Advances in CAD/CAM algorithms have improved tool paths, resulting in more speed and efficiency and less stress on both the tool and the objects being cut. Because these new algorithms help tools cut more efficiently and faster, operators save time and the tools last longer.
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With the September issue, Smart Manufacturing introduces Collective Intelligence, a new initiative under which we gather experts in one room to go deep on one important topic. We focused this first roundtable on the intractable problem of the workforce skills gap.
Throughout 2018, SME has published a series of Smart Manufacturing Industry Reports, with the third being released at IMTS this month. The reports, available at sme.org/reports, detail the necessity and advantages of smart manufacturing, the challenges to implementing digital solutions, and, finally, keys to implementing the technologies and tools.
Getting fast, accurate data delivered to the palm of your hand is helping drive demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. With the popularity of smartphones and tablets, manufacturers are capitalizing on the ability to get critical factory operational data from ERP, manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) applications into the hands of the right decision-makers in a timely manner.
Enpress LLC (Eastlake, OH) selected ERP software from Epicor Software (Austin, TX) in March 2014 to gain real-time access to data to improve operational efficiencies internally and communications with its customers.
Alpha Laser, based in Puchheim, near Munich, Germany, specializes in laser-based processing technology, and Schneider Electric, headquartered in Andover, MA., is Alpha Laser’s automation partner for its semiautomatic and fully automatic machines, including a CNC-controlled universal machine for manufacturing sensors.
Hurco Companies Inc. has partnered with BMO Automation to provide customers a tested automation solution that requires minimal integration, according to the companies.
Mention automation and most people think high-volume production environments in which millions of parts are pumped out on a regular basis. While that may be true in many instances, it is definitely not the case at Choice Precision Inc. (Whitehall, PA).
Traditionally, industrial robots have been deployed for manufacturing tasks that required brute strength, such as the heavy-payload robots used in the automotive industry, or they were of the speedy pick-and-place variety, the type of robots often deployed in medical or semiconductor applications. In most instances, safety requirements mandated that robots be entirely sealed off in fence-guarded cells to protect human workers from injury.
Taking stock of a surprising and challenging 2016, a number of trends may point to a future where manufacturing output increases while continuing to decentralize.