The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 are transforming the world of manufacturing. The two terms are relatively interchangeable and basically mean the same thing: Manufacturers using internet-enabled technologies to improve their business strategies and outcomes.
"Out with the old, in with the new" is a catchy idiom. But, it can also be costly advice, especially for a manufacturer. Replacing its numerous older machines can cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.
Sir Humphry Davy did more than just invent electric welding in 1800 when he created electric arcs between two carbon electrodes using batteries. He set a precedent for welding innovation that continues to this day.
With so many ways to formulate plastic to get just the right combination of color, texture, strength and durability, it’s easy to forget how the parts will be assembled. However, if the parts will be assembled with screws, overlooking such parameters as thread style, driver speed and boss design could spell disaster on the assembly line.
Laser welding of plastic parts creates precise, high-quality, particulate-free joints for medical devices, consumer products and other assemblies. However, for the process to work, the laser light must pass through the top part to be absorbed by the bottom part. Welding a clear plastic part to another clear plastic part was not possible.
Threaded fasteners are, by far, the most common method of assembling parts. According to ASSEMBLY magazine's annual Capital Equipment Spending Survey, screwdriving is performed at 58 percent of U.S. assembly plants, making it more popular than welding, pressing, adhesive bonding or riveting.
There are many ways to crimp or flare a lip on a cylindrical part. For example, it can be done with a press or an orbital forming machine. However, the problem with those processes, particularly the former, is that they require a good deal of force.
As the speed of innovation in the automotive industry quickens, assemblers at Rhenus SML in Genk, Belgium, do all they can to keep pace. Rhenus workers painfully learned the importance of this five years ago when Ford Motor Co. shut down its Genk plant, which sat adjacent to Rhenus's facility.