud analytics system provides full reporting on all of the cobot’s work. Our cobots are essentially plug and play. And they don’t mind taking on the boring, dirty jobs that don’t pay much.”

The dividends a cobot can generate for a job shop are significant. “A machine shop can keep its equipment running all night and triple its output with an OB7,” he says. “For example, if a job shop is running an 8-hour shift and a CNC machine finishes its cycle, there may not be an operator on hand to initiate another cycle, so the machine sits idle. Even if the jobs are timed perfectly, the most a company can expect to get is an 8-hour shift. But if you add a cobot like the OB7, you can get up to 24 hours of production and you don’t need a programmer or engineer to teach it or an operator to tend it.”

Productive Robotics’ cobots are kitted and come with instructions and tech support. Installation can take anywhere from an hour to a day. “Job shops and contractors are beginning to see the value, even the conservative ones,” he says.

Additive Manufacturing: Volkswagen to use 3D printing in vehicle production
Volkswagen to use 3D printing in vehicle production
Volkswagen is pressing ahead with the use of 3D printers in vehicle production. For the first time, the newest process—known as binder jetting—is being used to manufacture components at the company’s main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany. Whereas conventional 3D printing uses a laser to build a component layer by layer from metallic powder, the binder jetting process uses an adhesive. The resulting metallic component is then heated and shaped. Using the binder jetting component reduces costs and increases productivity—for example, the components weigh only half as much as those made from sheet steel. Volkswagen is currently the only car maker using this 3D printing technology in the production process.
Online Resources: LVD launches online resource center
Online Resources: LVD launches online resource center
LVD launches online resource center
LVD Company nv announces the launch of its Resource Center, a new online portal offering fabricators 24/7 access to information on new sheet metalworking equipment, industry trends, ideas and strategies to advance their business. Within the Resource Center, visitors can gain perspective on the current state of metalworking from LVD technical experts, discover how to address fabrication challenges, and learn ways to operate more efficiently in a changing marketplace.
People: Dick Couch
People: Dick Couch
Hypertherm founder retires from board
Hypertherm, Hanover, New Hampshire, announced the transition of board chair from founder Dick Couch to long-time board member and current lead director Richard Lettieri. This change is part of a leadership and governance succession plan built by Dick and Barbara Couch and the board of directors over the past 20 years. The succession plan, which has included the intentional appointments of executive leadership, ensures the continuation of the values-based company culture and industry leadership established by Dick Couch. Executive leadership of the company remains unchanged, under Evan Smith, president and CEO.
Miller Fabrication Solutions earns ISO certification
Miller Fabrication Solutions, Brookville, Pennsylvania, has achieved several International Organization for Standardization certifications. The steel fabrication supplier-partner earned a new certification in Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems under ISO 45001:2018 and is now recertified under ISO 9001:2015 in Quality Management Systems and ISO 14001:2015 in Environmental Management Systems.
Bradbury Co. will expand capacity
Expansion: Bradbury Co. will expand capacity
The Bradbury Co. Inc., Moundridge, Kansas, is expanding its test and assembly facility by approximately 40 percent to increase manufacturing capacity and provide additional space for testing the custom-built production lines before shipping to customers’ facilities. The addition, which will extend 10 ft. higher than the existing facility, will be engineered to house 30-ton cranes. Beginning steps are taking place in the multi-phase expansion process that should be complete by February. In addition to increasing manufacturing space, Bradbury is adding to its labor force and is accepting applications for numerous careers at the global headquarters in Moundridge, Kansas.
AIDA adds new employees, promotes staff
AIDA-America, Dayton, Ohio, recently hired in the areas of assembly, paint prep, and tooling, including, Nate Ferguson as installation supervisor; Dean Sherman as engineering administrator; Guna Murugan as mechanical engineer; Kevin Ho as project manager; and Dan Savoy as mechanical service technician at AIDA Canada. AIDA-America congratulates several recently promoted employees, including Sean Davis, promoted to assistant technical manager for service, Craig White, to assistant administrative manager for service, and Drew Faulkner promoted to manufacturing engineer for manufacturing department.
Additive Manufacturing: Army plans to build world’s largest 3D metal printer
Army plans to build world’s largest 3D metal printer
The U.S. DEVCOM Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) plans to build the world’s largest metal 3D printer that will have the capability of printing large parts for military ground vehicles. Called the Jointless Hull project, the effort is being coordinated and led by prime contractor ASTRO America, which will work together with subcontractors Ingersoll Machine Tool, Siemens, and MELD Manufacturing to manufacture the hull-scale machine, which uses metal additive manufacturing technology. The 3D metal printer is expected to take 14 months to complete and will be installed at Rock Island Arsenal–Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, a key partner which will be in charge of operations.
Production: Combilift hits milestone
Combilift hits milestone
Combilift recently marked a milestone when its 60,000th unit came off the production lines at the company headquarters in Monaghan, Ireland. The customer taking delivery of this special forklift is Metroll, an Australian manufacturer and supplier of steel building products. Metroll has branches across the country, and the new Combi-CB3000 will be a further addition to its fleet of 13 Combilifts that are operating throughout the Metroll Group, with another 10 already on order.
Women’s manufacturing award honorees announced
Awards: Women’s manufacturing award honorees announced
The Manufacturing Institute (MI) announced the recipients of the 2021 STEP Ahead Awards. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers across all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite. On Nov. 4, the MI will recognize 130 award recipients at an in-person reception and gala in Washington, D.C.
Education: AWS offers new 2-Week CWI option
Education: AWS offers new 2-Week CWI option
AWS offers new 2-Week CWI option
The two-week in-person American Welding Society Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) seminar is designed to give candidates sufficient time to prepare for all three parts in a focused classroom environment. Included in this seminar package are required standards, codebook and toolkits, extra face-to-face time with an instructor, and an in-class practice exam.
Additive Manufacturing: Azoth produces first metal 3D printed part for GM
Additive Manufacturing: Azoth produces first metal 3D printed part for GM
Azoth produces first metal 3D printed part for GM
Azoth, Ann Arbor, Michigan, is manufacturing the first metal 3D printed part using binder jetting on a General Motors production vehicle. A 3D printed medallion produced by Azoth sits on the manual shifter knob of the new 2022 Cadillac Blackwing V-series models, which features a manual transmission as well as additional 3D parts developed by General Motors.
OSHA, NIOSH revise safety handbook
Regulation: OSHA, NIOSH revise safety handbook
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration collaborated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to revise a handbook on workplace safety and health information for small business employers. The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook highlights the benefits of implementing an effective safety and health program, provides self-inspection checklists for employers to identify workplace hazards, and review important workplace safety and health resources for small businesses. The handbook includes self-inspection checklists for various work processes in general industry workplaces, such as fire protection, hazard communication, permit-required confined spaces, respiratory protection, and walking-working surfaces. The checklists are not intended for construction or maritime industries.
Dallas Industries expands
Expansion: Dallas Industries expands
Dallas Industries, Troy, Michigan, manufacturer of press feeding equipment and controls for the stamping industry announced that the company has added nearly 24,000-sq.-ft. with the addition of another facility nearby its current location. The addition essentially doubles the company’s manufacturing space and will allow for greater flexibility of its fabricating and machining footprint. The company is investing in new technologies and equipment including, high-volume lathes and grinding machines.
Emuge-Franken and GROB announce partnership
Partnership: Emuge-Franken USA President Bob Hellinger, left, and GROB Key Account Manager Kevin Gadde

Emuge-Franken USA, West Boylston, Massachusetts, and GROB Systems Inc., Bluffton, Ohio, have formed a strategic partnership. The alignment of Emuge-Franken, a high-performance cutting tools manufacturer, and GROB, a CNC machining centers manufacturer, provides advanced 5-axis machinery solutions, expertise and support.

Emuge-Franken USA President Bob Hellinger, left, and GROB Key Account Manager Kevin Gadde.

Coe Press Equipment: Douglas Thedford
Coe Press Equipment: Douglas Thedford
COE Press adds purchasing manager
Coe Press Equipment, Sterling Heights, Michigan, appointed Douglas Thedford as purchasing manager. He is in charge of supervising RFQs, managing inventory and materials, procuring goods and contractor services, and establishing and upholding procurement policies that meet the company’s requirements for cost, quality and value.
Jorgensen Conveyor & Filtration Solutions Inc.: Tony Diaz
Jorgensen Conveyor & Filtration Solutions Inc.: Tony Diaz
Jorgensen expands management team
To further enhance customer responsiveness, Jorgensen Conveyor & Filtration Solutions Inc., Mequon, Wisconsin, continues to expand its management team with the appointment of Tony Diaz as its new national sales manager. In his new position, Diaz will manage the company’s End User Sales Team, applying solid experience, skills and expertise in national sales growth and management.
Weld Systems announces promotion
Weld Systems Integrators Inc., a Warrensville Heights, Ohio, manufacturer of resistance welding equipment and machinery, promoted Adam Studzenski to vice president. Studzenski joined Weld Systems Integrators in 2001 and is involved in sales, engineering, manufacturing, lab research and development.
Metal Networks.AI a finalist for three steel awards
Metal Networks.AI, Houston, was selected as a finalist in three awards categories for the 2021 Fastmarkets Global Steel Excellence Awards by an independent judging panel: Best Product Innovation, Best Process Innovation and Technology Provider of the Year. In November, award winners will be announced at the 2021 Steel Success Strategies conference in Miami.
Pemamek Oy names director
Pemamek Oy: Tuomo Ruuska
Pemamek Oy: Tuomo Ruuska
Finland-based global welding automation solutions provider Pemamek Oy has named Tuomo Ruuska director of segment sales and development of the company’s heavy equipment segment. Ruuska will focus on supporting global sales of the company’s automated welding solutions for heavy equipment applications and further customer development. Ruuska plans to use collected market research data to fuel product development and sales efforts to better anticipate future industry needs and challenges.
Tooling companies ink distribution deal
United Precision Services Inc., Cincinnati, provider of turnkey medium to large CNC machine tool solutions, announced a strategic partnership agreement with MicroStep, spol. s r.o., Bratislava, Slovakia. Under the agreement, United Precision Services will become the authorized importer and distributor of MicroStep plasma, oxy fuel, laser, waterjet, pipe and profile, and structural beam processing equipment for North America.
Lincoln Electric acquires Overstreet-Hughes, Shoals Tubular
Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc., Cleveland, has acquired Overstreet-Hughes Co. Inc. and Shoals Tubular Inc. Overstreet and Shoals both manufacture copper and aluminum headers, distributor assemblies and manifolds in the U.S. and Mexico for the HVAC sector. The companies are being integrated into Lincoln’s Harris Products Group business.
Willbanks Metals orders new Red Bud line
Willbanks Metals Inc., Fort Worth, Texas, has just ordered a Red Bud Industries 0.625-in.-thick by 72 in.-wide heavy-gauge cut-to-length line with a stretcher leveler. The new line represents Willbanks Metals’ ongoing commitment to providing customers with a quality product. The stretcher leveler features Red Bud Industries’ proprietary SUREGRIP no-slip technology that eliminates the need to use cardboard gripper inserts. The unit includes Red Bud’s Quick Draw system that produces the quickest cycle times in the industry. A pop-top “deep plunge” straightener will work in concert with the stretcher to provide unparalleled leveling capabilities and produce flat material that stays flat, even after being laser cut. The top crown of the straightener can also be opened with a push of a button to allow easy access to the rolls for cleaning and/or maintenance.
United Precision Services Inc.: John Prevish
United Precision appoints division manager
United Precision Services Inc., Cincinnati, provider of turnkey medium to large CNC machine tool solutions, hired John Prevish as national sales manager. He will manage the newly formed fabrication machinery division. The business unit was created to provide machinery sales, assembly, installation, training, and service to support the company’s expansion into the fabrication equipment market.
Caster Concepts Inc.: Doug Backinger
Caster Concepts appoints VP of sales
Caster Concepts Inc., Albion, Michigan, global manufacturer of industrial wheels and casters, hired Doug Backinger as vice president of sales. For the past 10 years, Backinger has led the quality department at Caster Concepts while leading ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certifications for Aerol, Caster’s latest acquisition. Since January 2020, Backinger served as director of sales, shaping the company’s marketing efforts.
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