SME Establishes Automation/Assembly Event
Efforts to promote knowledge in the fields of automation and assembly now include a conference and exhibits, as well as books and videos
By Brian J. Hogan
At the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, we focus on the shop floor and assembly line. We appreciate that automation is a vital tool for today's manufacturing professionals, and we understand that all products must be assembled properly before delivery to the customer.
To help manufacturing practitioners improve and maintain their competitive advantages in automation and assembly, SME's Automated Manufacturing & Assembly Technical Community has developed a new regional event that will be held in Fort Worth, TX, from May 10 to 12, at the American Airlines Training & Conference Center. Called the Automation & Assembly Summit, the event will include exhibits, a technical conference, and tours of plants run by General Motors and Lockheed Martin. Registration will take place on Monday, May 10 from 3:30 to 6 pm, and on Tuesday and Wednesday from 7 to 8 am.
The Assembly & Automation exhibits will be presented concurrently with the technical conference. Attendees will be able to examine technical advances and displays of products in many arenas including general automation, assembly, flexible automation, sensors, vision systems, robotics, and controls.
The technical conference will take place on Tuesday, May 11, from 9 am to 6 pm, and on Wednesday, May 12, from 9 am to 4 pm. It's organized in six tracks: Flexible Automation; Systems Integration; Verification & Testing; Process & Systems Optimization; Controls and Communication; and Strategic Business Improvement Tools. Some typical session presentation titles are: "Reprogrammable Assembly Automation, High-Accuracy Countersink Measurement with Machine Vision, Equipment Downtime Reduction Management, The Design of Safe Automation & Assembly Systems, The Lean Approach to Assembly Automation," and "The Three Stumbling Blocks of Automation."
The Tuesday morning keynote address, which begins at 8 am, is entitled "Factory Automation at Intel: Micro to Macro." Tom Rucker, Director Factory Automation, Intel Corp. (Chandler, AZ) will give the presentation. He will explain how the role of factory automation in the semiconductor industry is developing, with changes driven by smaller feature sizes, the need for tighter process control, and "macro" changes such as cost pressures, customer requirements, and globalization.
On Wednesday, in a keynote address also scheduled to begin at 8 am, Warren Devries of the Directorate of Engineering, Division of Design, Manufacture and Industrial Innovation (DMII, Arlington, VA), will give a presentation entitled "Government Perspective on Manufacturing Globalization." The DMII supports fundamental research in design, manufacturing and industrial engineering, and manages programs that support small business.
A reception on Tuesday, scheduled for 4 - 6 pm, will give manufacturing professionals in attendance the chance to talk shop and network with other professionals and representatives of the sponsoring organizations. Those sponsors include Comau Pico, Mori Seiki, General Motors, and the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, as well as SME.
Two plant tours will be held on Monday, May 10. The first, which will take attendees to Lockheed Martin's headquarters seven miles west of downtown Fort Worth, begins at 12 pm and should end around 2:30 pm.
Also beginning at 12 pm, the second plant tour will take interested manufacturing professionals to the General Motors Arlington Assembly plant. GM began producing cars at this facility in 1954. Initially encompassing some 1.2 million ft2 (111,480 m2) the plant now provides some 3 million ft2 (278,700 m2) of manufacturing space.
Students from 16 to 18 years of age who are interested in manufacturing will be able to attend a special program organized for them on Wednesday, May 12. The students will tour the Automation & Robotics Research Institute at the University of Texas at Arlington. They'll see presentations by industry and academia, and have a chance to interact with mentors who are SME members, industry representatives, and college students and instructors.
Limited to a maximum of about 150 attendees, the program gives students the chance to see manufacturing technology, and learn about careers in manufacturing. It creates an opportunity for the students' instructors to reinforce classroom instruction with real-world applications.
In addition to the new exposition and conference, SME offers other resources to manufacturing professionals interested in assembly and automation topics. These include books such as: Successful Assembly Automation, which presents theory, general principles, and miscellaneous tips; Lean Assembly, a guided tour of lean manufacturing techniques applied to assembly facilities; and Getting Factory Automation Right (The First Time), which presents a logical step-by-step approach to automation purchasing and implementation.
Endorsed by the Instrumentation Systems and Automation Society (ISA) and SME's Product and Process Design Community, the Automation & Assembly Summit offers manufacturing professionals an opportunity to review emerging automation and assembly technologies, systems, and processes. For more information on the conference, contact Dolores Nixon at 800-733-4763, extension 3225, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the expo and conference, contact SME's Resource Center at 800-733-4763, or visit the event's Web site at www.sme.org/automationassemblysummit.
This article was first published in the February 2004 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine.