In our May webinar titled “Lasers in Manufacturing: State of the Art in 2018,” we noted the emergence of some novel technologies to produce the “holy grail” of laser welding: spatter-free joins with no porosity and, when required, highly aesthetic outcomes.
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I just returned from IMTS in Chicago and my first thought was, “where will I be able to rack up all those bonus steps I got last week?” On the easiest day, I walked 7.9 miles, and I topped 10 miles on two other days. It’s easy to understand why.
Artificial Intelligence is weaved in with capacity management, cybersecurity, data science, diagnostics, ERP-PLM integration, location analysis, machine learning, predictive maintenance, process optimization, situational awareness and supply chain management.
Smart sensors, already an integral feature of many manufacturing plants that are integrating IT and OT, are now making their way into the supply chain where they monitor reliability and shipping conditions, improve predictive maintenance and make just-in-time delivery (the innovation from the 1980s) easier.
The U.S. needs to build a national infrastructure in engineering and manufacturing R&D that parallels its scientific infrastructure. While it makes all the sense in the world, it is not happening.
For CMMs, the good times continue to roll. “One of the surprising things that has happened in just the last three to four years is the sheer volume of CMMs that we are shipping,” said Angus Taylor, president of Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, North America (North Kingstown, RI). “The market seems to be really exploding.”
In a perfect CNC world, the first part is always a good one. There’s no need for extra blanks or barstock. Setup times are only as long as is needed to swap out a few tools and load a new program. There’s never a crash, never the need to reprogram an inefficient bit of code. The operator just pushes the green button and out pops a finished workpiece minutes or hours later.
On June 22-23, SME hosted a Smart Manufacturing Working Group meeting at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX) followed by an international workshop on Smart Manufacturing for the Factory of the Future.
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.
SME is publishing a series of Smart Manufacturing Industry Reports, with the third being released at IMTS this month. The reports, available at sme.org/reports, detail the advantages of smart manufacturing, the challenges to implementing digital solutions, and, finally, keys to implementing the technologies and tools.