If you can’t see it, you can’t measure it, and if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! This is the simple mantra of successful manufacturers the world over. Manufacturing excellence can only come from manufacturing visibility.
Among Forrest Gump’s greatest life lessons was the insight that you could never be certain what you would find inside a box of chocolates. Although Gump never actually clarified what that uncertainty is, it’s generally assumed he was referring to the various types of fillings hidden in chocolate candies.
Due to rapidly advancing technology, industrial automation has experienced explosive growth in recent decades. From early relay logic, to the introduction of programmable logic controllers (PLCs), and now robotics, adaptive logic, networking and wireless technology, automation has provided significant opportunities to improve most manufacturing processes.
At some point during a philosophy 101 class, college students learn about Aristotle’s belief that the best way to understand something is to break it down to the smallest components. For an increasing number of manufacturers and integrators, however, the best way to assemble a product is to use a machine built with modular automation components that quickly and easily fit together.
Vision systems play a vital role in automated assembly systems. They can check for the presence or absence of parts or materials. They can measure key dimensions of assemblies. They can tell robots the precise location of parts. They can even read 1D and 2D codes.
In the nautical disaster movie, “The Perfect Storm,” three weather fronts converge off the coast of New England to create one of the fiercest storms in U.S. history. A similar convergence is occurring in the manufacturing world today. It’s called Industry 4.0 and it promises to transform the way that engineers design and build products over the next two decades.
This time of the year, many homeowners in the Midwest and Northeast start covering their barbecue grills, patio furniture, rosebushes and swimming pools. The type of cover they choose can make a big difference in how those objects survive cold winter temperatures and heavy snow.