IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

Sep 20, 2016

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges And Opportunities By by Rajaram Radhakrishnan & Prasad Satyavolu, Manufacturing Business Technology Manufacturers face an exciting yet challenging future. Meeting consumer demands for personalization, increasing productivity despite the skills shortage and generating new revenue opportunities are all major strategic issues. Deep, real-time visibility into plant operations and supply chains, the ability to predict plant floor events and anticipate broader trends using existing resources to their fullest capacity are all required capabilities. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its potential to assimilate real-time information through sensory enablement and a growing network of interconnected devices, can equip manufacturers with these capabilities, giving them higher flexibility to respond to changing market dynamics. Each manufacturer’s IoT strategy will be unique to their specific operating system, their place in the value chain and the customers they serve. Yet all manufacturers should use the following as benchmarks to ensure that their IoT implementations provide the data and business intelligence required to succeed in today’s business environment. Broad Scope of Instrumentation Automation has existed for decades in most manufacturing production facilities and warehouses — from barcode readers to robots — and some manufacturers easily track the flow of parts and goods on their shop floors. IoT allows the manufacturers to take their automation to the next level, leveraging information available inside, around and beyond the walls of the plant floors. IoT-driven automation delves deeper and broader, enabling manufacturers to gain granular visibility into their operations. For example, human sensing can play a role in integrating work allocation as well as safety in case of an accident. While human sensing in consumer environments raises privacy concerns, it has tremendous potential in the industrial world. Accomplishing complete tracking of operations requires manufacturers to deploy more sensors throughout their facilities, including material handling equipment, capturing multitudes of equipment performance parameters in real-time and data about ambient conditions such as temperature, humidity and air quality. This information set, correlated with the workstation data gathered through the Manufacturing Execution System, provides core level visibility and impact of conditions on overall plant performance. Other systems and devices that affect plant performance also need to be instrumented, from maintenance equipment to drones, robots and...

Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is…

Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is…

Jul 11, 2016

“Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is having on the power industry” By Steve Bolze, President & CEO at GE Power GE’s founder Thomas Edison once said: ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work’. Most people resist change, but to innovate, we must force ourselves into new ways of working, no matter how much effort it may seem. GE has embraced this philosophy, and nowhere is this more evident than our new Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) facility, opening today in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s the embodiment of our GE Store, taking our smartest minds and technologies from every part of our business to drive innovation, growth, and ground-breaking customer outcomes. Customers determine our success, and increasingly they challenge us to help them deliver more value in today’s fast shifting market. This means getting new concepts and innovations to production quicker.  With our new AMW facility we’ll be able revolutionize the way GE Power designs, improves, and creates products. Here are five key examples: Connecting people to machines The AMW team is a working laboratory for our GE Power advanced manufacturing method. At the heart of this approach is the union of the physical and the digital – human and machine – into a seamless thread of systems, people, and data facilitating near-instantaneous information sharing. Just like a Fitbit-style wearable health monitor, in a Brilliant Factory (and our customer environments) we monitor our machines’ health. Using sensors, data analytics and the Industrial Internet, we better understand the well-being of our factories and products. Additive manufacturing – accelerating innovation Additive manufacturing, the industrial version of 3D printing, enables speed to market by making innovative, rapid product prototyping and initial production possible. Our AMW facility uses additive manufacturing to manufacture test components of new design ideas for our gas turbines, accelerating their development. Additive manufacturing allows us to optimize a design concept through 10 or more iterations in just a few months, with production parts capable of following just four months later. Using traditional techniques it would take 10-12 months longer. Speed doesn’t mean “easy” here.  Metal additive machines, although fast and powerful, are in their early days; yet gas turbine technology...

2016 Predictions: Three Best Investments For Manufacturers

2016 Predictions: Three Best Investments For Manufacturers

Feb 4, 2016

By Katie Mohr, Manufacturing.net The manufacturing industry is constantly in flux, and that’s especially true with the advent of Industry 4.0, also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Data is more available and important than ever before, thus making efficiency gains even more measurable. Advanced Technology Services’ Industrial Parts Services Vice President Mike Waltrip talked with Manufacturing.net about how manufacturers can handle intensifying efficiency pressures. Coming from a company that straddles many manufacturing sectors, Waltrip offered three technologies worth investing in: 3D printing, automation and the Internet of Things. 3D Printing A recent study by A.T. Kearney projected that the value of the 3D printing market will reach $7 billion in 2016 and will more than double by 2020, when it is expected to reach $17.2 billion. “This technology has greatly increased in capability within the last 12 months,” Waltrip says. “The costs continue to go down, and the new additive manufacturing technology continues to be a great option to traditional manufacturing.” In addition to the time saved by the ability to send a design directly to production, additive manufacturing can also increase operational efficiency by reducing the number of spare parts businesses need on hand. Instead of purchasing and storing these parts, manufacturers can 3D print the parts they need as they need them. Automation Although factories have been automating repetitive tasks with industrial robots for decades, the potential of these machines is far from completely fulfilled. “As manufacturing organizations continue to see the pressure and costs and the need to increase efficiencies, automation, industrial automation is going to continue to be a need,” says Waltrip. Between 2010 and 2014, the International Federation of Robotics noted that the number of industrial robots in use increased 48 percent — that’s an obvious push for continued automation. To translate that demand into dollars, U.S. manufacturers spent $1.6 billion on new robot orders in 2014. By the end of 2016, the Freedonia Group estimates that market will exceed $5 billion and hit $9 billion by 2021. Internet of Things With the increase of automation in manufacturing, “being able to connect that automation through the Internet of Things allows an organization to be way more efficient,” says Waltrip. In late 2015, a TEKSystems poll of 200...

U.S. manufacturing may depend on automation to survive…

U.S. manufacturing may depend on automation to survive…

Jan 6, 2016

“U.S. manufacturing may depend on automation to survive and prosper” By Martin Neil Baily, Brookings Can this sector be saved? We often hear sentiments like: “Does America still produce anything?” and “The good jobs in manufacturing have all gone.” There is nostalgia for the good old days when there were plentiful well-paid jobs in manufacturing. And there is anger that successive U.S. administrations of both parties have negotiated trade deals, notably NAFTA and the admission of China into the World Trade Organization, that have undercut America’s manufacturing base. Those on the right suggest that if burdensome regulations were lifted, this would fire up a new era of manufacturing prowess. On the left, it is claimed that trade agreements are to blame and, at the very least, we should not sign any more of them. Expanding union power and recruiting are another favorite solution. Despite his position on the right, Donald Trump has joined those on the left blaming China for manufacturing’s problems. What is the real story and what needs to be done to save this sector? The biggest factor transforming manufacturing has been technology; and technology will largely determine its future. Disappearing jobs Employment in the manufacturing sector declined slowly through the 1980s and 1990s, but since 2000, the decline has been much faster falling by over 6 million workers between 2000 and 2010. There were hopes that manufacturing jobs would regain much of their lost ground once the recession ended, but the number of jobs has climbed by less than a million in the recovery so far and employment has been essentially flat since the first quarter of 2015. Manufacturing used to be a road to the middle class for millions of workers with just a high school education, but that road is much narrower today—more like a footpath. In manufacturing’s prime, although not all jobs were good jobs, many were well paid and offered excellent fringe benefits. Now there are many fewer of these. Sustained but slow output growth The real output of the manufacturing sector from 2000 to the present gives a somewhat more optimistic view of the sector, with output showing a positive trend growth, with sharp cyclical downturns. There...

Automation expands deeper into aircraft production, speeding…

Automation expands deeper into aircraft production, speeding…

May 5, 2015

“Automation expands deeper into aircraft production, speeding deliveries and helping to reduce order backlogs” By Patrick Waurzyniak, Manufacturing Engineering Automation expands deeper into aircraft production, speeding deliveries and helping to reduce order backlogs Faced with ballooning order backlogs, aerospace builders and automation suppliers are exploring new ways to automate a broader range of aircraft manufacturing processes. The goal is to deliver higher-volume commercial aircraft like the Boeing 737 and 777 more quickly to customers, but also to improve the consistency and safety of the final product. To pick up the production pace, manufacturers and their suppliers are refining the automation systems used for drilling, filling and fastening operations and finding new opportunities for automation. In recent years, the aerospace and defense industry has adopted many of the high-volume automation practices of the automobile industry with some success given the much lower volumes of aircraft manufacturing. Some examples include high-precision robotic drilling and riveting of holes on airframes. Other key automation improvements have been made in painting, coating, and sealing, trimming of composite components, and machining aircraft engine turbine blades. Greater use of automated guided vehicles (AGV) for transporting very heavy and unwieldy airframe structures to drilling or machining cells has also enabled reductions in the time-consuming use of large cranes traditionally deployed in aircraft factories, leading to faster production, lowered costs and more optimized factory floor space. Integrating Airframe Automation A new robotic pulse production line developed by KUKA Systems North America (Sterling Heights, MI, and Augsburg, Germany) for the Boeing 777X program aims to speed up production of Boeing’s latest wide-body 777X commercial jetliner. Last September KUKA Systems unveiled the new robotic riveting system for the 777, called the Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB), that will be the baseline manufacturing process on the twin-aisle 777X aircraft as well as current 777 models. This pulse line uses KUKA robots with special end effectors from a KUKA company, Alema Automation, for performing riveting operations currently done by hand. The robotic line will install up to 60,000 fasteners in the forward and aft sections of the 777 fuselages. “Aerospace manufacturers are improving manufacturing processes and using automation to make the assembly process less costly. The less...