A self-described “river rat” during his teenage years, Herbert B. Voelcker grew up in the small town of Tonawanda, NY, just north of Buffalo, where as a young man he grew to love the water, boats, and steam engines. His early fascination with how things worked eventually led him to study mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA), and to embark later on a greatly varied technical career highlighted by his research into the mathematical foundations for 3-D solid modeling.
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The latest trends in automation are wide-ranging. They include the integration of the cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things; protecting the software that runs a plant from hackers; manufacturing execution system (MES) apps that can be deployed a la carte; collaborative cobots that can safely do the heavy lifting side-by-side with humans; and robots that can do more than ever before—both on the production line and well away from it.
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.
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.
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.
Launched in November 2016 at FABTECH, Squeaks is a mobile-first Industrial Internet of Things [IIoT] messaging app that facilitates quicker, better decision-making and closed-loop collaboration, with machines as part of the conversation.
Moldmaking is making a comeback, with more reshoring to North America of mold-and-die manufacturing that left for the Far East and other low-cost manufacturing centers. With faster metalcutting through high-speed machining (HSM) and improved EDM techniques, mold-and-die shops are finding innovative ways to compete with manufacturing operations in traditionally low-cost labor markets.
Highly realistic 3-D simulation software can greatly improve manufacturing processes, lending sophisticated visualization tools that help increase manufacturing productivity and product quality.
Manufacturers need to embrace artificial intelligence to make their operations more efficient, a consultant said.
More than 4,600 cutting tools items from M.A. Ford (Davenport, IA) are listed on MachiningCloud (Camarillo, CA), with more to come. M.A. Ford manufactures standard, high performance and custom cutting tools with worldwide manufacturing and distribution facilities. MachiningCloud is a product data provider for cutting tools, CNC machines and workholding.