The U.S. auto industry has been automated for decades. Production of cars and trucks is associated with large, hulking robots fenced off from human employees. Inside those fenced off areas, tasks such as welding are performed. The industry, though, is advancing on the automation front.
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Connected manufacturing and digitization technologies are spurring many of the major innovations in CNC machine controls that help machine shops cut metal and create parts as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Cheaper robots with more functions, along with more ﬂexible work cells and installations that facilitate robotics, are accelerating the growth of automated manufacturing facilities in the non-automotive sector. Ideas on whether robotics and automation lead to lights-out manufacturing on the shop floor, though, are mixed.
If “automation” is the constant drone you hear from practically everyone in metalworking these days, job shop owners might be the only people yelling “No!” Or at least “Wait!” How, they ask, can you cost-effectively automate low-volume, high-mix parts? Yet it’s not only doable but probably necessary.
Manufacturing automation is trickling down from the massive automotive assembly lines toward the “mom and pop” machine shop. As you take your first look at automation, consider the benefits of and barriers to this technology.
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.
Suppliers of metrology equipment are working towards making measurements easier, allowing greater use throughout the manufacturing process.
Siemens announced today the introduction of Camstar™ Electronics Suite software, an innovative manufacturing execution system (MES) for electronics.
Horizontal machining centers (HMCs) are versatile four-axis and, increasingly, five-axis machine platforms that maximize processing of multi-sided large parts by minimizing part handling.
Rod Zimmerman of cutting tool manufacturer Iscar Metals lives in a pleasant green zone in a Fort Worth suburb. Yet within a half mile of his home, an oil company has sunk a vertical hole 7,500′ (2,286 m) deep, from which it has splayed nine lateral lines, each going about half a mile.