Automated manufacturing operations are finely tuned ecosystems in which all components must function in complete harmony. Grippers used to pick and place, orient and hold components or end products at various points along the production chain are key to this process.
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Most manufacturers have relied on third-party vendors to make parts that are then incorporated into the final product. From automakers sourcing stereos and aircraft makers contracting for jet engines to a small bakery ordering plastic bags or a woodshop buying nails, producers of all types have supplemented their internal capabilities through a painstakingly developed supply chain of external vendors.
The low temperature intrinsic to solid-state printing processes allows manufacturers to weld layers of dissimilar metals without fear of metallurgical incompatibility issues.
Just getting familiar with the digital thread? You’ve come to the right place to learn what it is and why you need it for your products.
Years ago, when I worked in New York City, I bought a Sony Walkman for my daily commute. It was cutting edge technology and I was an early adopter. I imagined that I looked pretty cool, listening to tunes I organized myself on a mix tape. Fast forward to today, where music is everywhere, on every conceivable device.
The next cycle of technology disruption is upon us. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking hold in every industry and manufacturing is no exception. AI enables companies—from medical device and electronics manufacturers to pharmaceutical firms—to leverage their Big Data and IoT investments to see new patterns and insights and to perform tasks more efficiently and quickly than ever before.
Nearly a year ago, the world became aware of a new computer virus known as WannaCry. Many institutions were affected by the ransomware. It encrypted and locked a Microsoft Windows computing system and demanded payment.
Companies like ABB, Balluff and Sick would be within their rights to film a commercial with exuberant sensor product managers breaking out in a song of cheer.
Having a plan for maintaining and improving the performance and reliability of every machine on a shop floor is vital to manufacturing operations. Reliable machines make short-notice production runs possible. And the more flexible manufacturers are, the more new customers they’ll attract.
Manufacturing Engineering asked thought leaders at five companies for their views on challenges and trends facing the metalworking industry.