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.
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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.
Change is hard. Whether it’s learning a new software package or setting up a new model of machine tool, many of us wonder at some point, “Is all this hassle worthwhile?” Change can also be risky, raising the specter of lost time, revenue, and reputation.
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.
With the potential for a 30% productivity increase or even more, there's a strong incentive for automating CNC machining processes. But before you flip the switch on that robot, you’ll need to check out the surrounding tools and processes.
The economic challenges brought forth by COVID-19 are causing a more intense focus in manufacturing on the need for the kind of alacrity achieved with digital tools and the kind of digital savvy achieved with strong partnerships.
I met a man recently. He had worked at a small manufacturing company for 20 plus years and was the sole technician responsible for the assembly of his company’s most complex product. After years of dedication to the company, he was set to retire.
The credential hanging on my wall that swells me with pride is my machinist certificate. That apprenticeship experience was the “ON!” switch for my career path. The brightness of that light helped maintain the vision and the hope even as I faced significant racial bias almost 30 years ago.
Imagine hearing the news that manufacturers are producing a proven and safe vaccine for COVID-19 and shipping it your way. It will be music to the world’s ears.
The arrival of COVID-19 onto the global manufacturing landscape has changed operations in a number of important ways.