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Slideshow: Welcome to the Brilliant Plant

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Elizabeth M
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Nice one
Elizabeth M   7/8/2013 6:18:01 AM
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Intersting slideshow, Rob, about how things are improving in the plant environment thanks to the use of new technology. These technologies are evolving quickly, it seems, and that's a good thing. Anything to make the environment cleaner, quieter and more efficient is certainly welcome.

naperlou
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Re: Nice one
naperlou   7/8/2013 5:27:58 PM
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Rob, I would like to second that.  This is an interesting area.  Many people are not very much tuned in with it, but the application of computer technologies to the shop floor is what is keeing the US in the game. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Nice one
Rob Spiegel   7/8/2013 5:54:37 PM
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Naperlou, Yes, the smart plant is helping to keep the U.S. in the game. It's also keeping Europe in the game. It's helping to fuel the movement to keep manufacturing close to the markets it serves.

Charles Murray
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Re: Nice one
Charles Murray   7/8/2013 7:05:32 PM
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Great slideshow, Rob. Your comment about "endless visits" from system integrators piqued my interest. Are system integrators playing a smaller role in the "brilliant plant?"

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   7/8/2013 7:20:30 PM
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I'm not sure they're less commonly used Chuck (though I'd guess they are), but the devices are coming with embedded intelligence that makes deployment easier and quicker. So the integrator's visit is bound to be considrably shorter.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Nice one
Elizabeth M   7/9/2013 4:20:25 AM
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Some of these smart plant technologies, too, are what will allow manufacturers to be a part of the Internet of things, connecting myriad devices and systems together for better accessibility, awareness, monitoring and the like.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   7/9/2013 5:30:05 AM
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I hadn't thought of that, Elizabeth. But you're right. And the Internet of Things technology will likely become part of plant technology. With all of the smart devices in the plant connected through the growing power of plant computers and the growing intelligentce of the devices, the plant becomes its own Internet of Things.

Elizabeth M
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Elizabeth M   7/9/2013 6:03:20 AM
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With all of the smart devices in the plant connected through the growing power of plant computers and the growing intelligentce of the devices, the plant becomes its own Internet of Things.


Exactly my point, Rob. It's pretty exciting to think about, especially I'm sure for manufacturers and plant managers who couldn't have imagined technology would enable this so quickly.

Debera Harward
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Debera Harward   7/9/2013 7:37:09 AM
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Yes Elizebeth , In the near future manufacturing will be directly related to Internet Of Things. In the past objects were created by keeping in mind the concept of end user use, but these days products are created without any concept of end user usage they are just created and with the passage of time as the usage of the user changes the product gets modified. With Internet Of Things the life of the product gets extended, It provides automated support to the customers and reduces the cost.

GTOlover
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Re: Nice one
GTOlover   7/9/2013 11:31:12 AM
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In the early 90's I was the lead technologist for an injection molding company. One of our crowning achievements was the automation integration and networking of a small molding plant that enabled the plant to run without 3rd shift and a greatly reduced 2nd shift. The project netted incredible savings and boosted profit margins!

But as you clearly pointed out, the management did not actively change their sales model. Selling the same parts for the same cost as everyone else leads to our customers seeking cheaper alternatives. The problem is, we had the cheaper alternative and did not offer it to our customers. The internet has accelerated the need to be flexible and cost effective.

William K.
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Re: Nice one:products are created without any concept of end user usage
William K.   7/10/2013 8:52:43 PM
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Debera, products created without a whole lot of regard as to the actual use are a big part of the problem. The result is a proliferation of mostly worthless and often useless features, given the mistaken belief by idiots that features equal quality. Unfortunately many of the products that you describe wind up in our landfills, a waste of materials and talents.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   7/15/2013 8:34:20 AM
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Elizabeth, another important part of this is the growing ease of use. Running the smart plat doesn't require the extent of original programming that was necessary for automation in the past.

etmax
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etmax   9/2/2013 5:43:35 AM
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Let's hope hackers don't get into the heart of it then. Also let's hope that the low cost labour markets don't implement similar systems and out flank us. Honestly though, I think the benefits of keeping manufacturing and engineering closer to the target markets has a lot of other follow-ons that outweigh the cost benefits alone of outsourcing.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   9/3/2013 8:41:53 PM
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I think you're right, etmax, that other factors are outweighing the low labor costs of outsourcing. For one thing, the labor cost differential between North America and Asia is closing.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   7/9/2013 5:31:46 AM
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I hadn't thought of that, Elizabeth. But you're right. And the Internet of Things technology will likely become part of plant technology. With all of the smart devices in the plant connected through the growing power of plant computers and the growing intelligentce of the devices, the plant becomes its own Internet of Things.

Rob Spiegel
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Rob Spiegel   7/11/2013 8:24:01 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth. In fact the connected plant may be ahead of the curve on the Internet of things. Some of these plants are so connected and so automated, the optimization of one plant can be captured digitally and deployed at another plant on the other side of the globe. In some cases, these plants are then run remotely by a vendor.

Ralphy Boy
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Ralphy Boy   7/9/2013 5:03:25 PM
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What I see is that because we have multiple cutting-edge systems to integrate, and they are being asked to work together so precisely... the visits can still be pretty common and lengthily. But it does depend on the application. When we ask for darn near impossible, it can be just that.

We just got 2 custom built machines with those FANUC LR Mate 200iD six-axis robots on them; 2 on one and 1 on the other. We don't need the 7 kg payload but the speed and accuracy along with the dexterity are absolutes.

They will be doing pick & place of nearly paper thin pressed power disks consisting of 4 different nasty battery chemistries. One of the Fanucs actually reaches into a 400 ton press... It better be brilliant!

The robots seem to be all tweaked in but there are a few other issues still slowing the first production run from getting started. Nothing serious, and the integrated vision/weight/inspection scheme is catching anything that's not perfect.

The 2 machines will run 2 shifts once we get a decent contract for one of the battery designs they're capable of making. That's when I get to play with them.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Nice one
Rob Spiegel   7/9/2013 6:31:46 PM
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Hey Ralphy Boy,

Are you seeing more integration being done by the vendors themselves as they help to instill their products and software?

Ralphy Boy
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Ralphy Boy   7/9/2013 7:48:38 PM
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That's a good question Rob... More often that not it seems to be the people we contract with to build the machine who are the ones finalizing the integration. That and we have 2 engineers that are a pretty good team on the floor. There are times though where a specialist rep from the manufacturer of the system being tweaked (vision or a robot for instance) might come in. That's always been a minor part of bringing a new machine on line. I suspect the machine builders use what they know, and/or get up to speed on what they need to.

I can't say what interactions the builders have with the robot venders and manufacturers or the vision systems people before the machine gets here. It could be more or less at the builders shop than it is after we get the machine.

We've done some pretty far under the hood tweaks, repairs, and upgrades over the years ourselves too. In those cases a phone and an internet connection right at the point of service saves time and money. At least that's the theory.

I saw that you're moderating a webinar on Mechatronics on the 16th. I won't be able to make it but that topic fits with what I see here at work and with our machine venders. Multidiscipline is the rule.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Nice one
Rob Spiegel   7/17/2013 11:03:05 AM
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Hey Ralphy Boy, the webinar on mechatronics on the 16th went pretty well. It's archived if you want to take a look. The Q&A on the second half is the best part.

Debera Harward
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Re: Nice one
Debera Harward   7/9/2013 5:37:57 AM
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Excellent post Rob, No doubt by watching these plants we can say that there will be a great revolutionary change in the manufacturing industry in the next few years . And this is a reality that initially people dont accept the new technology but when they come to know about the advantages  they get themselves tuned to it . With these sort of plants manufacturing cost and time will reduce and quantity will increase . But what I think is that initially it will be a huge investment but that investment in the long run will provide advantage as well

Debera Harward
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Re: Nice one
Debera Harward   7/9/2013 5:48:50 AM
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I really liked the idea of FANUC'S high speed M-1iA robot ,as it is used for high speed picking and packing . It can be used in many eatable factories where candies, chocolates , chips buscuits and other junk food is manufactured . This Robot will easily pick and pack these eatables . As  we all know that candies business is very good business because choldren can never give up eating them . So i beleive in future candy factories will be having this robot for packing and picking

apresher
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Smarter Plants
apresher   7/8/2013 5:48:22 PM
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Rob, Excellent slide show and great, diverse examples of how intelligent automation and control is continuing to revolutionize manufacturing.

apresher
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Smarter Plants
apresher   7/9/2013 5:00:36 PM
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Excellent slideshow, Rob.  It does a great job showing the diversity of developments related to factory automation.

Ann R. Thryft
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Ann R. Thryft   7/9/2013 6:52:28 PM
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1 saves
I agree--great slideshow. There's a lot more going on than I was aware of.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Appreciation for Sheet-Metal Design
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/15/2013 5:41:57 PM
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Paging thru the various controllers and robotic arms, I was taking it all in stride, as fairly routine things; until a came to slide 10/14 showing the endoscopic biopsy jaws as stamped from a single blank of sheet stock, via progressive die. 

Having been a former Engineering manager to a progressive die company, I can see and appreciate the extreme complexity of this part, and marveled at the creative forming, coining, and draws that created this as a single part – not an assembly. Kudos to the tooling engineers of this P/N.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Appreciation for Sheet-Metal Design
Rob Spiegel   7/15/2013 7:10:45 PM
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Thanks JimT.  Yes, that is a nice piece of intelligent work. And certainly much more to come. The plant is quite an exciting place these days. Some of the older plant managers are saying, "If we can let engineering students know just what's going on in the plant today, we'll attract a lot more engineers.

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