Article | December 8, 2021
Why should warehouses be left behind as everything gets smarter in the manufacturing world? The future warehouse will be smarter and more innovative to speed up supply chain management procedures and assist businesses in intelligently segregating their raw materials and manufactured goods.
So, what does it mean to have "a smart warehouse"?
A smart warehouse is a big infrastructure that stores raw materials and manufactured goods and employs machines and computers to handle routine warehouse tasks that humans previously performed. Smart warehouses are inspired by smart factories and operate in a data-driven environment. It is the ability of the system in the warehouse to make it more efficient and productive by utilizing networked, automated technology.
“I advocate business leaders get to know more about what AI can do and then leverage AI in proofs of concept.”
– Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive (Manufacturing) at Microsoft
According to EASYECOM, nine out of ten businesses intend to include commercial service robots into their operations in some form. By 2025, it is projected that there will be roughly 23,000 robotic warehouses in the United States alone, up from only 2,500 in 2018.
Furthermore, the global smart warehousing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.5 percent from USD 14.8 billion in 2021 to USD 25.4 billion in 2026, according to GlobeNewswire. As can be seen, the current warehouse automation trends are scaling up the worldwide market for smart warehouses, and the value of the smart warehouse business has a long way to go in the future.
So, what are the technologies that are changing traditional warehouses into intelligent warehouses? Continue reading this article to get a better understanding of this.
Top 5 Warehouse Technologies to Take On
Numerous manufacturing and non-manufacturing organizations, including IKEA, NIKE, and WALMART, utilize smart warehouses to streamline their overall operations. The technologies listed below assist many of them in implementing the modern warehousing idea.
A Warehouse Management System
Warehouse Management Systems, or WMSs, are comprehensive software systems that consolidate all of your critical data onto a single platform that can be easily accessed by team members and selected supply chain partners. This data compartmentalization allows for lightning-fast reporting, which allows for super-efficient planning, even for unexpected events. Overall, the use of warehouse management systems complements the use of other automated aspects perfectly.
Automated Picking Tools
The days of error-prone picking are long gone; now, when picking automation elements are integrated into the flow, warehouses can profit from near-perfect picking rates. In addition, picking procedures can be aided by various techniques, including voice-automated order picking, pick-to-light, and robotic order picking. These technologies also use cutting-edge barcoding choices that easily interface with your selected management software to provide the quickest and most accurate automated reporting experiences.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
AGVs, or automatic guided vehicles, are the best approach to speeding up storage and retrieval processes. AGVs are becoming more robust as technology advances, but older models have proven safer and more cost-effective than manual labor. Their functions include pallet, rack, and other container storage and controlling and automating the entire receiving process.
Platforms for Automated Inventory Control
Automated inventory control platforms, when combined with a few other technological cornerstones, such as asset and inventory tags, may eliminate labor, guesswork, and unnecessary time from traditional inventory control. In addition, there are several advantages to using these platforms, including their ability to automatically count inventories and synthesize data for real-time reporting that can be viewed remotely.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is used by some of the world's most efficient smart warehouses, such as Amazon, as an entire concept rather than a specific technology. All of your automated and manual operations may be optimized when IoT is used to control all of your moving parts, both automated and manual. This innovative technology helps optimize a warehouse's inventory control systems, workforce planning, and, of course, the overall customer experience.
While implementing technology improves the notion of a smart warehouse, it isn't always possible for every warehouse to do so instantly, especially since implementing technology takes significant financial and infrastructure changes. That's why warehouses are adopting the concept of collaborative robots (cobots). These are the autonomous elements that work with existing human workers. Cobots allow warehouses to preserve many of their existing procedures and infrastructure while gaining the benefits of fully autonomous elements.
Amazon's Smart Warehouses Integrates Humans and Robots
Amazon acquired Kiva Systems for $775 million in 2012, highlighting its interest in warehouse robotics. Kiva Systems was the sole known producer of warehouse robots, serving many different logistics organizations.
Amazon bought Kiva Systems' machines, constructed and used them all. Amazon Robotics is a new business unit that the company has developed.
Amazon recently established a semi-automated warehouse with human workers and robots. As a result, simple chores like moving parcels and scanning barcodes are automated. However, organizing goods and carrying complex objects (like bottles) is still part of human work.
Amazon's automated warehouse employs over 400 robots and hundreds of human employees.
Amazon's rise in two crucial areas – online shopping and logistics – has been accelerated by warehouse robots.
Modern warehousing is a new trend in the manufacturing industry that automates numerous procedures required for keeping manufacturing materials and products organized. Technology trends in warehousing are making manufacturers' jobs easier and promoting the future warehouse model in 2022. Implement the cutting-edge technology outlined above to stay current with warehousing trends and boost productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and flexibility for your personnel and their operations.
What are the key benefits of a smart warehouse?
A smart warehouse improves the warehouse's productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. It also allows personnel and procedures to be flexible.
What exactly is WMS?
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that handles the supply chain from the distribution center to the retail shelf.
What is COBOT?
Cobots are designed to work with people rather than replace them. Cobots are also known as people-focused robots. They can help humans simplify and improve their work.
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Article | December 21, 2021
Consumer demand has shifted dramatically in recent years, and manufacturers are trying to adapt to this shift. To maintain high product quality, minimize costs, and optimize supply chains, manufacturing analyticshas become essential for manufacturers.
Manufacturing analyticsis the process of gathering and analyzing data from various systems, equipment, and IoT devices in real-time to get essential insights.
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
Manufacturing analyticscan assist in maintaining production quality, boost performance with high-profit returns, decrease costs, and optimize supply networks.
This article will outline manufacturing analyticsand present a list of possible application cases. It will also highlight the benefits of manufacturing analyticsfor any shop floor or factory.
Manufacturing analytics: An Overview
With manufacturing analytics, we can streamline and speed up the entire process. Data interchange and automation helps in speeding up the production process. Manufacturing analyticsuses predictive manufacturing, big data, Industrial IoT, network virtualization, and machine learningto produce better scalable production solutions.
Manufacturing analyticscollects and analyses data from many sources via sensors embedded in machinery to identify areas for improvement. Data is collected and presented in an easy-to-understand structure to illustrate where difficulties emerge throughout the process.
In short, manufacturing analyticscollects and analyses large volumes of data to reveal insights that might improve performance. Users can also obtain automated business reports to reply in real-time.
Why Manufacturing analytics is Vital for Leading Businesses
There are numerous benefits of manufacturing analyticsthat drive any company’s production and overall manufacturing business growth. The benefits of manufacturing analyticsfall into three distinct categories as below.
It reduces the overall cost: Analytics may save a significant amount of money if used more efficiently. Labor costs are also reduced due to automation and semi-autonomous machinery. Similarly, preventive and prescriptive maintenance programs may save money while enhancing productivity.
It boosts profits for businesses: Manufacturers can respond swiftly to changes in demand using real-time insights in production, inventory management, and demand and supply forecasting. For example, assume the data indicates that they are approaching their maximum capacity. In such instances, they can increase over time, increase capacity, modify procedures, or tweak other production areas to adapt and maintain delivery times.
Other unforeseen benefits: There are several advantages to the increased capabilities enabled by manufacturing analytics. These benefits include lower energy use, safer environmental practices, fewer compliance failures, and more customer satisfaction.
Five Real-world Applications of Manufacturing Analytics
A machine's analytics uses aggregate data from real-time detectors to anticipate when it needs to be replaced or functioning irregularly. This process helps predict machine failure or equipment defects.
Analytics can assist in determining a plant's capacity and how many products are produced by the unit in every production cycle, which is helpful in capacity planning. In addition, analytics may help determine the ideal number of units to create over time by considering capacity, sales predictions, and parallel schedules.
Predictive analytics solutions can automate maintenance requests and readings that shortens the procedure and reduce maintenance expenses.
Product development is an expensive process in manufacturing. As a result, businesses must invest in R&D to develop new product lines, improve existing models, and generate new value-added services.
Earlier, this approach was in place by repeated modeling to get the finest outcome. This approach can now be modeled to a large extent, with the help of data science and technologically superior analytics. Real-world circumstances can be replicated electronically using "digital twins" and other modeling approaches to anticipate performance and decrease R&D expenses.
Many factors that might help in the plan significant capital expenditures or brief breakdowns can be explained using historical data and a few high-impact variable strategies. For example, consider the seasonality of products like ice cream. As a result, historical market data and a few high-impact factors can help explain numerous variables and plan major capital expenditures or short-term shutdowns.
In addition to demand forecasting, predictive analytics incorporates advanced statistical techniques. With predictive analytics, a wide range of parameters, including customer buying behavior, raw material availability, and trade war implications, may be taken into consideration.
Warranty support may be a load for many manufacturers. Warranties are frequently based on a "one-size-fits-all" approach that is broader. This approach introduces uncertainty and unanticipated complications into the equation.
Products may be modified or updated to decrease failure and hence expense by using data science and obtaining information from active warranties in the field. It can also lead to better-informed iterations for new product lines to minimize field complaints.
Managing Supply Chain Risks
Data may be recorded from commodities in transit and sent straight from vendor equipment to the software platform, helping to enable end-to-end visibility in the supply chain.
Manufacturing analyticsallows organizations to manage their supply chains like a "control tower," directing resources to speed up or slow down. They may also order backup supplies and activate secondary suppliers when demand changes.
Businesses should adapt to changing times. Using analytics in manufacturinghas altered the business industry and spared it from possible hazards while boosting production lines. Industry 4.0's route has been carved. Manufacturing analyticsis the key to true Industry 4.0, and without it, the data produced by clever IoT devices is meaningless. The future is data-driven, and success will go to those who are ready to adopt it. The faster adoption, the sooner firms go ahead of the competition.
How can data analytics help manufacturers?
Data analytics tools can help manufacturers analyze machine conditions and efficiency in real-time. It enables manufacturers to do predictive maintenance, something they were previously unable to accomplish.
Why is data so crucial in manufacturing?
Data helps enhance manufacturing quality control. Manufacturers can better understand their company's performance and make changes by collecting data. Data-driven manufacturing helps management to track production and labor time, improve maintenance and quality, and reduce business and safety concerns.
What is Predictive Manufacturing?
Predictive manufacturing uses descriptive analytics and data visualization to offer a real-time perspective of asset health and dependability performance. In addition, it helps factories spot quality issues and takes remedial action quicker by eliminating the waste and the cost associated with it.
Article | January 20, 2022
COVID drove many supply chain disruptions in 2021. This was particularly true for companies using Asia to source product. Sadly, the bottleneck continues in 2022, but there are new channels now available to serve the North American material handling market. System integrators, dealers, and distributors in the space cannot work with vendors who offer slow delivery timetables. Customers want shelving, racking, conveyors, and robotics no later than Q3 2022.
MODEX 2022 provides answers to solve the supply chain disruption
MODEX 2022 (March 28-31, 2022) in Atlanta, will once again bring many global manufacturers to the event. Nearly 800 exhibitors and 40,000 attendees will respect COVID health and safety protocols while learning about much needed solutions from a variety of global manufacturers. For the first time there is an African company exhibiting at MODEX: LinkMisr International.
Article | December 16, 2021
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is a technology that revolutionized the manufacturing business. Pierre Bézier, a Renault engineer, produced the world's first real 3D CAD/CAM application, UNISURF CAD. His game-changing program redefined the product design process and profoundly altered the design and manufacturing industries.
So, what is CAM in its most basic definition?
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) is the application of computer systems to the planning, control, and administration of manufacturing operations. This is accomplished by using either direct or indirect links between the computer and the manufacturing processes. In a nutshell, CAM provides greater manufacturing efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.
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
In light of the numerous advantages and uses of computer-aided manufacturing, manufacturers have opted to use it extensively. The future of computer-aided manufacturing is brightening due to the rapid and rising adoption of CAM.
According to Allied Market Research, the global computer-aided manufacturing market was worth $2,689 million in 2020 and is expected to reach $5,477 million by 2028, rising at an 8.4% compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2028.
Despite all this, each new development has benefits and challenges of its own. In this article, we'll discuss the benefits of CAM, the challenges that come with it, and how to deal with them. Let's start with the advantages of computer-aided manufacturing.
Benefits of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
There are significant benefits of using computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAM typically provides the following benefits:
Increased component production speed
Maximizes the utilization of a wide variety of manufacturing equipment
Allows for the rapid and waste-free creation of prototypes
Assists in optimizing NC programs for maximum productivity during machining
Creates performance reports automatically
As part of the manufacturing process, it integrates multiple systems and procedures.
The advancement of CAD and CAM software provides visual representation and integration of modeling and testing applications.
Greater precision and consistency, with similar components and products
Less downtime due to computer-controlled devices
High superiority in following intricate patterns like circuit board tracks
Three Challenges in CAM and Their Solutions
We have focused on the three primary challenges and their solutions that we have observed.
Receiving Incomplete CAD Updates
Receiving insufficient CAD updates is one of the challenges. If, for example, the part update from a CAD engineer does not include the pockets that are required in the assembly, to the CAM engineer.
SOLUTION: A modeler that enables developers of a CAM programs to create intuitive processes for features such as feature extraction and duplication across CAD version updates. A modeler is capable of recognizing and extracting the pocket's architecture and the parameters that define it. Additionally, the CAM application can enable the engineer to reproduce the pocket in a few simple steps by exploiting the modeler's editing features such as scaling, filling, extruding, symmetrical patterning, and removing.
Last Minute Design Updates
The second major challenge is last-minute design changes may impact manufacturers as a result of simulation.
SOLUTION: With 3D software components, you may create applications in which many simulation engineers can work together to make design modifications to the CAD at the same time, with the changes being automatically merged at the end.
Challenging Human-driven CAM Manufacturing
The third major challenge we have included is that CAM engineers must perform manual steps in human-driven CAM programming, which takes time and requires expert CAM software developers. Furthermore, when the structure of the target components grows more complicated, the associated costs and possibility of human failure rise.
SOLUTION: Self-driving CAM is the best solution for this challenge. Machine-driven CAM programming, also known as self-driving CAM, provides an opportunity to improve this approach with a more automated solution. Preparing for CAM is simple with the self-driving CAM approach, and it can be done by untrained operators regardless of part complexity. The technology handles all of the necessary decisions for CAM programming operations automatically. In conclusion, self-driving CAM allows for efficient fabrication of bespoke parts, which can provide substantial value and potential for job shops and machine tool builders.
Computer Aided Manufacturing Examples
CAM is widely utilized in various sectors and has emerged as a dominant technology in the manufacturing and design industries. Here are two examples of sectors where CAM is employed efficiently and drives solutions to many challenges in the specific business.
Virtual 3D prototype systems, such as Modaris 3D fit and Marvellous Designer, are already used by designers and manufacturers to visualize 2D blueprints into 3D virtual prototyping. Many other programs, such as Accumark V-stitcher and Optitex 3D runway, show the user a 3D simulation to show how a garment fits and how the cloth drapes to educate the customer better.
Aerospace and Astronomy
The James Webb Space Telescope's 18 hexagonal beryllium segments require the utmost level of precision, and CAM is providing it. Its primary mirror is 1.3 meters wide and 250 kilograms heavy, but machining and etching will reduce the weight by 92% to just 21 kilograms.
What is the best software for CAM?
Mastercam has been the most extensively utilized CAM software for 26 years in a row, according to CIMdata, an independent NC research business.
How CAD-CAM helps manufacturers?
Customers can send CAD files to manufacturers via CAD-CAM software. They can then build up the machining tool path and run simulations to calculate the machining cycle times.
What is the difference between CAD and CAM?
Computer-aided design (CAD) is the process of developing a design (drafting). CAM is the use of computers and software to guide machines to build something, usually a mass-produced part.