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MTConnect Exec: Standards Help See Into Future, Integrate Diverse Equipment

Russell Waddell, managing director at the MTConnect Institute, dives into why so many standards exist, what manufacturers can gain from a digital factory project, and how they can cut through the hype—to at least achieve shop floor monitoring. MTConnect, a standard with more than 10 years of history, frees up manufacturers to focus on value-add functions instead of normalizing data. And it has been installed on more than 50,000 devices worldwide. Today, the use case is not just what happened or what is happening “what is going to happen: looking at … anything that is forward-looking and anticipating what will happen next.” Perhaps most important, embracing standards allows for quick and easy integration of all types and brands of equipment.

Getting Supply Chain Risk Under Control

William Crane, CEO of IndustryStar, an on-demand supply chain services and software technology company, dives into what manufacturers concerned about supply chain risk can do to worry less. In his estimation, “on-demand supply chain risk management resources have really been taking off.” It is possible, he said, to build a “supply chain competitive advantage.” Heard of agile supply chain? If not, he explains it.

Advances in CAD/CAM enable faster, efficient cutting, longer tool life

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.

Skills gap solutions, straight from those on the front lines

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.

SME to deliver third digital transformation report at IMTS

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.

Best to proactively address environmental compliance

As the momentum to go green continues to build across the globe, the number of environmental regulations for reducing hazardous substances keeps growing. At the same time, more and more customers are now setting their own environmental requirements, adding more complexity to the mix.

Calculating true ROI for robotic automation

When considering a new robotic automation system, one of the biggest concerns can be the weight of the initial costs. While such a large capital expense may be hard to swallow at first, it’s industry-proven that manufacturers see an average ROI of 24 months from robots.

Meticulous Recordkeeping Doesn’t Have to Be Painful

The requirements for FDA 21 CFR Part 11 are in place for a good reason: When companies are making a part that goes inside your body, the engineering and manufacturing process must be meticulously documented, tested and controlled. People’s lives are at stake.