Swisslog Case Study: Radwell International- Arlington, TX

Overcoming Automation Obstacles During COVID-19: A Case Study about the implementation of Swisslog AutoStore at Radwell International in Arlington, TX

 

THE CUSTOMER

Radwell International supports its customers with a broad range of new and used industrial products including industrial automation, MRO, pneumatic, motion, electronic, hydraulic, HVAC and electrical control equipment for plant floors and facilities. The company also provides component-level repair for all industrial electronic and electrical equipment, and buys new and used surplus for resale.

Radwell has major distribution hubs in New Jersey and the U.K., which support the bulk of product shipments and also include production facilities for repair. The hubs are supported by a network of satellite facilities that focus on repairs and localized sales. In early 2020, Radwell began construction on its newest automated distribution center. Radwell would locate this AutoStore in its 86,000-square-foot Arlington, Texas, branch.

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5 Tips for Implementing Cobots Into Your Manufacturing Operation

A type of robot growing in popularity in the industrial manufacturing industry is called a cobot, otherwise known as a collaborative robot. The reason for the growing popularity of cobots is their ability to work side by side with human operators to accomplish a task. With ever expanding technology, many fear it will make human workers obsolete. Robots are one of the top concerns. However, when it comes to cobots, they have one great difference from traditional industrial robots. Their design purpose is to work productively alongside humans. This will obviously have the benefit of human labor still required and an advanced form of technology assisting in the job process. Nobody wants to see human labor become obsolete. This is why more and more manufacturing operations are making use of cobots, as they integrate automation systems.

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Automation in Manufacturing: Five Key Advantages

Automation in manufacturing has a great impact on many facets of an operation. In addition to costs, it also impacts worker safety and productivity. There are many benefits of automation processes in a manufacturing environment. Let’s look at some specifics with regards to the advantages of automation in manufacturing processes.

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Five Ways to Make Your Employees Feel Valued

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year. People have experienced challenges they’ve never experienced in their lifetime. There have been triumphs and there have been tragedies and everything in between.

For manufacturers or anyone running a business that was deemed essential during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, things were challenging on a different level. Trying to keep workers safe, keep machinery running to meet increased demand, and manage new safety and security procedures involved a whole new set of rules and adjustments. Amidst all the chaos and confusion were the backbones of organizations: the employees. With the changing rules of a pandemic, improving employee morale and making employees feel valued has become more important than ever before. This article explores five ways to make employees feel valued. These manager tips are easy to implement, budget-friendly, and hopefully valuable to those wanting to show appreciation for the humans who make their businesses run each day.

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Do Cobots Replace People in Manufacturing?

Articles about automation in manufacturing, particularly robotics and collaborative robots, sometimes called “cobots,” appear frequently in the press. The headline message often is focused on eliminating jobs and replacing workers.

Every time I hear someone mention that automation is replacing people, I start to fidget as I prepare for a debate. In Minnesota, we sometimes call this the “yeah-buttal.”
We seem to have long forgotten that computers with spreadsheet, word processing and presentation software have replaced slide-rules, calculators, typewriters, transparency film and so on, as well as stenographers and others who used these low-tech tools. Thankfully. Of course, we use the computers, and we are much more productive. The combination of computer software and hardware might be considered a form of automation (as well as communication, entertainment and a host of other functions), and society has accepted this.

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Implementing Automation During A Pandemic

If you know anything about Radwell, it won’t come as a surprise that we planned our newest regional distribution center in East Arlington, Texas, around automation. After all, we work with our customers to make sure they have the equipment they need to keep their automation systems running, so we understand how valuable automation is to business success.

Plus, we had already successfully automated our New Jersey distribution center. That project met all of our expectations by improving inventory management, making more effective use of our warehouse space and cutting picking times dramatically. Based on that success, we didn’t have to spend time evaluating and selecting an automation system and integration partner. We knew we would design the Texas facility around the AutoStore system and work with Swisslog as our partner. We also had the benefit of our experience and learnings from the earlier project.

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Safety: Learning to Think the Right Way

During the course of any day at a chemical process plant, workers have to make decisions that are often small and seemingly mundane, but in a rare occurrence an incident breaks out and the right response has to happen. And it has to happen now.

How can those involved make the right decision?

“We must invest in allowing our workers to make better decisions,” said Jennifer McDonald, EHS – process safety at W.R. Grace during a session at the 2020 Virtual AIChE Spring Meeting & 16th Global Conference on Process Safety entitled “I Just Didn’t Think” – Improving Situational Awareness. “We must invest in teaching employees to make safer decisions.”

McDonald, who gave one of three presentations on the topic, pointed out the National Safety Council (NSC) said a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds. The lack of hazard recognition and poor decision making are some reasons why that happens.

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From Crisis to Calm: The Radwell Difference During Crunch Time

It is often during times of crisis in a manufacturing facility that Radwell International is called upon to deliver a solution. Our technicians have spent years honing their skills for exactly the type of situation that occurred with one of our customers this summer.

We received a call at Radwell from one of the manufacturing plants for a large global food manufacturing company. They had called in for an after-hours rush and discovered that Radwell also offered field services which they desperately needed. They were in crisis: their plant was not operational. This was caused by a power surge from one of the utility sub stations, resulting in over 100 drives and other controls and protection devices failing or blowing up due to excessive voltage. This was a major equipment failure situation.

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Case Study: Using the AquaMetrix 2300 in Jet Wastewater Systems

Jet Wastewater Treatment Solutions manufactures package plants for locations across the globe. They design systems that are easy to use and maintain as they are found in every possible location from U.S. housing developments to African villages.

In 1955 Jet made the country’s first residential aerated wastewater treatment systems. The company’s BAT (biologically accelerated treatment) media can nitrify more quickly than much larger waste activated sludge plants. Its small systems are not only inexpensive to build; they are also very inexpensive to operate, as they require less maintenance than competing systems.

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Engineer’s Perspective of the Future of Engineering Applications

Engineers play a critical role in integrating legacy systems into the digital landscape of today’s businesses. The new-age enterprises thrive on technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Big Data and analytics, and robotic process automation (RPA). To optimize these technologies, organizations need to either overhaul their operations completely or make use of the existing setup and intelligently transform them as per the business needs. This makes strategizing a very important gamut of the digital transformation exercise.

A complete overhaul is not only cost-intensive but also risks compromising business continuity. As a result, organizations generally opt for the latter option and gradually transition legacy systems while keeping a close look at the lifecycle.

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