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.
Automated assembly lines have been the backbone of the automotive industry for decades. Robots are widely used to rivet and weld car bodies. But, in the aerospace sector, automation is more elusive when it comes to building fuselages and wings for commercial aircraft.
In September, Toyota announced that it will invest $391 million in its truck assembly plant in San Antonio. Hyundai announced that it is investing nearly $300 million in its factory in Montgomery, AL. Brake manufacturer Bendix Spicer began construction on a $65 million expansion of its assembly plant Bowling Green, KY. And, automotive supplier Hirotec Group said it will invest $48 million to build a new assembly plant in Fayetteville, TN.
More than 5,000 manufacturing professionals saw the latest robots, fastening tools and automation at the seventh annual
ASSEMBLY Show, which was held Oct. 22-24 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
Manufacturing companies contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy according to the most recent annual data. Manufacturers, of which 98.6 percent qualify as small businesses, have become more agile, more productive and leaner in recent years.
Hydraulic valves direct the flow of a liquid medium, usually oil, through a hydraulic system. These valves are used in a variety of applications, including heavy trucks, farm equipment, and mining and construction machinery.
The automotive industry is at the threshold of a disruption not seen since the Brass Era of the 1900s. Electric vehicles, connectivity, mobility-as-a-service, and autonomous vehicles promise to change the future of transportation in the same way that the "horseless carriage" did a century ago.
The lives of manufacturers would be so much easier if all their automation processes were homogeneous. Unfortunately, there are many that require customization to satisfy the unique requirements of an automated work-holding or material-handling application.