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Featured NEWS:
  • Tough Outdoor Enclosures Simplify Advanced Remote I/O Plant Control Architectures
  • Greenliant Offers Superior Data Retention and Endurance with EnduroSLC SATA NANDrive SSDs
  • UltraFlex demonstrates automated induction brazing of 6 copper pipes using Dragon 15 Brazing Robot
  • DAES Distribution Announces Partnership with First National Capital
  • UltraFlex melting aluminum with levitation using an induction heater
  • Weland Solutions acquires Compact Store and Kodverkstan
  • UltraFlex Induction Heaters Used by Researchers to Mimic a Nuclear Disaster
  • 3 Types of Industrial Serial Communication
  • BACnet Router Upgrade - New and Improved BACnet Router for only $255 during the month of April, 2019
  • CAS BACnet Wireshark Report Tool - A Free Utility for Automation Professionals
  • KEB America announces new safety solutions for automation systems

    Featured Articles, Analysis, Reviews, Interviews & Views     
    Automation, Controls, Plant Intelligence, Embeded, CNC , Industrial IT... Articles >>   
    Holiday Warehouse Automation
    Frank Charles Cozza :: B2C (Business to Consumer) changing market dynamics, increased technical complexity, and the unyielding pressure to do more with less, requires that warehouse and DC managers look to innovative solutions to make the most of the space they have (especially since adding square footage, if available, is prohibitively expensive).
    Accessing Existing Business Intelligence Automates Industrial Profitability
    Soren Block Olsen :: Too often manufacturing firms, even top-tier operations managers, use company analyses or reports which neglect to ask why outcomes failed. There is attention paid to all variables evenly and equally rather than discerning which area of an industrial business needs most attention to improve profit.
    Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Smart Glasses
    Seth Patin :: WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) solutions are good at managing information, but not truly intuitive for the floor worker. This is primarily because lines of text are not the best way to tell someone how to do work; humans respond best to visual instructions. For that reason, most companies discuss on-boarding and training in terms of days, or worse yet, weeks. Visual Input Enabled Wearable (VIEW) technology rethinks workforce ...
    Automatic Truck Loading Systems Increase Efficiency by 400 Percent
    Jack Smylie :: Automatic Truck Loading Systems (ATLS) increase efficiency by 400% compared to traditional forklift truck loading. This automation is particularly important as 3PLs (third party logistics) companies, distribution centers (DCs), and warehouses all get ready for the all-important holiday picking, packing, and shipping season. There is a fundamental flaw ...
    Automated Optimization Generates 77 Percent Reduction in Barcode Scans
    Travis Smith :: Insight into techs, warehouses, and neighboring sources have a direct correlation to customer satisfaction. Automating this process by using mobile devices, field service technicians keep inventory updated, allowing everyone in the eco-system to review part inventories. When a part is needed, warehouse operators are notified on their device immediately for fast delivery or pick up. Once a part is in the possession of the tech, inventory is automatically ...
    Two Functions at Manufacturing Organizations Prime for Process Improvement
    Barrett Thompson :: Two functions at manufacturing organizations are prime for process improvement: selling and pricing. A closer look at the selling function reveals that despite reducing labor costs via transformational automation solutions, sales teams still manage large, antiquated portfolios. They are expected to increase their book of business while retaining current customers ...
    Capturing Improved Productivity: Tugger Train Automation
    Andy Legut :: Ultimately the reason for automation is to capture improved productivity. Cesar Jimenez, a Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. employee shared that a forklift can only carry up to two loads at a time. A tugger with multiple heavy-duty carts can be pulled and moved at the same time. The result is improved safety and productivity. Too often automation and robotics are characterized by sensors driving Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
    Industry 4.0 and Fork Truck Free
    Ryan Brown and Ed Brown :: By 2025, the intralogistics industry must be capable of supporting a highly diverse set of order and distribution channels in keeping with mass customized products and delivery methods. Customers expect deliveries of customized product anywhere at any time, placing fierce demands on DCs for faster throughput. Industry 4.0 data driven approach when combined with FTF will play an integral role.
    AGV Automation in the Automotive Sector
    Carlos Millan :: For decades, automated guided vehicle (AGV) technology has delivered materials handling and logistics solutions to the world's largest and most sophisticated automotive companies. Automotive manufacturers have embraced the lean principles of advanced logistics and manufacturing solutions. Fork truck free (FTF) initiatives and operations are the standard in North America and Europe since 2015. Automotive companies and their Tier 1 suppliers recognize the need for partnership in the AGV industry. The collaborative relationship between the companies' manufacturing engineers and AGV subject matter experts are essential in implementing turnkey systems which increase productivity and flexibility, and safely reduce operating costs.
    Automated Guided Vehicles' Traffic Control Software Advances Value Proposition of Mobile Robots
    Rob Sullivan :: AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles) systems in some ways follow the evolution of America's transportation system. Railroads represented the first 'automated' transportation for material; people and products. These systems were constrained to run on pre-defined routes with specific schedules. Changing routes, or adding destinations, was a monumental undertaking. The system evolved with the introduction of the interurban rail system (e.g., trolley systems). Routes and destinations were fixed yet easier to change, but scheduling remained inflexible from an individual's perspective. Automobiles were the ultimate solution. Individuals could now control the destination, route, and schedule to meet their demands. This flexibility came with the hidden expense of traffic congestion and lost throughput.
    New Automation Architecture Drives Changes in the Voice Picking Landscape
    Robert P. Bova :: Server-based voice picking companies have been promoting custom, proprietary systems as superior to existing workflows and businesses processes. Embedded in these claims is a bit of arrogance about what is best for businesses claiming they are the experts of voice picking. While there have been successes utilizing well-known server-based voice-embedded, with big names like Vocollect, many companies have been burned, leaving a sour taste for voice-picking. The promises of integrated software modules integrating to Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) has given way to costly upgrade charges every so many years.
    Cloud-based MES, ETO, and Job Element Monitoring
    Randy Blaylock :: A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a system that manufacturers can use to measure and control critical production activities. Some of the benefits of MES solutions are increased traceability, productivity, and quality. Other functions served by MES solutions may include equipment tracking, product genealogy, labor tracking, inventory management, costing, electronic signature capture, defect and resolution monitoring, key performance indicator (KPI) monitoring and alarming, executive dashboards, and other various reporting solutions.
    Lean and Technology: the Rapid Growth of the Demand Driven Institute
    Chad Smith and Carol Ptak :: Lean advocates often get accused of being anti-technology, but do Lean advocates really want manufacturing companies to abandon the promise of technology? The answer should be yes when that technology is wasteful, confusing, and not reflective of reality, whit it force-fits concepts so as to simply permit their use. Unfortunately, this has been the situation for quite some time with regard to traditional MRP and DRP (distribution requirements planning) systems.
    The Problem: Untapping the Value in Extended Enterprise Value Chains
    The Solution: Demand Driven Enterprise-wide Supply Chain Solutions
    Frank Kapper :: Over the past decade there has been a great need for better technology solutions to address global demand-driven and enterprise-wide supply chains. While lean manufacturing initiatives have instigated certain processes, such as Kanban, the reality for global manufacturers is simple: ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions (from NetSuite to Oracle to SAP and others) have failed to deliver the promises needed. ERP is a critical and important aspect of any manufacturing firm; it is not a panacea. Over the next few months we are going to explore some of the reasons why ERP-based supplier portal solutions struggle to provide the tools required by manufacturers to visualize, collaborate, execute and manage extended enterprise value chains.

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    Manufacturing Insights     
    Lean Manufacturing Automation 2019: Digital Visual Management
    For more than a quarter century, Lean Manufacturing consultants have walked into manufacturing plants with butcher block paper (or a whiteboard) and multi-colors of Post-its to perform Value Stream Mapping (VSM). Over the course of months, even years, teams within the four walls of an industrial facility negotiated the elements of migrating from a problematic "current state" to an optimized "future state." Paper was the only tool to engage entire lean teams to view "what is" and "what could be." [Read More]
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    Editor's Ramblings     
  • New Products Brought to Market Faster with Cloud-Based Technologies
    The customers are training the manufacturing sector with the mantra, make what I want, when I want it or I will take my business elsewhere. This insistence for a one-of-a-kind (or far from "off-the-shelf") solution requires that new products be brought to market faster than ever. .... [Read More]
  • Big Data Scientists with Big Pay and Big Stress
    A survey of 600 data scientists found that many are "exhibiting high levels of work-related stress", with more than a quarter reporting they were "heavily stressed." .... [Read More]
  • Relentless Pursuit: Fatigue Ensues
    When new lean teams gather for the first time there is usually an imperative for the program. From operations managers, maintenance managers, quality control manager to C-level participants and plant floor workers, there is an initial enthusiasm for the concept and quasi-religious fervor of eliminating waste and zealous appreciation that this is the beginning of a long road to continuous process improvement. Fast forward two years later and those same folks, if still employed by the same company, are tired, far less enthusiastic, and even bored with the lean process. .... [Read More]
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems Allow for Innovation and Manage Variability
    Managing a highly configurable product through the manufacturing process can be a daunting task, manufacturing execution systems (MES) with advanced configuration capabilities can help. Parametrics involve the ability to adjust based on parameters. The dictionary definition of a parametric equation implies that such parameters are based on coordinates. For a project-based manufacturer using an MES, those coordinates take on great importance. MES technology solutions should include parametrics which go far beyond using parameters only to represent coordinates; the coordinates should have the capacity to dynamically adjust bills of materials, bills of labor, routings, costs, selling prices, and sizes. .... [Read More]

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