Everything is getting smarter in the plant. Manufacturing efficiencies keep increasing because of these smart systems. We're seeing improvements in set-up time, networked communication (from ERP to suppliers to customers), energy consumption, safety, and throughput. The new plant is clean, quiet, and requires less space. Hardware and software intelligence is at the heart of these improvements.
For plant managers, this is good news. The emerging plant intelligence saves money and increases profit. It also takes some of the pressure off the control engineer. Gone are the days of original programming and endless visits from integrators. Much of the plant system comes pre-integrated and needs just a little bit of tweaking from the supplier. And the suppliers are often connecting to the plant offsite. The intelligent plant is collecting more data and analyzing it for greater optimization, efficiency, and predictive maintenance.
Click on the photo below to reveal a wide range of smart manufacturing.
ATS Automation's ATS SmartVision software delivers high-performance image processing with an easy-to-use control interface, while ATS Cortex hardware is designed to reduce integration time and deliver electrical hardware savings. (Source: ATS Automation)
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.