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.
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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.
ECi services a multitude of industries, but we presently have four products that service manufacturing and what FABTECH attendees would be focused on: these include Macola, Max, JobBoss, and M1, which is the product I represent.
With a shortage of young workers willing and able to do today’s factory jobs, manufacturers are taking steps to retain the older workforce already punching in.
These days mirror the late 1990s, when the Internet evolved to widespread use—and the topic bedeviled many. But others—in banking and entertainment, for example—who quickly learned the new lingo and jumped at the chance to explore the Web’s potential benefited greatly. Today’s tantalizing topic: blockchain.
While 3D scanning has already been adopted by many automotive part manufacturers, the use cases in Quality Control (QC) have been limited.
Over its 140-year history, automotive manufacturing technology has evolved in parallel with progress in the vehicles themselves. Early automakers custom made individual “horseless carriages.” Later, standardized parts and moving assembly lines delivered mass-produced cars. Development of integrated transfer lines enabled part runs to extend for years.
GKN Powder Metallurgy, the world leader in powder metallurgy, has joined forces with EOS, the global technology and quality leader in high-end additive manufacturing (AM), to lead the way in business-to-business industrial 3D printing.
“We expect to see the world machinery market grow in the next five years,” said Arun Kumar a director at AlixPartners in a discussion he and I had recently.