Robots and job shops have not typically been talked about together. After all, everyone knows that automation is only suitable for high-volume production, and the typical mom-and-pop operation is anything but—its schedule filled with orders for high-mix, low-volume, and often highly complex work.
Like most of the digital architecture of manufacturing, computer numerical controllers (CNCs) have advanced rapidly in recent years, producing far more processing speed and implementing advanced algorithms, while at the same time offering simpler, more intuitive user interfaces.
Horizontal machining center technology—a long-time mainstay of OEMs and Tier One contract manufacturers—has morphed into space efficient, versatile machining platforms that any high-mix job shop can benefit from.
Amid predictions of global economic slowdowns and several recent PMI readings indicating manufacturing contraction, it becomes easy to see how slow production performance and data inefficiencies throughout the manufacturing supply chain contribute to economic uncertainty and concerns for future business.
By James Allen RegenorColonel,U.S. Air Force (Retired)
Alicat Scientific is an ISO 9001 manufacturer of mass flow meters, mass flow controllers and pressure controllers for gases and liquids. Based in Tucson, Ariz., Alicat has been designing and manufacturing precision instruments since its inception in 1991.
Hitachi Powdered Metals (USA) Inc. began a gradual investment in industrial robots at their Greensburg, Ind. plant in 2005, driven by the emergence of a tightening labor market and the opportunity to produce an extremely fragile product.
We sat down recently with SME Fellow Douglas Decker, an internationally known expert in the field of advanced composites fabrication and assembly, to discuss his background and innovative approaches on several critical military programs.
ByDouglas D. Decker, FSME - The Composites Consultants, SME Member Since 2016
Many organizations struggle with applying new technology in their manufacturing operations. SME conducted the Manufacturing Technology Harmonization Study to understand how companies approach this challenge of integrating smart manufacturing, big data, and both new and old capital equipment in a cost-effective and practical implementation.
BySteve George - Business Intelligence Manager, SME
This article is based on the Workforce Leadership Exchange held at FABTECH 2019 in Chicago. It is the continuation of coverage that began with the Up Front column in Manufacturing Engineering, January 2020.
For the last few years, many of us in the manufacturing automation field have expressed the need to “build bridges to everywhere” within the context of Industry 4.0. It is a way to describe the capability and the goal of connecting shop floor resources, for example single machines with pallet pools, machines with robotic machine tending, and multi-machine cells and FMSs.
ByTomi Kankainen - Chief Digital Officer and Vice President, Fastems Oy AB