Identify and Mitigate Robotic Hazards

In July 1984, an automated die-cast system operator died of cardiorespiratory arrest in a robotic accident. The operator got stuck between a steel safety pole and an industrial robot. The worker was an experienced employee trained on robotics for a week prior to this fatal encounter. It was later found he had entered the operating zone of the robot in an unsafe manner despite training, instructions, and warnings. A presence sensing device in such an application could have potentially averted the incident. 

This incident established the need to identify and enforce safeguards and practices to mitigate workplace incidents, especially in robotic process automation (RPA) enabled environments.

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Three Strategy Tips for Optimizing Your Next Energy Assessment

Industry leaders optimize their competitive advantage by committing to periodic reviews of energy usage. Such assessments involve in-depth critical thinking and analysis to mine the depths of the assessment’s opportunities to unlock value with efficiency optimization. A well-run plant often has a laser focus on their primary mission, but can benefit from a fresh set of eyes with a broader focus.

Three energy assessment strategies to consider

When it comes to performing an energy assessment, it might seem overwhelming at first glance. Following these three steps can provide companies a guideline to follow.

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Five Mindful Engineering Career Tips

I never could have predicted the path that I took to get where I am now, as I look back on the first quarter of my engineering career. That said, I am where I planned to be at this point in my life. I had a vision for where I wanted to be and where I want to be 10 years from today, and after another decade.

An engineering career vision is not a pathway engraved in stone, but instead should be approached as a series of goals to achieve, with a set of principles to stay on track. Five tips to help an engineering career follow.

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How Factory Workers Can De-Stress After a Long Shift

Stress is a productivity killer in virtually any industry, and this is no less true for factory workers engaged in physically taxing and oftentimes repetitive and monotonous work within manufacturing plants and warehouses.

Factory work tends to be physically demanding, repetitive, technically complex and potentially dangerous. It includes a range of tasks such as packaging, stacking, sorting, storing, filling, mixing, inspecting and assembling, which often require the use of complex equipment. Physical stressors coupled with productivity demands can prove difficult for factory workers and result in declines in productivity and employee morale. Add to that extended shifts due to staff shortages, increased product demand, or, in extreme cases, a pandemic, and stress levels can skyrocket.

So how can factory workers de-stress after long shifts?

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Ten Essential Maintenance Tips for Variable Frequency Drives

The manufacturing industry values variable frequency drives (VFDs) to maximize efficiency and productivity, but that appreciation may slip away when a breakdown occurs. A seamlessly functioning VFD delivers tremendous benefits, but it can falter when not adequately maintained. And when a production line or machinery grinds to a halt as a result, it’s essential to troubleshoot the issues and quickly resume operations.

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Nine Cybersecurity Strategies for Manufacturers

Did you know that manufacturing is the 2nd most targeted industry by hackers? With that in mind, addressing cybersecurity is more important than ever in the manufacturing industry. Although IIoT and Industry 4.0 in manufacturing create many positive benefits for operations, they also create vulnerabilities within systems. These vulnerabilities make it possible for hackers to gain access to an organization’s systems, equipment and critical data. Because smart manufacturing often connects entire systems, this often allows hackers full system access unless there are proper protections in place.  Companies have traditionally focused on information security in which vulnerabilities were introduced through desktops or server computing.    IIOT and Industry 4.0 have introduced an additional layer of vulnerabilities and threats.

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Top Five Industrial Robotics Applications

From food processing to automotive production, industrial robots are becoming ubiquitous. Highly-automated and programmable, these machines execute repetitive tasks with high precision, reliability and throughput.

Due to these features, industrial robots have become critical in many manufacturing processes. How do industrial robots work in manufacturing?

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How the Shift to Electric Vehicles is Changing Manufacturing

It is coming, slowly but surely. The shift to electric vehicles (EVs) is happening, thanks to legislative mandates and early adopters worldwide. While the days when sales of EVs will outnumber those of internal combustion-engine (ICE) vehicles are a decade or two in the future, the consequences for the automotive supply chain need to be understood and acknowledged now.

Most EVs will retain the form factors of their ICE predecessors. They will have four wheels, conventional doors, a steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals, and all of the comfort, safety, and convenience equipment that consumers have come to expect. But under their body panels, there are differences that will affect the vehicle production process.

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Proper Maintenance of Hydraulic Swivels & Systems

Proper or no maintenance of hydraulic equipment can mean the difference between scrapping a machine at 20,000 hours or more instead of 5,000 hours. And because they often are located deep within the workings of machines, hydraulic swivels (also called rotating joints or rotating manifolds) usually receive little or no maintenance.

A well-designed hydraulic swivel should not require much maintenance. However, if the swivel is mounted in a location where it is surrounded by hoses or tubing, shortcuts may end up being taken—and maintenance improperly conducted or components compromised.

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Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

The manufacturing sector has typically been among the first to benefit from technological innovation, particularly in the field of robotics and automation. Traditional industrial robotic systems usually require the use of peripheral safety equipment and physical barriers for the safety of human co-workers. However, the features designed to protect human workers tend to increase cost and space requirements.

Also, the current market demands a reduction in lead times, as well as mass customization, which, in turn, require flexibility and the use of multi-purpose assembly systems. These needs are common among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It falls on manufacturers to find a solution that not only addresses problems with cost and space availability but also the need to provide customized solutions to customer needs in the shortest time possible.

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