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Digitally Transforming Your Supply Chain

In today’s fast-paced and supply chain-challenged world, manufacturers are trying to create efficiencies in their processes wherever possible. One way of creating more efficiency is by digitally transforming supply chains. During USA Manufacturing Hour Twitter Chat, hosts Jon Freeman, Strategic Partnerships Manager and Justin Dickson, Chief Revenue Officer at FreightPOP in California, led a discussion about this timely and important topic for manufacturers worldwide.

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Will Automation Take Away Jobs?

Automation is constantly progressing in many industries and especially in the manufacturing industry. Adopting automation has changed the way the world works by making difficult or repetitive tasks easier and more efficient. Many agree that it has changed the world for the better. However, automation sometimes gets a bad reputation. There is a prevailing school of thought that believes automation will eventually take away employment within the manufacturing industry. It’s a layered concept to consider and it isn't a simple issue. In fact there are actually many aspects to the concept of automation taking away jobs. Let's explore some aspects of automation in manufacturing.

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Manufacturing Sees Benefits with Machine Vision

Machine vision is making major contributions to the manufacturing sector, primarily by providing automated inspection capabilities as part of quality control procedures. Formerly viewed as barcode readers, these systems now use automated cameras and software to monitor products, collect data, check for inconsistencies, scan labels and perform other functions at high-speeds and without the need for worker intervention.

According to the Automated Imaging Association, machine vision encompasses all industrial and non-industrial applications in which a combination of hardware and software provide operational guidance to devices in the execution of their functions based on the capture and processing of images.

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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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Is 5G Ready for Deployment in the Real World?

Until the launch of 5G, every previous generation of mobile phone technology was primarily intended to improve the operation of the handset. It was not until 4G technology was adopted in 2008 that real smartphone capability was enabled and 4G mobile broadband led to the development of smartphone apps, a proliferation of multimedia and streaming services, and high-speed internet access on-the-go.

The installation today of 5G networks marks the first time that a new generation of mobile technology has been built around the needs of machines and systems rather than of handset users. The telecoms industry’s plan for 5G envisaged technical breakthroughs in three main parameters – latency, reliability and determinism; the density of connections; bandwidth, and speed of data transfer.

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Should I Use An Edge Controller, PLC, or PAC?

Edge controllers can provide advantages in many applications where traditional industrial controllers have been used. For commercial and industrial computing products, software and hardware development progress proceeds in tandem, with the lead alternating. Sometimes the software complexity and features increase in a way that bumps into processing limitations; then there are times when hardware advances unleash newfound capacity for more sophisticated software.
It is easy to look at today’s traditional operations technology (OT) industrial controller options, represented most often by traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and process automation controllers (PACs), and see them as mature technologies with capable software and fast hardware. The challenge is identifying what comes next.

A few industry trends are pointing the way. Modern consumer and commercial computing experiences are ripe for merging into industrial products. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming commonplace and many are looking at incorporating Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices into automation systems. Digital transformation requires connecting with many data sources, collecting and storing the data, visualizing and analyzing it, enabling optimized operations.

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Innovative Technologies Trending in the Manufacturing Industry

In today’s world, technology is always changing. As a result, there are many innovative technologies that have an impact on the manufacturing industry. Three of the innovative technologies currently trending in the manufacturing industry include nano manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing and additive manufacturing. Let’s look at a brief overview of what these are and what kind of role they play in manufacturing.

Nanomanufacturing

The term nanomanufacturing has emerged as the manufacturing industry adopts nanotechnology. Nanomanufacturing refers to the methods the manufacturing industry is using to make the advanced materials and devices enabled by nanotechnology. Nanomanufacturing is both the production of nanoscaled materials and the manufacturing of parts

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Manufacturers Realize Cybersecurity Risks, Taking Steps

Denial can be a very perilous state of being, and admitting there is a problem is the beginning of the journey to solve any issue facing anyone.

While that may sound like a psychology 101 class, in actuality that can be considered the mindset for those in the manufacturing automation sector these days. After years of denying they had any kind of attacks or any kind of security issue, users today are at least acknowledging what they are facing.

“When we meet with clients it is far more common to hear these days, ‘yeah, we had an incident.’ In most cases it is malware that got into the environment,” said John Cusimano, vice president of industrial cybersecurity at aeSolutions. “When we do a cyber risk assessment, one of the things we talk about is the likelihood of certain incidents occurring it is far more common today to hear people say ‘yeah, that happened here.’ They are not publicized events. At least they are aware they had an incident.”

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How Innovation and Growth Vibe Helps Distributor Find Labor Shortage Solutions

This article was originally published at Epicor's The Shop Floor. View original post here 

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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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