10 Signs A Food & Beverage WMS Needs Help

LOUIS COLUMBUS| October 24, 2019
10 SIGNS A FOOD & BEVERAGE WMS NEEDS HELP
Food and beverage supply chains are the fuel that drives the growth of every food & beverage manufacturer today. An integrated, scalable, secure Warehouse Management System can assist in transforming supply chain efficiency into internal process performance gains while ensuring accuracy, compliance and cost control.

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Mackart Additive

Whole Solution Engineering and Additive Manufacturing lab. Mackart Additive has the experience and expertise to take your idea, your concept or even your finished design to reality with the power of Additive Manufacture and 3D Printing.

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How Collaborative Robots Are Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

Article | December 10, 2021

A new form of robot is entering manufacturing plants all around the globe. Instead of being locked away in their own work cell, collaborative robots work side by side with their human counterparts. Together, they form the manufacturing crew of the future. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are more flexible, easy to use, and safer than industrial robots. Instead of ending up abandoned in a corner, they are proving to be serious expansions of production capacity leading to better ways of creating superior quality products. 1.1 A New Breed of Bot Cobots are a new type of automation product with their own ISO standards for safety and usability. For a robot to qualify as a cobot, it has to be used for tasks of a collaborative nature while sharing all or part of its reach space with human operators. So it is not the product alone that classifies it as a cobot. Industrial robots must be expertly programmed for one specific job along the production line. This requires hard line coding and endless tweaking and testing, which together with other factors make for a sizable upfront investment. Not so with collaborative robots. Cobots may look similar to traditional robots in some ways, but they are much easier to install and program. This foregoes the need to cooperate with a robotic integration service. Their lightweight and friendly form factor lets manufacturers conveniently relocate them on the shopfloor from one project to another. This renders the robotics technology perfect for a data-driven, Industry 4.0 work environment. Cobots can side with traditional machinery and additive manufacturing equipment, aided by artificial intelligence and cloud connectivity while embedded in a networked environment rich with smart sensors and mixed reality interfaces. 1.2 A Unique Blend of Benefits Because it is fairly straightforward to reprogram a cobot to various tasks, they are perfect for high-mix, low-volume work to meet the rising demand for ultra-customized products. They can also do multiple tasks in unison, such as alternatingly loading a machine and finishing parts from the previous cycle. Here are some other advantages in addition to flexibility: • Low investment. Cobots typically cost a fraction of the price of an industrial robot, but they offer much lower payload and reach. ROI is typically one to two years. • Safety. With rounded surfaces, force-limited joints, and advanced vision systems, cobots are exceptionally safe. This reduces the risk of injury due to impact, crushing, and pinching. Driverless transport systems are wheeled mobile robots that immediately halt when their lasers detect the presence of a nearby human being. • Accuracy. Cobots score well on accuracy with 0.1mm precision or well below that. While they do typically sacrifice speed, dual-mode cobots can be converted to fully-fledged tools of mass production that run at full speed in their own safeguarded space. • Easy to program. Many brands offer user-friendly programming interfaces from beginner to expert level. This reduces the need for continuous availability of expensive and scarce expertise while giving current employees an incentive to upskill. And because they can be deployed within hours, cobots can be leased for temporary projects. • Research. Small processing plants, agile start-ups, and schools can invest in cobots to experiment with ways to automate processes before committing to full automation. 1.3 Cobot Activity Repertoire Cobots are perfect candidates for taking over strenuous, dirty, difficult, or dull jobs previously handled by human workers. This relieves their human co-workers from risk of repetitive strain injury, muscle fatigue, and back problems. They can also increase job satisfaction and ultimately a better retirement. The cobot’s program of responsibilities includes: • Production tasks such as lathing, wire EDM, and sheet stamping. • Welding, brazing, and soldering. • Precision mounting of components and fasteners, and applying adhesive in various stages of general assembly. • Part post-finishing such as hole drilling, deburring, edge trimming, deflashing, sanding, and polishing. • Loading and unloading traditional equipment such as CNC and injection molding machines, and operating it using a control panel to drastically reduce cycle times. • Post-inspection such as damage detection, electronic circuit board testing, and checking for circularity or planarity tolerances. • Box-packing, wrapping, and palletizing. • Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) assist with internal transport and inventory management. 1.4 No-Code Programming While an industrial robot requires the attention of a high-paid robotics engineer, anyone with basic programming savviness can install and maintain a collaborative unit. Brands are releasing more and more kits for quick installation and specific use cases. Instead of being all numbers and line-coding, current user interaction is exceptionally people-focused. At the lowest skill level, lead-through programming lets operators physically guide the cobot’s end-of-arm-tool (EOAT) through the desired motion path, after which it will flawlessly replicate the instructed behaviour. It is also possible to enter desired waypoints as coordinates. At the highest level, it is of course still possible to have full scripting control. An intermediate step is visual programming interfaces. These let users create blocks of functionality that they can string together into more advanced action sequences, while entering the appropriate parameters for each function such as gripping strength, screwing tightness, or pressing force. These UIs come in the form of in-browser or mobile apps. Based on a 3D-CAD model of the machine and its industrial environment, a digital twin of the cobot can simulate and optimize its operations, for example to prevent collisions. It also lets operators remotely monitor and adjust the machine while it’s running. All the while, back-end artificial intelligence can do its analyses to find further efficiency improvements. 3D models of the to-be-manufactured product can be imported for edge extraction of complex surfaces. These will then be converted into the cobot’s desired movement trajectories instead of tedious manual programming. This makes them feasible to implement for highly dexterous tasks like welding curved hydroformed metal parts or sanding and polishing the most intricate of 3D printed geometries. Interfacing directly with the robot is becoming increasingly human-centered as well. Future cobots will respond to voice interaction as well as touch input, eradicating the screens-and-buttons paradigm of current devices. Some brands are giving the cobot a face with emotional expressions, hoping to lower the barrier to adoption. The upcoming generation of cobots can even respond to body language, as well as show its intentions by projecting light to where they are about to reach or move next. 1.5 A Human World Ultimately, the objective of any company is to create value for people. It is not an option to completely remove humans from the shop floor in an attempt to stay at the forefront of innovation. Attempting to leap to full automation and the utopian “lights-out factory” does not work anyway, as automotive giants such as Ford, Chrysler, GM, and Tesla can testify. A significant portion of human employees will indeed need to give up their roles. On the other hand, improved productivity levels open up space to retain personnel and uplift them to more creative, managerial, analytical, social, or overall more enjoyable jobs. For certain tasks, humans still need to be kept inside the manufacturing loop. For example: • Complex assembly routines and handling of flexible components. • Large vehicle subassemblies contain many variable components and require more hand-eye coordination than one cobot can handle. Humans are needed to make sure everything lands in the right position while the cobot provides assistive muscle power. • Fashion, footwear, jewellery, art pieces, and other products where creation borders on artistry rather than mechanical assembly require the aesthetic eye of humans. People are also needed to spot aesthetic deficiencies in custom one-offs in order to correspond with customers before finishing the production batch. • While intelligent automation software can spot bottlenecks in efficiency, humans are required for creative problem solving and context-awareness to make decisions. A spirit of flexibility and innovation is just as important as the accuracy of perfect repetitions. 1.6 Mission: Install a Cobot Cobots have numerous advantages over industrial solutions or people-only workspaces. They enable faster, more precise, and more sophisticated operations while reducing downtime and maintaining employee satisfaction. Low-voltage operation and reduced material waste fits with sustainable innovation and corporate social responsibility programs. Many companies are reporting surges in production capacity and staff generally experience the presence of cobots as favorable. For example, industry leviathans like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are reaching the conclusion that in many parts of the production process implementing a cobot has been the right decision. Connecting all parts of the production line with full automation solutions is a pipedream. It works only when all steps are perfectly attuned, and in reality this never happens and one misstep can be catastrophic. Whether to hire a human, a robot, or a co-robot is a complex and ever-more pressing decision. Statistical process control is paramount for large organizations to make unbiased data-driven decisions. Determine the key performance indicators, then find the most critical bottlenecks and major opportunities for leaps in production efficiency, product quality, or staff unburdening. Talk to employees for their insights and probe their level of skill and enthusiasm needed for working with their new artificial assistants. Digital transformation should be an exciting shift in the organization and its people, so apply new technological advancements only where it makes sense. Despite common beliefs about robotization, the cobot is an entirely separate product category that can be a surprisingly plug-and-play solution for simple tasks, with programming apps becoming increasingly intuitive. A cobot’s flexibility makes it perfect to run early experiments to help companies find its best spot on the factory floor. Its unbelievable precision, consistency, and level of control generally can make a strong first impression on customers. Not only can cobots increase production capacity while reducing idle time and cycle time to accelerate manufacturing across many vertical markets, but they also enrich the work environment resulting in happier and more involved employees. For many companies, a cobot can be the next logical step in their digital transformation.

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IoT in Manufacturing: How It's Changing the Way We Do Business

Article | December 10, 2021

IoT in the manufacturing industry introduces a superior technology that is coming up as a blessing for the industry. Manufacturers are enjoying one-of-a-kind benefits and returns on their reinvestments in IoT. Benefits such as enhanced productivity, work safety, reduced downtime, cost-effective operations, and more such benefits of IoT in manufacturing make it more and more popular with each passing day. The global IoT market is estimated to reach a value of USD 1,386.06 billion by 2026 from USD 761.4 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 10.53 percent over the forecast period of 2021-2026. So the whole worldwide market of IoT has a bright future in the following years. “As technology takes over and enhances many of the processes we used to handle with manual labor, we are freed up to use our minds creatively, which leads to bigger and better leaps in innovation and productivity.” – Matt Mong, VP Market Innovation and Project Business Evangelist at Adeaca Let’s check out below some exciting facts about IoT in manufacturing and see how IoT makes a difference in the manufacturing industry. IoT in Manufacturing: Some Interesting Facts According to PwC, 91% of industrial/manufacturing enterprises in Germany invest in "digital factories" that use IoT solutions. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), China employs more industrial robots than any other country (many of which are connected to the internet in some way). According to IoT Analytics, the industrial sector spent more than $64 billion on IoT in 2018 and expects investment in Industry 4.0 to reach $310 billion by 2023. According to the Eclipse Foundation, most IoT developers are focused on developing smart agriculture systems (26%), while industrial automation is another big focus area (26%). However, home automation is dwindling in popularity, accounting for just 19% of projects. How Does IoT Work for the Manufacturing Industry? The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected devices that communicate with one another and with other networks. While IoT-enabled devices are capable of various tasks, they are primarily employed to collect data and carry out specific tasks. The implementation of the Internet of Things in manufacturing is often referred to as the IIoT, or Industrial Internet of Things. IoT makes use of 'smart' devices to collect, process, and act on data. These intelligent devices are equipped with sensors and other software that enable them to communicate and exchange data inside the network. IoT-enabled equipment gives crucial real-time data that enables manufacturers or machine operators to make informed decisions. So, how does it function in practice? Sensors capture data from the system and transfer it to the cloud, where it can be analyzed. The data is transferred to the quality assurance system. The data that has been analyzed is forwarded to the end-user. How the IoT is Improving Manufacturing Business Operations The Internet of Things (IoT) has numerous benefits for the manufacturing industry. We'll go over some of the significant benefits that the Internet of Things brings to the manufacturing business. Energy Efficiency Solutions Energy is a high cost in manufacturing. Unfortunately, the current industrial energy infrastructure can only track excessive energy consumption. The utility bills include the factory's energy consumption records. But, unfortunately, nobody can break down energy consumption to the device level and find out the underperforming pieces. Some energy usage monitoring tools exist, but they only provide partial data, making system analysis difficult. IoT can help by giving device-level energy data. The sensors will detect any underperforming devices in the network and alert you so you can take action. As a result, the technology can help you reduce energy waste and find other ways to save it. Market Forecasting Data is required to determine trends and quality of production at a manufacturing facility. It also helps manufacturers plan and anticipates changes. These forecasts can help with inventory management, employment, cost control, and other operational procedures. Thus, IoT technology makes it easier to foresee and optimize customer requirements. Proactive Maintenance The Internet of Things (IoT) uses sensors to gather data about assets' health and productivity. In addition, it uses advanced analytics to give actionable information. These are presented on an appealing dashboard connected to your smart device. This allows for predictive maintenance to be used in the manufacturing industry. Superior Product Quality Every manufacturer is determined to produce a high-quality product at a low cost. Therefore, a minor quality modification can have a significant influence on the manufacturing firm. Customer happiness, waste reduction, sales, and profit can all benefit from high-quality products. But making high-quality products isn't easy. The Internet of Things (IoT) can assist you in this endeavor. Poorly set, calibrated, and maintained equipment are some of the main reasons for low-quality products. Worst of all, many small things sometimes go ignored as the final product seems perfect. Quality tests show the product is fine, but your consumers start having problems after a couple of months. Imagine the resources needed to identify and correct the problem. Sensors in an IoT network detect even minimal tweaks in setup and alert operators. The team might momentarily stop production to address the issue before the production cycle gets complete. Rapid and Informed Decision-Making The IoT can dramatically improve organizational decision-making. It unlocks vital data about network equipment performance and delivers it to the right person. Managers and field operators can use this data to improve plant processes and overall production. In addition to these significant benefits, IoT in manufacturing can help manufacturers improve their manufacturing operations and construct a unit that meets the vision of the smart factory of 2040. The future beyond IoT would be the icing on the cake for all of us, as technology has always amazed us. Imagine the day when IoT and AI merge, and the virtual gadgets controlled by IoT are the next major milestone. Then, the ideal combination of robotics, AI, and VR may reduce the manufacturing plant size and cost while increasing the output to a level that is unimaginable and unattainable as of now. Airbus Improved Production Efficiency with Its Factory of the Future Concept It's a massive task for a commercial airliner to be assembled. The expense of making a mistake throughout making such a craft can be significant, as there are millions of parts and thousands of assembly phases. Airbus has established a digital manufacturing effort called Factory of the Future to optimize operations and increase production capacity. The company has installed sensors on factory floor tools and machinery and supplied workers with wearable technologies, such as industrial smart glasses, to reduce errors and improve workplace safety. The wearable allowed for a 500% increase in efficiency while eliminating nearly all mistakes in one process named cabin seat marking. Final Words While the benefits of IoT devices have long been a topic of discussion among technology enthusiasts, the incorporation of IoT in manufacturing is creating a new buzz in the industry. The benefits of IoT in manufacturing, such as remote analysis of operations, processes, and products, are assisting manufacturers in establishing a more productive manufacturing unit. As a result of these benefits, IoT use in manufacturing is accelerating. Recognize the IoT's potential and take a step toward incorporating it into your manufacturing operation in 2022. FAQ What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)? IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things. It uses data to improve industrial efficiency. To enhance industrial performance, it uses embedded sensors, cloud data, and connected devices. Why is the IoT changing manufacturing? Real-time monitoring of machines and accurate reporting for better decisions are possible through IoT. This improves business strategies and project control. Thus, the Internet of Things has a significant impact on the profitability of any manufacturing company. How does the IoT transform the way we do business? We can use data collected by IoT devices to improve efficiency and help organizations make better decisions. They tell organizations the truth, not what they hope or believe. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "IIoT stands for Industrial Internet of Things. It uses data to improve industrial efficiency. To enhance industrial performance, it uses embedded sensors, cloud data, and connected devices." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why is the IoT changing manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Real-time monitoring of machines and accurate reporting for better decisions are possible through IoT. This improves business strategies and project control. Thus, the Internet of Things has a significant impact on the profitability of any manufacturing company." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How does the IoT transform the way we do business?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "We can use data collected by IoT devices to improve efficiency and help organizations make better decisions. They tell organizations the truth, not what they hope or believe." } }] }

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Reshoring and Technology Platforms Transforming Hiring Practices in the Manufacturing Sector

Article | March 31, 2021

Everyday the supply chain is jeopardized. A freighter stuck in the Suez Canal has severe ripple effects in raw material goods making their way around the world. Trade tariffs and unpredictable consequences from COVID have encouraged many US manufacturers to reshore bringing jobs stateside. This strategy will shift the supply chain challenge to a staffing challenge. As the manufacturing industry is poised for rapid growth over the next 24 months, hiring the best workers once again becomes the top challenge. As the workforce is vaccinated and reshoring the supply chain becomes a clarion call for industry, finding the right people with the right skills forces plant managers, operations managers, and HR managers to find new and innovative recruiting strategies. FactoryFix is an online platform that matches vetted manufacturing workers with companies seeking specific skill sets. This platform sets a new standard in how small to mid-sized manufacturers hire talent across the U.S.

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Five Lean Manufacturing Principles to Empower Your Manufacturing Business

Article | December 16, 2021

Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction. Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing. So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles. The Origins of Lean Manufacturing The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution. They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste. Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide. When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business? Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business. Waste reduction of 80% plus Reduced production expenses by 50% Decreased inventories by 80-90% Producing quality items is 90% less expensive. Workforce productivity improved by 50% If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles. Five lean Manufacturing Principles Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing. Value For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence. Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.” – Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc. For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets. Value-Stream Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps. Flow The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled. Pull The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP). On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system. An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP. Perfection While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles. How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole. Final Words Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles. FAQ What is Five S's of lean manufacturing? The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment. What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing? Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’. Why are lean principles beneficial for any business? Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.

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Spotlight

Mackart Additive

Whole Solution Engineering and Additive Manufacturing lab. Mackart Additive has the experience and expertise to take your idea, your concept or even your finished design to reality with the power of Additive Manufacture and 3D Printing.

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