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Redefining the Boundaries of Automation

Modern automation systems go beyond the confines of the physical machines on the factory floor. According to Deloitte Insights, smart factories can not only operate within the four walls of a factory but can also connect to a global network of similar production systems, and even to the digital supply network.

Though factories may be distributed rather than centralized, modern industrial operations software provides a centralized environment to rapidly build industrial applications. This can support engineers, managers and staff throughout an industrial business to improve plant operations and act upon information independent of factory location.

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Automation Approaches To Use When Market Growth Slows

Global markets are slowing economic growth, a challenge for automation industries in every region, and trade frictions and an unstable geopolitical environment also are affecting industries in some important areas. Where can automation enterprises find opportunities amid challenges?

At the end of October 2019, ARC Advisory Group released a list of the top 50 global and North American automation companies of 2018. At the same time, analysts pointed out that with slower growth in some global markets, automation companies still have opportunities to grow against the trend.

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Star Wars and Us: Are We That Far, Far Away?

The end of 2019 was big for the beloved Star Wars universe. The introduction to the new fan favorite character baby Yoda started it off while  Throughout this massive universe in a galaxy far, far away everything seemed farfetched from our own technological capabilities. However, in looking beyond the surface, it is becoming evident that the technology seen in Star Wars has become a lot more plausible in recent years.

With the exception to glowing swords that deflect laser beams and humans who can move things with their minds, there is definite similarities between the galaxy far, far away and the modern world. Although current technology isn’t nearly as complex (yet), the similarities are undeniable.

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Factory Maintenance Checklist: Four Principles for Keeping a Factory Running

 

A sound maintenance plan is key to keeping a factory up and running, as it helps ensure both maximum productivity and minimal downtime. While there are several ways to approach the development of a maintenance plan, the following guidelines are applicable across the board for a wide range of factory types.

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Trusting Automation: Why Should Robotics Be Used and When

The three often-discussed three Ds of robotics are "dull, dirty, and dangerous." They relate to the question, which is not asked often enough, "Do you want to build an automated system to do that task?"

The reason the question is not asked enough is that it needs to be asked whenever anyone looks into designing a system (whether manual or automated) to do anything. The possibility that anyone ever sets up a system to do anything without first asking that question means that it's not asked enough.

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Eight Things to Avoid in Control System Automation Projects

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Successful control system automation projects all have common attributes that make them successful. Likewise, failed projects also have common missteps that have a significant negative impact. Proper execution of a control system automation project is a process that involves continual monitoring and adjustments by project leaders. This process encompasses multiple critical steps to ensure the project is being executed properly to meet the end-user goals.

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Advantages of a Vendor Managed Inventory System

Vendor Managed Inventory Systems can be a great asset for many types of businesses. For businesses that have equipment maintenance needs and can’t commit to cost prohibitive solutions, VMI might be a great answer. What is the definition of Vendor Managed Inventory? Vendor Managed Inventory (or VMI) is a business model in which the buyer of a product provides certain information to a supplier of that product, and the supplier takes full responsibility for maintaining an agreed upon inventory of the material. For many companies, vendor managed inventory is the next step in supply chain management. There are many benefits to vendor managed inventory.

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Equipment Overview: KH7050 Laser Engraving Machine

Recently we’ve acquired a new machine at Radwell International headquarters to add additional repair services to our capabilities. Our latest addition is a KH7050 Laser Engraving Machine, which allows us to design and cut new graphic overlays and gaskets for our customers.

The major benefit to having this machine in a production facility is the amount of time it saves on repair turnaround for customers. Currently there is up to a four week turnaround for customer overlays and gaskets to be made when these items are outsourced during our repair process. With this machine, turnaround can be under two hours. With this significant time difference, better service can be provided to customers who need custom items created.

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Standards in Action: An Overview of the ISO Certification Process

ISO Certification is a process that enhances the offerings of a business. By showcasing how an organization meets or exceeds certain defined certification standards, they announce to the world the highest level of quality, safety, and efficiency in their daily methods of operation.

What is ISO? ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

The ISO story began in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards.' On February 23rd, 1947 the new organization, ISO, officially began operations. It operates in a similar way to this day.

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The Benefits of Asset Recovery in the Manufacturing Industry

This blog was reposted with permission from Engineering 360-Powered by IEEE Global Spec-original post published May 30th, 2017:

Ever wonder where your circuit boards, motors and other electronic parts end up when you’re finished using them? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most meet their end in landfills, and sadly, many could be recycled and reused. Known as electronic waste, or e-waste for short, these pieces include far more than just the mobile phones and laptops of yesteryear. The EPA estimates that approximately 41.8 million tons of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2014 (data for 2015 and 2016 is not yet available), with the U.S. accounting for 11.7 million of those tons. By 2018, that worldwide estimate is expected to increase to 49.8 million tons.

Businesses with the tons of electronic equipment they use and discard annually – have the unique ability to make the biggest impact by recycling or upcycling their e-waste. An interesting trend has emerged in the electronics and engineering space, in which legacy equipment is sold off and warehoused by a third-party to resell to another company that is still using and in need of that equipment and accompanying parts.

Consider this: Company ABC purchased a large lot of sensors to test their own product, only to discover a few years later that a different sensor would help them better perform that test. They still had 5,000 new-in-the-box sensors from that first lot just taking up space in their warehouse, and when it comes time to move to a new facility, they consider throwing out those 5,000 sensors because it doesn’t make sense to move them to the new space. As far as Company ABC is concerned, those sensors are obsolete and completely useless. However, Company XYZ still uses the same sensors on a regular basis for a completely different application, and is finding that the inventory of their usual supplier is dwindling. They are spending countless man-hours trying to seek out these sensors, and wondering just how long they have before they need to change their operating procedures or product specifications to find a different solution.

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