The prime contractor for supplying automation tools to the Airbus plant in Broughton, UK, which is assembling the wings of what will be the world’s largest commercial aircraft–the A380–is Electroimpact Inc. (Mukilteo, WA).
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Mention automation and most people think high-volume production environments in which millions of parts are pumped out on a regular basis. While that may be true in many instances, it is definitely not the case at Choice Precision Inc. (Whitehall, PA).
Contract manufacturers, aka job shops, are the heart and soul of US manufacturing. Their survival and success are imperative.
“We expect to see the world machinery market grow in the next five years,” said Arun Kumar a director at AlixPartners in a discussion he and I had recently.
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.
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.
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.
At Jaktool LLC (Cranbury, NJ), a team of young inquisitive engineers is investing the time to explore the full potential of its manufacturing software and machines to take on the complex jobs no one else wants. Using Mastercam CAD/CAM programming software from CNC Software Inc. (Tolland, CT), Jaktool is able to save setup times and tooling costs, and reduce cycle times, while delivering exceptional customer service to a diverse cross section of industries.