What Can You Do with Metal 3D Printing?

ALEX CREASE| July 01, 2019
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH METAL 3D PRINTING?
Metal 3D printing is changing the way we create parts. In low- to mid-volume production runs, the parts themselves can be made faster, cheaper, and with lower effort than traditional manufacturing processes. Since additive manufacturing forms parts in such a different way, it makes it much easier to produce certain types of parts that require complex features.

Spotlight

Walker Magnetics Group

The story began in 1896 with Oakley S. Walker, the inventor of the electromagnetic chuck, and his founding of the O.S. Walker Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. Over the next century, the company grew to become the largest company in the world providing custom design and manufacture of magnetic products for workholding, lifting, material handling, scrap magnets and separation applications.

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Technologies to Adopt Now to Enable the Smart Warehouse Concept

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. IoT Implementation 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. Final Words 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. FAQ 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. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the key benefits of a smart warehouse?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A smart warehouse improves the warehouse's productivity, efficiency, and accuracy. It also allows personnel and procedures to be flexible." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What exactly is WMS?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that handles the supply chain from the distribution center to the retail shelf." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is COBOT?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "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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The Top Five Lean Manufacturing Tools for 2022

Article | December 13, 2021

Lean manufacturing is a growing trend that aims to reduce waste while increasing productivity in manufacturing systems. But, unfortunately, waste doesn't add value to the product, and buyers don't want to pay for it. This unusual method pushed Toyota Motor Corporation's industry to become a leading Toyota Production System (TPS). As a result, they are now efficiently producing some of the world's top cars with the least waste and the quickest turnaround. The majority of manufacturers are now using lean management. According to the 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing report, 69.7% of manufacturing businesses use Lean Manufacturing Practices. Lean tools are the ones that help you in implementing lean practice in your organization. These lean tools assist in managing people and change while solving problems and monitoring performance. Lean Manufacturing technologies are designed to reduce waste, improve flow, improve quality control, and maximize manufacturing resources. What Are the Five Best Lean Manufacturing Tools and How Do They Work? There are roughly 50 Lean Manufacturing tools available in the market. This post will describe 5 of them and their value to your business and its developments. 5S The 5S system promotes efficiency by organizing and cleaning the workplace. To help increase workplace productivity, the system has five basic guidelines (five S's). The five Ss are Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. 5S improves workplace efficiency and effectiveness by: Sort: Removing unnecessary material from each work area Set: Set the goal of creating efficient work areas for each individual Shine: Maintaining a clean work area after each shift helps identify and resolve minor concerns Standardize: Documenting changes to make other work areas' applications more accessible Sustain: Repeat each stage for continuous improvement 5S is a lean tool used in manufacturing, software, and healthcare. Kaizen and Kanban can be utilized to produce the most efficient workplace possible. Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing Just-in-time manufacturing allows manufacturers to produce products only after a customer requests them. This reduces the risk of overstocking or damaging components or products during storage. Consider JIT if your company can operate on-demand and limit the risk of only carrying inventory as needed. JIT can help manage inventory, but it can also hinder meeting customer demand if the supply chain breaks. Kaizen With Kaizen, you may enhance seven separate areas at once: business culture, leadership, procedures, quality, and safety. Kaizen is a Japanese word, means "improvement for the better" or "constant improvement." “Many companies are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology; consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing.” – Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive at Microsoft The idea behind Kaizen is that everyone in the organization can contribute suggestions for process improvement. Accepting everyone's viewpoints may not result in significant organizational changes, but minor improvements here and there will add up over time to substantial reductions in wasted resources. Kanban Kanban is a visual production method that delivers parts to the production line as needed. This lean tool works by ensuring workers get what they need when they need it. Previously, employees used Kanban cards to request new components, and new parts were not provided until the card asked them to. In recent years, sophisticated software has replaced Kanban cards to signal demand electronically. Using scanned barcodes to signify when new components are needed, the system may automatically request new parts. Kanban allows businesses to manage inventory better, decrease unnecessary stock, and focus on the products that must be stored. To reduce waste and improve efficiency, facilities can react to current needs rather than predict the future. Kanban encourages teams and individuals to improve Kanban solutions and overall production processes like Kaizen. Kanban as a lean tool can be used with Kaizen and 5S. PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a scientific strategy for managing change. Dr. W. Edwards Deming invented it in the 1950s; hence, it is called the ‘Deming Cycle.’ The PDCA cycle has four steps: Problem or Opportunity: Determine whether a problem or an opportunity exists Do: Make a small test Examine: Look over the test results Act: Take action depending on results How Nestlé Used the Kaizen Lean Manufacturing Tool Nestlé is the largest food corporation in the world, yet it is also a company that practices Lean principles, particularly the Kaizen method. Nestlé Waters used a technique known as value stream mapping, which is frequently associated with Kaizen. They designed a new bottling factory from scratch to guarantee that operations were as efficient as possible. Nestlé has been aiming to make ongoing changes to their processes to reduce waste and the amount of time and materials that can be wasted during their operations. Final Words Lean manufacturing techniques enable many businesses to solve their manufacturing difficulties and become more productive and customer-centric. In addition, useful lean manufacturing tools assist companies in obtaining the anticipated outcomes and arranging their operations in many excellent ways to meet buyer expectations. Hence, gather a list of the top lean manufacturing tools and choose the best fit for your organization to maximize your ROI and address the performance issue that is causing your outcomes to lag. FAQ What are the standard tools in lean manufacturing? Among the more than 50 lean manufacturing tools, Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, Value Stream Mapping, and PDCA are the most commonly used lean manufacturing tools. How to Select the Best Lean Manufacturing Tools for Your Business? Choosing a lean manufacturing tool begins with identifying the issue or lag in your organization that affects overall productivity and work quality. To select the lean device that best meets your company's needs, you must first grasp each one's benefits and implementation techniques. What is included in a Lean 5S toolkit? The lean 5S toolbox contains some essential items for achieving the goal. It comes with a notepad or tablet, a camera, a high-quality flashlight, a tape measure, and a stopwatch. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the standard tools in lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Among the more than 50 lean manufacturing tools, Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, Value Stream Mapping, and PDCA are the most commonly used lean manufacturing tools." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How to Select the Best Lean Manufacturing Tools for Your Business?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Choosing a lean manufacturing tool begins with identifying the issue or lag in your organization that affects overall productivity and work quality. 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Three Business Examples That Effectively Practice Lean Manufacturing

Article | December 13, 2021

Lean manufacturing principles enable manufacturing businesses to achieve spectacular results and overhaul their conventional operations. A wide range of industries have adopted lean manufacturing because of its enormous advantages, and they have seen excellent results as a result. The 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing survey indicated that 69.7% of manufacturing organizations employ lean manufacturing principles. By consuming this data, we can understand how far organizations have progressed toward incorporating lean principles into their operations. “Many companies are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology, consumer demands; the way we work, human needs, and much more are constantly changing.” –Michael Walton, Director, Manufacturing Industry Executive at Microsoft Let's look at some examples of lean manufacturing from some well-known companies. These leading-edge examples of lean manufacturing will shed light on how lean principles positively affect. Leading Companies Using Lean Manufacturing Effectively Successful manufacturing businesses like Toyota, Nike, and Caterpillar are currently employing lean manufacturing ideas in their production processes. In addition, Intel, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere embrace these techniques. From them, we've described three different organizations in various sectors that are successfully adopting lean manufacturing. JOHN DEERE John Deere has also implemented a lean manufacturing strategy. As a result, many of their quality control procedures are automated, which means that more components can be checked for flaws in less time. This means that more supply can be released each day, and the product can be supplied at a lower price to the consumer. Additionally, these controls monitor the manufacturing process for each component of their products, ensuring that they never manufacture more than is required and waste essential materials in the process. INTEL Intel, known for its computer processors, has used lean manufacturing techniques to provide a higher quality product for an industry that requires zero defects. In the past, it took more than three months to get a microprocessor to the manufacturer, but this principle has helped shorten that time to less than ten days. Intel rapidly learned that creating more but worse quality was not the way to raise revenues and increase consumer satisfaction with its products, which were extremely precise and technical. Instead, both parties gain from quality control and waste reduction initiatives. This is even true in the tech industry, where goods are constantly changed and upgraded. TOYOTA Toyota, the world's largest automaker, was the first to implement lean manufacturing in its manufacturing operations. But, even more importantly, they've learned how to limit products that don't match customer expectations by eliminating waste. To achieve these goals, Toyota employs two essential procedures. The first is a method known as Jidoka, which loosely translates as "automation with the assistance of humans." This implies that, although some of the work is automated, humans always ensure that the result is of the highest quality. When something goes wrong, the machines have built-in programs that allow them to shut themselves down. Known as the Just In Time (JIT) model, this is the second stage. Once the last part of a process has been finished, the next phase can begin. No unnecessary work will be done if there is a problem with the assembly line. This lean manufacturing technique has inspired thousands of other businesses. Final Words Lean manufacturing principles and their execution require discipline and patience to get the results out of them. When we see the successful lean manufacturing examples, it is not a fraction of a second success. They have devoted their time, energy, and efforts to modifying every single operational process in order to become a part of lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is not a method; it is a way of life that transforms your business practices and takes your firm to a new level of operations. Gain insights from renowned organizations' lean manufacturing success stories to help you become a part of the lean companies of 2022. FAQ What is the effect of lean manufacturing? Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. As a result, your company becomes more focused on the results. Is it possible for lean manufacturing to fail? It is conceivable in some circumstances, such as failing to focus on a single system implementation or implementing too many system changes at once and failing to have a sound follow-up system to check that everything is working effectively. Why do certain businesses struggle with lean manufacturing? Most businesses fail to see that lean is a management philosophy, not a set of tools. As a result, most corporate leaders either don't understand or lack the patience and control to implement lean manufacturing. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the effect of lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. As a result, your company becomes more focused on the results." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is it possible for lean manufacturing to fail?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "It is conceivable in some circumstances, such as failing to focus on a single system implementation or implementing too many system changes at once and failing to have a sound follow-up system to check that everything is working effectively." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why do certain businesses struggle with lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Most businesses fail to see that lean is a management philosophy, not a set of tools. As a result, most corporate leaders either don't understand or lack the patience and control to implement lean manufacturing." } }] }

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How Smart Manufacturing Is Powered by Digital Twin Technology?

Article | December 8, 2021

A digital twin is a virtual model of an object or system that comprises its lifecycle. It is updated with real-time data and aids decision-making through simulation, machine learning, and reasoning for the production system. IoT sensor data from the original object is used to create a digital twin of the system. This cloud-connected data allows engineers to monitor systems and model system dynamics in real-time. Modifications can be tested on the digital twin before making changes to the original system. Considering that digital twins are supposed to replicate a product's complete lifecycle and are used throughout the production process, it's not unexpected that digital twins have become prevalent in all stages of manufacturing. “More than a blueprint or schematic, a digital twin combines a real-time simulation of system dynamics with a set of executive controls,” – Dr. Daniel Araya, consultant and advisor with a special interest in artificial intelligence, technology policy, and governance Companies will increasingly embrace digital twins to boost productivity and decrease expenses. As per recent research by Research and Markets, nearly 36% of executives across industries recognize the benefits of digital twinning, with half planning to implement it by 2028.So how does this digital twin technology benefit modern manufacturing? Let's have a look. How the Digital Twin Drives Smart Manufacturing Digital twins in manufacturing are used to replicate production systems. Manufacturers can develop virtual representations of real-world products, equipment, processes, or systems using data from sensors connected to machines, tools, and other devices. In manufacturing, such simulations assist in monitoring and adapting equipment performance in real-time. With machine learning techniques, digital twins can predict future events and anticipate potential difficulties. For maintenance, digital twins allow for quick detection of any problems. They collect real-time system data, prior failure data, and relevant maintenance data. The technique employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict maintenance requirements. Using this data, companies can avoid production downtime. Digital Twin and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in manufacturing Using digital twins and AI in production can enhance uptime by predicting potential failures and keeping equipment working smoothly. In addition, there are significant cost savings in the planning and design process as digital twins and AI can be used to replicate a specific scenario. Maintenance is another area that has seen significant progress with the use of digital twin manufacturing. A Digital Twin powered by AI can predict when a piece of equipment will fail, allowing you to arrange predictive maintenance that is not simply taking information from OEM manuals but can significantly cut maintenance expenses along with reducing downtime. Using the digital twin, it is feasible to train virtual workers in high-risk functions, similar to how pilots are trained using flight simulators. It also frees up highly skilled workers to upgrade the plant and streamline operations. General Electric Created the Most Advanced Digital Twin General Electric Company (GE) is a multinational business based in Boston that was founded in 1892. It has developed the world's most advanced digital twin, which blends analytic models for power plant components that monitor asset health, wear, and performance with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) determined by the customer and the organization's objectives. The Digital Twin is powered by PredixTM, an industrial platform built to manage huge amounts of data and run analytic algorithms. General Electric Company provides extra "control knobs" or "dimensionality" that can be utilized to improve the operation of the system or asset modeled with GE Digital Twin. Final Words Given the numerous advantages of digital twin manufacturing, the potential for digital twins to be used in manufacturing is virtually endless in the near future. There will be a slew of new advancements in the field of digital twin manufacturing. As a result, digital twins are continually acquiring new skills and capabilities. The ultimate goal of all of these enhancements is to create the insights necessary to improve products and streamline processes in the future. FAQ What is a digital twin in manufacturing? The digital twins could be used to monitor and enhance a production line or perhaps the whole manufacturing process, from product design to production. How digital twin benefit manufacturers? Using digital twins to represent products and manufacturing processes, manufacturers can save assembly, installation, and validation time and costs. What is a digital thread? A digital twin is a realistic version of a product or system that replicates a company's equipment, controls, workflows, and systems. The digital thread, on the other hand, records a product's life cycle from creation to dissolution. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a digital twin in manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "The digital twins could be used to monitor and enhance a production line or perhaps the whole manufacturing process, from product design to production." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How digital twin benefit manufacturers?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Using digital twins to represent products and manufacturing processes, manufacturers can save assembly, installation, and validation time and costs." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is a digital thread?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "A digital twin is a realistic version of a product or system that replicates a company's equipment, controls, workflows, and systems. The digital thread, on the other hand, records a product's life cycle from creation to dissolution." } }] }

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Spotlight

Walker Magnetics Group

The story began in 1896 with Oakley S. Walker, the inventor of the electromagnetic chuck, and his founding of the O.S. Walker Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. Over the next century, the company grew to become the largest company in the world providing custom design and manufacture of magnetic products for workholding, lifting, material handling, scrap magnets and separation applications.

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