Manufacturers are always looking for signs of what the economy and the business outlook have in store for them. Since the election of President Trump and, more recently, passage of the tax reform law in December, confidence among businesses of all sizes has been overwhelmingly positive.
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In the 1955 short story “Autofac,” Philip K. Dick envisioned a world dominated by self-replicating robots that work incessantly, eventually depleting the planet’s resources.
As a self-aware millennial, Pat Evans has long been wary of how quickly technology is taking over our lives and quickly dominating the economy. Attending HxGN Live in June, Hexagon AB’s annual digital solutions conference, some of those fears were reinforced, while others were quelled.
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.
The demand for titanium components by the aerospace industry began as a whisper about 15 years ago and steadily grew to a sustained, raucous shout over the last five and likely won’t quiet for several more.
When I graduated with an engineering degree some decades ago, I learned that the organizations I was going to work for had internal communication problems. This was especially true for those that designed and manufactured complex machinery such as engines, aircraft, or automobiles.
The history of cutting tools goes back a ways—a long, long way. Our prehistoric ancestors were pretty good at making stone tools, and the technology has improved from there. I saw how much on a February visit to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, which has an exhibit on the history of machining.
A new breed of turbochargers constructed of super tough alloys operates at higher temperatures and rotational speeds than ever before, resulting in greatly increased output in a smaller package for gas and diesel engines alike.
On May 9, I took a whirlwind tour of change in manufacturing by visiting several open house events. First up was BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc. in Hoffman Estates, IL, where Matt Tegelman, applications manager and product manager Kaiser, talked about the Industrial Internet of Things.
It’s easy to become dazed by the continuing stream of buzz words. For those of us in manufacturing, all this buzz creates a sense of impending change, but no clarity on what that change might be. Uncertainty means anxiety.