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.
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Getting fast, accurate data delivered to the palm of your hand is helping drive demand for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. With the popularity of smartphones and tablets, manufacturers are capitalizing on the ability to get critical factory operational data from ERP, manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) applications into the hands of the right decision-makers in a timely manner.
Alpha Laser, based in Puchheim, near Munich, Germany, specializes in laser-based processing technology, and Schneider Electric, headquartered in Andover, MA., is Alpha Laser’s automation partner for its semiautomatic and fully automatic machines, including a CNC-controlled universal machine for manufacturing sensors.
Enpress LLC (Eastlake, OH) selected ERP software from Epicor Software (Austin, TX) in March 2014 to gain real-time access to data to improve operational efficiencies internally and communications with its customers.
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).
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.
Intelligent factories have existed since manufacturing’s historical inception, but intelligence—defined as the acquisition and application of manufacturing knowledge—resided only with the factory’s staff.
Have collaborative, six-axis robots reached a tipping point in establishing their niche in manufacturing? And could they be opening doors for manufacturers to adopt automation overall?
I’ve had quite a month, again, covering clever software and gadgets that continue to inch their way into performing tasks once reserved for humans. These tasks range from mundane material handling to highly skilled engineering design. It has made me think quite a bit about how our world of manufacturing and engineering will be affected by all this artificial cleverness.