Investing in factory automation for the first time is a big decision for many CNC machine shops. For Loveridge Machine (Salt Lake City, UT), owner Dennis Loveridge thoroughly researched his options before making a decision for his high tech job shop.
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Jon Sobel, CEO and Co-Founder of Sight Machine Inc. in San Francisco, sat down with Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak to discuss numerous topics related to Controls and Software, including how Sight Macine Inc. uses analytics software to help shops leverage plant-floor data.
With more factory assets getting connected to the Web, particularly with the coming explosion of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, today’s manufacturing management must look for rock-solid technologies for securing their factory-floor machinery and the mission-critical intellectual property assets that now often reside in cloud-based software.
What are companies looking for in manufacturing execution systems [MES] software?
You have heard it before, today’s manufactured products are becoming ever more complicated. As computers and microcontrollers get ever cheaper and more powerful they have become more enticing for product engineers to use and incorporate. This means the intellectual property in the embedded software has grown increasingly in value – possibly exponentially.
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.
The appeal of multitasking machining isn’t difficult to understand. Multitasking machines overcome some limitations of conventional machines and work their own special brand of magic in subtractively processing parts. From the earliest mill-turn machines to today’s most advanced multifunction machines featuring simultaneous processing, manufacturers have recognized that productivity-enhancing multitasking machining and quality go hand in hand.
Interesting changes have been happening at Haas Automation, one of the few American machine tool builders left standing after scores have been displaced over the decades by Japanese, German and Korean builders.
As automotive manufacturers around the world begin to invest in products and components made with a variety of advanced lightweight materials, the ComauFlex body shop solution—developed and refined over the past decade—has been demonstrating how it can accommodate dissimilar materials while incorporating a wide range of processes.
Once considered also-rans behind automated drilling and filling, alternative aerospace automation processes, like painting, coating, sanding and other surface preparation, are starting to catch on with aerospace builders, especially in commercial aviation where immense order backlogs loom large and demand immediate attention.