3D-printed soft mesh robots take shape in medical sector and beyond

The Engineer | January 24, 2019

Developed at North Carolina State University (NC State), the structures can reportedly grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them the potential to be useful as soft robots that mimic creatures living on water surfaces, or that can serve as tissue scaffolds for cell cultures.
“This research shows capabilities in the emerging field of combining 3D printing and soft robotics,” said Orlin Velev, S. Frank and Doris Culberson Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State and corresponding author of a paper describing the research. To create these soft mesh robots, the researchers made ink from silicone microbeads, bound by liquid silicone and contained in water.

Spotlight

Meet Jason Boyers, a Senior Systems Engineer, who discusses his role at Annese & Associates, Inc.
Working at Annese enters you into a family as positive, thoughtful, and appreciative as your own.

Spotlight

Meet Jason Boyers, a Senior Systems Engineer, who discusses his role at Annese & Associates, Inc.
Working at Annese enters you into a family as positive, thoughtful, and appreciative as your own.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Inside the Autodesk Laboratories, Where the Future of Construction, from Drones to Holograms, is Being Tested

Autodesk | July 06, 2021

When renovation on a century-old YMCA facility in Beverly, Massachusetts, started, a laser scan of the structure revealed a unique challenge: almost every ceiling in the building was slightly uneven. Reframing the building's walls would need the use of hundreds of various-sized studs. It would be a complicated nightmare to build them on-site. As a result, Windover Construction, the firm in charge of the renovation, sought a technical solution. So they put their laser scan data into an automated steel frame fabrication equipment, which accurately produced light gauge steel studs and panels for the building, collaborating with the New Zealand-based manufacturing firm Howick. The machine also added one important feature. The new studs may telescope, shrinking down to fit more easily into and through the old building's tight spaces and extending out like a shower curtain rod put into position. The telescoping wall stud is only one of the construction innovations created in a unique new multidisciplinary initiative sponsored by Autodesk, the creator of the industry-standard architectural design tool AutoCAD. Autodesk has established a residency program for businesses trying to utilize new technologies to address design and construction issues via its Technology Centers. Windover and Howick got together due to the program, recognizing that one had technology that could solve the other's issue. The building business is currently a low-tech affair. Regardless of the fancy design tools and advanced building information modeling systems used by architects and engineers, once a project is under construction, it is thrown into a decentralized world of general contractors who source materials, hire workers, and build projects according to their formulas. In the business, best practices are often based on what each contractor has done in the past. A more systematic approach to construction that uses technology is still a notion rather than a reality. The Technology Centers, situated in Autodesk locations in San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, and Birmingham, England, are similar to large fabrication laboratories where firms and researchers attempt to discover new production techniques to solve construction industry problems. The facilities, which opened in 2018, include CNC metalworking equipment, 3D printers, water jet cutting systems, 5-axis robotic arms, and laboratories where composite materials, glass, and ceramics can be used to create new components and tools. In addition, Autodesk provides residencies ranging from two weeks to two years, providing space and resources for startups, academia, and established industry players to explore new ideas and develop novel ways to design and construct. A team of students from the University of Southern California recently used the Boston Technology Center to robotically build an intricate steel pedestrian bridge that now crosses a ravine in Los Angeles. The pandemic prompted Autodesk to shut its Technology Centers, but Rundell said they would return gradually starting this month. In any case, the closure of the centers had little effect on the collaboration. Autodesk converted the residency program to a virtual version, allowing businesses to meet and work online. As a result, more companies showed interest in participating because they did not have to go to one of the Technology Centers or give up billable hours. The network of the residency program now includes about 160 companies and organizations. Windover Construction has utilized the network to find additional construction solutions, including a collaboration with Fologram, an Australian mixed reality company. As a result, Windover reduced that part of the project's schedule by 70% by using Microsoft HoloLens goggles and Fologram's mixed reality technology to direct the assembly of hundreds of roof trusses for a building project.

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ENGINEERING TECH

The Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa Project at Father Joe's Villages has achieved Level 10 completion.

engineering news | February 27, 2021

Level 10 Construction authoritatively finishes out at St. Teresa of Calcutta Villas. A fixing out service is a developers' ritual that is generally held when the last pillar (or its same) is set on a design during its development. "Level 10 is delivering as promised despite the challenges the pandemic has presented," said Jim Schmid, CEO and founder of Chelsea Investment Corporation. "Their efforts to keep the project team safe while delivering this project on time will soon provide life-changing opportunities for homes and services to our neighbors in need." The 291,133-square-foot, 407-unit reasonable loft advancement with two constructions, a 14-story Type I fabricating and a seven-story Type V structure over a two-level solid platform, is scheduled for culmination in February 2022. The ground level will house business space and an anteroom. The subsequent level will contain a wellness room, local area room, the board workplaces, and a huge open yard. The site contains a local area garden and a youngsters' play region. "Our mission at Father Joe's Villages is to prevent and end homelessness one life at a time," said Deacon Jim Vargas, president and CEO of Father Joe's Villages. "Each apartment that we create takes more people off the streets and gives them the resources they need to end their homelessness for good. I extend our sincerest thanks to Level 10 for their leadership on this project and to all of the subcontracting teams for their commitment and hard work. Through their efforts on Saint Teresa of Calcutta Villa, they are building more than just housing. They are building a brighter future for hundreds of neighbors overcoming homelessness." "Congratulations to all of our building Team Members for a safe job," said Ben Briggs, Project Executive of Level 10 Construction. "This project is critical to the future of San Diego. GREAT JOB!" Bert Shear, Senior Associate Principal at Joseph Wong Design Architects, the project architect, said, "Congratulations on reaching this important milestone in the construction process. Level 10 is doing an incredible job, a very professional and experienced team. We are looking forward to the next phases and seeing the completion of this important affordable housing project. "

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ENGINEERING TECH

Building Industry Partners Forms New Specialty Building Product in Partnership With Building Products Manufacturing Industry Veteran Ted Rock

Building Industry Partners | September 01, 2021

Building Industry Partners LLC (“BIP”), the leading building industry-focused private equity investment firm, has formed a new specialty building products component manufacturing platform in partnership with building industry veteran Ted Rock – North American Specialty Laminations (“American Laminations”). BIP and Mr. Rock formed American Laminations to build a best-in-class, people-first component profile wrapping and specialty manufacturing organization. Concurrent with its formation, American Laminations made its inaugural investment, the acquisition of the assets of SourceCut Industries, Inc. in partnership with SourceCut’s existing owners and management team. Founded in 1999, SourceCut Industries, Inc. (“SourceCut”) is a fast-growing manufacturer of laminated, composite and wood components serving the residential and commercial Window & Door, Cabinet & Casegood, Architectural Millwork, Furniture and Fixture/Display Industries. This partnership and investment in SourceCut will help bring to life the Wiedenhoeft family’s vision for the business – investing in human and capital resources to bolster service of existing and new customers and position the business for significant organic and acquisition-related expansion. Brad Wiedenhoeft, founder of SourceCut, continues with American Laminations as Chief Revenue Officer. Zach Wiedenhoeft continues in his current role of President, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the facilities in Osseo, Wisconsin. Both Brad and Zach Wiedenhoeft will support Mr. Rock who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of North American Specialty Laminations. SourceCut Industries, Inc. will retain their business’ name. Matt Ogden, Founder & Managing Partner of BIP, said, “We’re excited to kick off our new specialty component manufacturing platform with SourceCut as our foundation, and are looking forward to working alongside the Wiedenhoeft family to build on all they have achieved. We’re also introducing a proven, growth-minded manufacturing leader in Ted Rock, growth capital, and a commitment to driving enhanced results for our employees, customers, and business operations overall. Mr. Ogden also noted, “North American Specialty Laminations is BIP’s second new platform under our people-first purpose. BIP renewed its purpose to drive a new standard in its investing that better aligns shareholder, management and employee interests, and prioritizes human capital management as a strategic pillar to building better businesses, generating better investment returns, and helping employees actualize their career goals. Brad Wiedenhoeft, the founder of SourceCut, commented “BIP’s commitment to SourceCut’s people was an intriguing factor in pursuing this partnership. BIP’s relationships, talent resources, and capital investment will allow us to continue our strategic growth plan – providing our customers excellent service levels with quality products. Most importantly, enhancing our pursuit to provide our employees best in class opportunities. I’m very excited about the positive impact this partnership will have for our great employees, and for our customers who trust us with their business.” Ted Rock joins as Chief Executive Officer of North American Specialty Laminations, drawing on his 15+ years of experience with market-leading building products manufacturing companies, and successful track record of growing private equity-backed organizations. Mr. Rock will lead the company’s future growth, including an ambitious plan to expand the platform’s footprint. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Panoramic Doors, Senior Vice President of PGT Innovations, and as Chief Operating Officer of Atrium Windows and Doors. Pat Mascia, Partner & Head of Strategic Development for BIP, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with a talented and experienced leader like Ted Rock - his unique experience across Private Equity, Specialty Manufacturing, and the Window and Door segment make him especially qualified to lead American Laminations. We are honored to be working alongside Mr. Rock and the Wiedenhoeft family to build on the success they have each achieved individually, and to bring our collective experiences, skills, and resources together to drive a game-changing platform.” Ted Rock commented, “It has been a pleasure to get to know the Wiedenhoeft family, and a privilege to be entrusted to lead this platform alongside them. I am delighted by the opportunity to partner with BIP, a firm that I have admired both for their investment track record and for their explicit commitment to the employees of BIP portfolio companies. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and for SourceCut, and I’m looking forward to being a contributor to BIP’s ‘Do Good and Do Well’ mission.” Two BIP Operating Partners – Peter Stroble and Chris Kliefoth – will be joining the Board of North American Specialty Laminations as Directors. Mr. Stroble previously held roles as Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer of Alta Forest Products, North America's largest manufacturer of fence boards, as well as President of Alta's predecessor, Welco Lumber Company. Mr. Kliefoth is a Wisconsin native, with deep experience in private equity, manufacturing, and leadership – including 15+ years as President of Nationwide Industries. Partners involved in this opportunity were Holland & Knight LLC and Fifth Third Bank. Intrinsic LLC, CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., DSG Benefits Group, and ATEC were also instrumental. Building Industry Partners (“BIP”) Forms New Specialty Building Products Component Manufacturing Platform, North American Specialty Laminations (“American Laminations”), in Partnership With Building Products Manufacturing Industry Veteran Ted Rock American Laminations seeks to build a best-in-class component profile wrapping and specialty manufacturing organization to better serve the building products industry. The Company will engage people-first business practices and broad-based employee ownership as part of BIP’s mission to better align collective shareholder, management & employee interests, elevate workforce prosperity, and drive enhanced organizational performance in its portfolio companies. American Specialty Laminations makes its inaugural investment via the acquisition of the assets of SourceCut Industries Inc. (based in Osseo, Wisconsin), in partnership with Ted Rock, Brad and Zach Wiedenhoeft, and the business’ managers and workforce. August 30, 2021 10:20 PM Eastern Daylight Time OSSEO, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Building Industry Partners LLC (“BIP”), the leading building industry-focused private equity investment firm, has formed a new specialty building products component manufacturing platform in partnership with building industry veteran Ted Rock – North American Specialty Laminations (“American Laminations”). BIP and Mr. Rock formed American Laminations to build a best-in-class, people-first component profile wrapping and specialty manufacturing organization. Concurrent with its formation, American Laminations made its inaugural investment, the acquisition of the assets of SourceCut Industries, Inc. in partnership with SourceCut’s existing owners and management team. Founded in 1999, SourceCut Industries, Inc. (“SourceCut”) is a fast-growing manufacturer of laminated, composite and wood components serving the residential and commercial Window & Door, Cabinet & Casegood, Architectural Millwork, Furniture and Fixture/Display Industries. This partnership and investment in SourceCut will help bring to life the Wiedenhoeft family’s vision for the business – investing in human and capital resources to bolster service of existing and new customers and position the business for significant organic and acquisition-related expansion. Brad Wiedenhoeft, founder of SourceCut, continues with American Laminations as Chief Revenue Officer. Zach Wiedenhoeft continues in his current role of President, with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the facilities in Osseo, Wisconsin. Both Brad and Zach Wiedenhoeft will support Mr. Rock who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of North American Specialty Laminations. SourceCut Industries, Inc. will retain their business’ name. Matt Ogden, Founder & Managing Partner of BIP, said, “We’re excited to kick off our new specialty component manufacturing platform with SourceCut as our foundation, and are looking forward to working alongside the Wiedenhoeft family to build on all they have achieved. We’re also introducing a proven, growth-minded manufacturing leader in Ted Rock, growth capital, and a commitment to driving enhanced results for our employees, customers, and business operations overall. Mr. Ogden also noted, “North American Specialty Laminations is BIP’s second new platform under our people-first purpose. BIP renewed its purpose to drive a new standard in its investing that better aligns shareholder, management and employee interests, and prioritizes human capital management as a strategic pillar to building better businesses, generating better investment returns, and helping employees actualize their career goals. Brad Wiedenhoeft, the founder of SourceCut, commented “BIP’s commitment to SourceCut’s people was an intriguing factor in pursuing this partnership. BIP’s relationships, talent resources, and capital investment will allow us to continue our strategic growth plan – providing our customers excellent service levels with quality products. Most importantly, enhancing our pursuit to provide our employees best in class opportunities. I’m very excited about the positive impact this partnership will have for our great employees, and for our customers who trust us with their business.” Ted Rock joins as Chief Executive Officer of North American Specialty Laminations, drawing on his 15+ years of experience with market-leading building products manufacturing companies, and successful track record of growing private equity-backed organizations. Mr. Rock will lead the company’s future growth, including an ambitious plan to expand the platform’s footprint. He most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Panoramic Doors, Senior Vice President of PGT Innovations, and as Chief Operating Officer of Atrium Windows and Doors. Pat Mascia, Partner & Head of Strategic Development for BIP, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with a talented and experienced leader like Ted Rock - his unique experience across Private Equity, Specialty Manufacturing, and the Window and Door segment make him especially qualified to lead American Laminations. We are honored to be working alongside Mr. Rock and the Wiedenhoeft family to build on the success they have each achieved individually, and to bring our collective experiences, skills, and resources together to drive a game-changing platform.” Ted Rock commented, “It has been a pleasure to get to know the Wiedenhoeft family, and a privilege to be entrusted to lead this platform alongside them. I am delighted by the opportunity to partner with BIP, a firm that I have admired both for their investment track record and for their explicit commitment to the employees of BIP portfolio companies. This is a fantastic opportunity for me and for SourceCut, and I’m looking forward to being a contributor to BIP’s ‘Do Good and Do Well’ mission.” Two BIP Operating Partners – Peter Stroble and Chris Kliefoth – will be joining the Board of North American Specialty Laminations as Directors. Mr. Stroble previously held roles as Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer of Alta Forest Products, North America's largest manufacturer of fence boards, as well as President of Alta's predecessor, Welco Lumber Company. Mr. Kliefoth is a Wisconsin native, with deep experience in private equity, manufacturing, and leadership – including 15+ years as President of Nationwide Industries. Partners involved in this opportunity were Holland & Knight LLC and Fifth Third Bank. Intrinsic LLC, CBIZ Insurance Services, Inc., DSG Benefits Group, and ATEC were also instrumental. About Building Industry Partners Building Industry Partners (“BIP”) is the leading private equity investment firm focused on the U.S. building industry. Founded by Matt Ogden in 2008, BIP is headquartered in Boston, with partners across the U.S. The firm is led by Matt and Partners Pat Mascia, Pete Robinson, and Stu Kliman and supported by the firm’s Operating Partners. BIP invests its Partners’ own capital, as well as that of a number of strategic, like-minded investors, including business leaders and family offices affiliated with the U.S. building industry.

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