Robots Help My Son’s Smile

April 29, 2007

dscf0371.jpgRobots shaped the wires used on the braces for my 11-year-old son, Jake, and 3D imaging captured the necessary data for the digital model. According to the Web site for this technology, the job can’t be done by hand. I’ve known for some time that robots touch our everyday lives, but this is the most personal example I’ve ever had. 

Jake has been walking around with a pretty mellow attitude since getting his braces. He isn’t moping, but he isn’t the same. He got the upper wires on Friday, April 27, and gets the lower ones this coming Friday. The good thing is that he won’t wear these braces as long as he would traditional ones, and the technique eliminates uncomfortable adjustments. He should be done several months faster than the “old fashioned” way, with no tightening of the wires and no rubber bands. He may not realize it, but he’s very lucky, don’t you think?

According to the Web site for SureSmile (, they use “memory wires” that the robot bends using very high heat. When the braces are placed on the teeth, body temperature activates the metal which then wants to return to the shape (i.e. prescription) designed by the robot.

I can’t tell whose robot or imaging technology is part of the process, but they say the process couldn’t be done by hand due to the extreme temperatures and digital modeling required.  Let me know if you have information that sheds more light on the robots and imaging used for SureSmile braces.

– posted April 29, 2007, by Brian Huse, RIA (


Sponsored User Membership Campaign

April 11, 2007

(a.k.a. Subject Line Needed)

All RIA committees have been asked to participate in a new user member campaign developed in concert by RIA’s Membership Committee and MARCOM Committee, with full endorsement from Trevor Jones, President, Robotic Industries Association.


Each committee member is asked to sponsor a new member in the User Silver category. There is no charge to the sponsor or to the new member, however only companies that use or are contemplating the use of robots in their manufacturing process are qualified for the offer.


According to Catherine Morris, Chairman of the Membership Committee, the goal is to bolster the user ranks which in turn benefits all members with more networking opportunities. She emphasizes that the membership is by invitation only, and this exclusivity is part of the value of the offer. Users currently make up 20% of RIA’s member ranks.


Each sponsor is limited to 10 companies they can recruit for “free,” however the actual retail value is $150. Please emphasize the sponsorship aspect when recruiting. An html document for your recruiting convenience has been created and sent to all committee members under separate cover. If you need it again, contact the Webmaster at, or call 734/994-6088.


Current RIA User Members

User Silver Membership Benefits

Robots in the Foundry Business

April 6, 2007

styx-mr-roboto-kilroy.jpgMany days my job has to do with “selling” memberships and other Association business, but recently I was selling robots. (Fade in “Mr. Roboto,” by Styx, since I’m only half serious about the selling thing.)

Anyway, Larry, a guy I know at our office building, stopped me on the way in one morning and asked if I could help him find a robot for a coating application in a foundry. Thank goodness for our printed Directory and online Buyer’s Guide! I was able show him these resources and talk a little about his needs.

He really should talk to an expert, I told him, but I was curious to learn more about what he was looking for. So, I grabbed the Directory plus a printout from the Robotics Online Buyer’s Guide with a list of companies in the Coatings category and headed to the third floor to see Larry.

Larry’s company is involved in the foundry business, and he is a big believer in robots. He said he sees them by the dozens when he visits clients. We talked about the demanding environment where castings are made, and he remarked that robots have gotten much better at handling the dirty, harsh settings of these businesses and are now quite essential in this industry.

It turns out that one of his clients is having trouble with how a core wash is applied. Right now, he said, a person at the factory uses a paint brush to dab the coating in a small area of the sand casting, and drips get into all the wrong places. Worse, he explained that the core wash hardens so much that it can break expensive machining bits, so problems with the application are quite significant.

This situation with the core wash is one that can be a real pain for a company like Larry’s, because if he gets involved, a customer is apt to blame him for the expensive breakage of bits (no matter that the real problem has to do with the manual application of the coating). This fact makes it a dicey proposition to try to help the customer, since it could lead to additional acrimony if something goes wrong. But Larry is convinced that a robot would solve his customer’s problem with the core wash, and he feels so strongly that he wants to find a robot company that will help him and his client.

With all the top-notch manufacturers and integrators that belong to RIA, I am confident that one of them will be able to help Larry’s company. He didn’t want to go on a mailing list, so I have to withhold his contact information, but please let me know if you want me to pass anything on to him.

Remember, I gave him the Directory and a printout of companies that selected the “Coatings” category for their listing in the Buyer’s Guide. If you haven’t updated your listing lately, don’t wait. RIA gets lots of these kinds of inquiries, and this is one of the main ways we respond.

Disclaimer: I don’t have extensive knowledge of the foundry business, so if I garbled any details I apologize in advance. Feel free to enlighten me. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

— posted by Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, RIA (, 734/994-6088)

Robotic Grinding, Deburring & Finishing Workshop Dates Set

April 4, 2007

September 17-19, Minneapolis, Minnesota

If you haven’t looked at robots for finishing applications (i.e. material removal), or if you wonder what’s new and possible, now is a good time to see what 3M and Robotic Industries Association are doing to bring you an all-new Robotic Grinding, Deburring & Finishing Workshop. We just booked the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis as the site of this year’s RGDF Workshop, September 17-19, and there will be new sessions, new information and lots to do. 

We will look at new techniques and technology for robotic finishing since the last time we held this Workshop, which was in 2005 – already two years ago! Once again, 3M will open its robot labs for hands-on demonstrations, and tabletop exhibits will showcase top vendors in this specialized field.

A working group of RIA members and industry experts is planning the itinerary of topics, and speakers can submit abstracts now. 

Click here to see the program from 2005. 

By the way … for those of you who came last time, you’ll be happy to learn the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis is a bigger hotel than we had before with more classroom space and more guest rooms, too. (As you know, we were busting at the seams in 2005 when some 150 people packed the event.) Plus, we will be right downtown with plenty to do after hours! 

For more information, contact Brian Huse (, 734/994-6088).