Had IMTS 2020 taken place as scheduled, it would have been clear that making parts as quickly and cost-effectively as possible remains as the primary goal in manufacturing.
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Speeding the flow of jobs through the shop, while maintaining top quality, ranks among the hallmarks of any successful manufacturing operation’s goals.
The next “dynamic duo” may not involve humans at all. “Machine vision and robots make for a perfect marriage,” stated Klas Bengtsson, global product manager, vision systems for ABB Robotics (Auburn Hills, MI). This is not new. Vision and robotics have gone hand in hand for years.
Ask the owner of any machine shop or sheet-metal house to name the biggest obstacle to company growth and you’re likely to receive the same answer—it’s not a lack of working capital that’s slowing them down, nor a shortage of advanced technology, but something far more basic: the need for someone to push a green button or pack boxes. “We can’t find enough people,” you’ll hear.
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.
Tackling the workforce skills gap issue involves dealing with not only experienced employees who have sharp subtractive manufacturing skills but have to be prodded to move into additive manufacturing (AM) but also newbies who still need to hone skills required to harness the promise of emerging technology, Atlas Stamping and Manufacturing CEO Lynda Prigodich-Reed said.
There are plenty of manufacturing catchphrases: the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industry 4.0 and the Digital Factory. “Sometimes it’s a lot of buzzwords. Sometimes there’s a lot of reality behind it,” said Roger Hart, research and development manager of Siemens (Berlin and Munich, Germany).
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.
Q&A with Chirayu Shah, Marketing Manager, HMI Software, Rockwell Automation
HANNOVER, Germany—ABB and IBM will work together to unlock new value for customers in manufacuring, utilities, transport and infrastructure, executives from the companies said here today at Hannover Messe.