If “automation” is the constant drone you hear from practically everyone in metalworking these days, job shop owners might be the only people yelling “No!” Or at least “Wait!” How, they ask, can you cost-effectively automate low-volume, high-mix parts? Yet it’s not only doable but probably necessary.
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Connected manufacturing and digitization technologies are spurring many of the major innovations in CNC machine controls that help machine shops cut metal and create parts as quickly and efficiently as possible.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of Industry 4.0, and perhaps a bit sheepish about your lack of progress, you’ve got good company.
One of the foundational aspects of Industry 4.0 protocols is the creation of electronic “digital twin” models of product data and production processes. This includes an exact replica of all machine tools, including complex work envelopes showing the particular spindles, fixtures, and cutting tools.
Cloud computing helps any kind of manufacturing with cybersecurity, efficiency, on-call scalability, and Industry 4.0. But for medical manufacturers, cloud computing brings additional critical benefits.
Sensors are making their way deeper into process manufacturing where they monitor PH levels in vinegar, ensure towering bins of sugar aren’t overfilled and measure humidity in bakeries. Sensors are even helping power better mousetraps.
Wyoming Completion had a shock when it began machining parts in an automated machining cell. It was a good shock: While the company hoped for a 25-35% boost in production, it experienced 400% improvement.
Put the paper and pencil away. Hybrid data management and analysis systems-where users combine paper tracking with computer processing-are no longer meeting the needs of manufacturers for speed, accuracy, traceability and compliance with regulations.
As I walked the floor this spring at North America’s largest trade show for automation technologies, Industry 4.0 was on everybody’s lips. One of the more complex of our industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 has been about the Internet of Things: digitizing and connecting things.
The Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM), Prince George County, Va., brings together industry, academia, and government to solve advanced manufacturing challenges.