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Manufacturing and AI: Promises and Pitfalls

We all know the buzzwords circulating around digital data and the factory. You have heard them—Industry 4.0, smart factories, data analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI). The question we all have is how will this impact workers in the long term? What do these terms really mean? Nevertheless, both traditional software suppliers and makers of advanced manufacturing equipment are offering digital solutions.

Tool Presetters Take On Industry 4.0

For machine shops in a competitive global marketplace, keeping spindles running and making product is the only way to stay in business. Still, adding a new piece of equipment, even with the promise of improving the efficiency of your existing ones, may be a difficult sell to management.

New Approaches to Making Parts for the Oil Patch

Rod Zimmerman of cutting tool manufacturer Iscar Metals lives in a pleasant green zone in a Fort Worth suburb. Yet within a half mile of his home, an oil company has sunk a vertical hole 7,500′ (2,286 m) deep, from which it has splayed nine lateral lines, each going about half a mile.

Non-Automotive Manufacturing Sectors Flocking to Robotics

Cheaper robots with more functions, along with more flexible work cells and installations that facilitate robotics, are accelerating the growth of automated manufacturing facilities in the non-automotive sector. Ideas on whether robotics and automation lead to lights-out manufacturing on the shop floor, though, are mixed.

Automotive Industry Improves Automation, Adopts Advanced Tech

The U.S. auto industry has been automated for decades. Production of cars and trucks is associated with large, hulking robots fenced off from human employees. Inside those fenced off areas, tasks such as welding are performed. The industry, though, is advancing on the automation front.

Artificial Intelligence Comes to CAD

The bane of modern engineering is complexity. One promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning is helping engineers to use complex tools and harness vast data sets effectively.

Optimization Module Tackles Tough Materials

Most anyone who’s worked in a machine shop for any length of time has at some point attended a trade show or machine tool distributor’s open house. There they see canned demonstrations of CNC machines busily carving up chunks of brass, mild steel, or aluminum into business card holders and tic-tac-toe games.