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.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.