$64 Million Digital Factory Is Said to Herald the…

$64 Million Digital Factory Is Said to Herald the…

Feb 20, 2017

“$64 Million Digital Factory Is Said to Herald the Future of Manufacturing” By Design-2-Part Magazine Faurecia’s Columbus, Indiana-based emissions control technologies plant represents company’s digital transformation. AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—The automotive supplier Faurecia recently unveiled a $64 million state-of-the-art, data-driven manufacturing facility in Columbus, Indiana, that  will employ 450 people. Columbus South, a 400,000 square-foot facility, will produce a new, high-tech emissions control product for the commercial vehicle industry. “This facility represents our entry into Industry 4.0, a revolutionary concept incorporating connectivity, automation, data processing, and hardware to advance the manufacturing industry,” said Mike Galarno, plant manager of Columbus South, in a press release. “We are proud to be the first plant to incorporate many of these leading technologies under one roof to create efficient systems and an innovative working experience for employees.” With this facility, Faurecia is driving forward the company’s digital transformation by ushering in technologies that are at the forefront of modern-day manufacturing. “Manufacturing is sometimes stereotyped as dirty and requiring few skills,” said Dave DeGraaf, president of Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies North America, in the release. “Columbus South contributes to the shifting landscape of the industry to one that is modern, clean, and technologically advanced, and aimed at attracting a new generation of employees with different and advanced skillsets.” The Columbus South facility’s digital environment will feature a variety of new technologies, systems, and processes that reflect the improvements of Industry 4.0, including quality through laser scanning and early detection of variation; self-learning autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) to transport component parts to the assembly line; continuous data collection, which enables employees to predict and prevent equipment failures; a completely paperless environment that keeps employees connected and informed with real time information; and an open-concept design and digital screens, laptops, and smartphones to encourage collaboration. In addition to these advancements, Columbus South will also have a combination of collaborative robots, or “cobots,” automated robotic vehicles, and visual communication techniques designed to foster real-time collaboration and communication. Collectively, Columbus South is expected to analyze terabytes of data daily, requiring a full-time, on-site mathematician to continually mine data, cull insights, and forecast an issue before it occurs. “Columbus South isn’t only about the product...

How the Development of Self-Driving Cars Is Steering the…

How the Development of Self-Driving Cars Is Steering the…

Feb 15, 2017

“How the Development of Self-Driving Cars Is Steering the Supply Chain in New Directions” By Mark Shortt, Design-2-Part Magazine  Jim McBride, senior technical leader for autonomous vehicles at Ford Motor Company, points to a pair of vehicles prominent in 1960s science fiction—George Jetson’s car and the Batmobile—as evidence that the idea of self-driving cars has been around for a long time. “We just never had the wherewithal to actually do [anything about] it,” he told D2P in a phone interview. That began to change in 2001, when the U.S. government decided it wanted to automate vehicles as a way of protecting the lives of military personnel on the battlefield. Three years later, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the first DARPA Grand Challenge, a prize competition for autonomous vehicles, along a 150-mile route in the Mojave Desert. The series of challenges, the most recent of which took place in 2013 as the FANG (Fast Adaptable Next Generation Ground) Challenge, was open to the public to speed up the process of developing and building self-driving vehicles. “We (Ford) participated in what was called the DARPA Grand Challenges because we thought if we looked at some of the new sensing and computing and algorithms that were becoming feasible, that we could probably translate those into making production automobiles not only more convenient, but safer,” said McBride. “Safety was absolutely the number one motivating factor. And once we did the Challenges and figured out that making a car self-driving was possible given the new wave of technology, all these secondary applications became obvious, like mobility for elderly or disabled people, or reducing urban congestion, or improving fuel economy. But it was always motivated by ‘What can we do to make cars safer?’” Bobby Hambrick, CEO of AutonomouStuff, a supplier of systems, equipment, components, and services for the autonomous vehicles market, echoed McBride’s sentiments, saying that the biggest single factor driving the development of autonomous vehicle technology is the need to reduce the number of traffic accidents and fatalities. “Thirty thousand people a year are dying, just in the United States alone,” Hambrick said in a phone interview. “That’s the equivalent of a 747 crashing every...

Small US Company Bucks a Trend, Adding Manufacturing Jobs

Small US Company Bucks a Trend, Adding Manufacturing Jobs

Feb 14, 2017

By Jim Randle, VOA News NORTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — A rising tide of automation, trade problems and lagging growth in productivity has slashed millions of jobs from the U.S. manufacturing sector. At the same time, a small factory in Northbridge, Massachusetts, has been hiring, expanding and exporting. Riverdale Mills hopes to grow further by making unusual products and building a strong workforce. Riverdale makes materials that have revolutionized lobster fishing with unique processes and materials. The company applied lessons from fishing to making security fences, including some that protect borders. After welding, the wire metal mesh is dunked in a vat filled with tons of molten zinc at a historic building about an hour west of Boston. It’s just one part of a complex process used to make many kinds of rust-resistant products. That process combines skilled people and high-tech innovation. It’s helping the company find new markets for updated products, and means while other factories are laying off workers, Riverdale’s Dennis Meola is training new employees. “We have an experienced operator training a new individual,” Meola said. “We started a new person today, as a matter of fact.” Riverdale CEO Jim Knott says the company is growing, in part because he sells nearly half of his products overseas. Knott says he needs more than just machines to keep customers happy here and abroad. “The key to being successful, both globally and in a domestic market, you have to have skilled or trained employees who are capable of making a leadership product that is better than what other people are making throughout the world,” he said. On a recent visit to Riverdale, technicians were upgrading computers and other equipment that helps to run a huge machine that makes hundreds of welds at once. More automation is the reason that U.S. manufacturers produce as much as ever, with ever fewer people. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Tom Kochan says automation and international trade has cut one-third of U.S. manufacturing jobs since 1980. He says American employers mistakenly think of labor only as a cost to be minimized, not an asset. “Anytime some new form of technology comes along that they think they can replace that worker with...

Tesla Is A ‘Gift To U.S. Manufacturing’

Tesla Is A ‘Gift To U.S. Manufacturing’

Jan 30, 2017

By Jayson Derrick, Benzinga Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research is a big believer in Tesla Motors Inc outlook and its CEO Elon Musk. In a research report Monday, Chowdhry argued that Musk and his Gigafactory plan is the “poster child for the new USA manufacturing” and the “blueprint for the modern manufacturing.” Elbowing Aside The Competition Chowdhry stated that Tesla’s “GigaScale” is essential for the USA to retain its manufacturing leadership. Meanwhile, some of the largest and most notable tech companies are falling well short of Musk’s vision. Specifically, Apple Inc. new headquarters in Cupertino, California, is just 2.8 million square feet, while Boeing Co Everett factory is 4.3 million square feet. And Tesla’s Gigafactory? A staggering 10 million square feet that boasts the following: Designed for volumetric efficiency. Optimized for density. Twenty (20) percent of workers require similar skills to Apple’s chief design officer Jonathan “Jony” Ive but are designing the actual factory, parts and curvature. Another 30 percent of workers are process engineers who are tasked with rethinking every production step using the first principle thinking. A new “Modern Supply-Chain-as-a-Service” thinking powered by Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. A tight vertical integration system that provides real-time visibility on supply, zero transportation costs, zero packaging costs and zero tariffs, among others. Paving The Way For Trump’s Dream Come True Bottom line, due to the factors above the analyst believes that Tesla’s Gigafactory is 10 times more efficient than any similar hypothetical factory and is “essential for the USA to regain its global leadership in manufacturing.”...

How Shop Floor Smart Glasses Create A More Connected…

How Shop Floor Smart Glasses Create A More Connected…

Jan 25, 2017

“How Shop Floor Smart Glasses Create A More Connected Workforce” By Brian Ballard, Manufacturing Business Technology When Google Glass launched in May 2014, consumers struggled to figure out how the product could fit into their everyday lives. Fast forward to today, and smart glasses have found a welcoming home — the enterprise. In fact, a new Forrester Research report finds that enterprises are expected to spend more than $30 billion on smart glasses through 2025. A majority of these enterprises are manufacturers, many of whom are discovering the value smart glasses can bring to the workforce on the shop floors. The reality is that as factories get smarter and more information-rich, there is a very real need to get that critical information to the people participating in those work processes, in a format that is more readily accessible and safer than earlier experiments with mobile technology on the factory floor. Using smart glasses equipped augmented and assisted reality software applications, shop floor workers receive critical information, including complex instructions, reference documents, diagrams, checklists, machine data, images and videos, right in their line of sight. The availability and accessibility of vital information supports greater overall productivity, allowing workers to do their jobs with first-time quality and resolve issues while keeping their hands free. The following are six ways smart glasses on the shop floor are helping manufacturers improve efficiency and quality: Instant visibility into production data. Smart glasses can connect with a manufacturer’s systems of record, like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES), to provide workers with real-time data, charts and graphics depicting information essential to production. Machine state, shift state, line yields and even Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) are available at the worker’s fingertips — or, as this new capability suggests, in their field of view. With access to this information, users can make adjustments to their processes to unveil new efficiencies. For example, Jabil, a global provider of electronics design, production and product management services, is using customized workflows on smart glasses to track OEE on multiple lines at one facility. With this insight, Jabil improves production line availability to ensure the timely processing of customer orders. Real-time troubleshooting and...