It is a fact that the age of the robot is coming fast. I see that in retail robots are being used now to stock, to reorder and to give directions to patrons. The question is, is this a good thing or a bad thing? In regards to jobs at a retail store, this can not be good as the robot might take jobs that use to be done by humans. The good is that if you have the programming talent then high paying jobs to program these robots will be needed. Robots have grown in the distribution facility area also and they are making over time significant impact on a distribution facility bottom line. So it is apparent that as long as automation in one form or another continues to make more profits and cut expenses then this trend will continue!
More to come.
Friday, January 19, 2018
Friday, January 5, 2018
By Eddie Amos, General Manager & VP Industrial Applications Software, GE Digital
What does the future hold for industrial organizations like those in manufacturing? Today’s digital transformation has established the foundation for what’s to come. Like the paved highway systems for cars to drive on, the increased connectivity of industrial assets has been foundational for the next wave of technological advancements.
While the physical machines that make up industrial infrastructure, such as power generators, turbines and locomotives, appear to be relatively unchanged compared to a decade ago, these assets have undergone significant changes to bring them into the digital age. That said, industrials have historically been the slowest to tap into the power of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). According to a recent report, industrial companies recognize the upsides to IIoT, but 79 percent say they do not have a mature plan in place to reap the benefits of this connected network.
With sensors and intelligent control systems in place across industrial facilities, organizations will now be able to leverage this next wave of technology for more efficient business processes and increased digital maturity. Over the next year and beyond, we can expect a few advancements to take us further than we ever have been before on this digital journey.
Automation through Artificial Intelligence
Plant operators are already seeing the benefits of machine learning that powers artificial intelligence. These software algorithms in asset performance management drive the integration of historical data to help predict maintenance issues and equipment failures with more accuracy and more advanced warning. What will make AI even more valuable is the application of more sophisticated machine learning algorithms to real-time performance data. This will create smarter, more self-sufficient machines. Because many organizations are still in the digital transformation process, connecting all machines and assets across plants and fleets, various enterprise resource planning systems and disparate data hinder data analytics and decision-making. As machines deliver more data through connected sensors, artificial intelligence in asset performance management systems will not only organize and standardize data inputs, but it will also augment an organization’s ability to analyze it in different ways, resulting in more automated and accurate decision-making. Current manual processes, such as issuing work orders and scheduling inspections, will become automated, streamlining maintenance practices and improving machine performance.
Digital Twin Drives New Levels of Productivity
Digital twins are becoming more prevalent across industries, providing a key advantage for organizations that run a true digital ecosystem powered by asset performance management. The digital twin concept is based on the idea of having pre-defined content about how assets are operating and performing, and then leveraging that information to build a replica of the asset. With a virtual replica of every asset that informs operators about health status, equipment life and performance levels, organizations are fully equipped to optimize machines at all hours of the day to adjust for peak demand levels and optimize productivity as a result. For companies that operate active assets every second of the year, this saves millions of dollars by avoiding unplanned downtime.
Once organizations have a better understanding of their entire plant and fleet operations based on the digital replicas of their assets, they can identify any anomalies or poor performing equipment and take action as appropriate. Taking this one step further, this data can eventually be anonymized and shared industry-wide for a larger data sample and more accurate benchmarks. The power of statistics is limited for organizations running a set number of assets, but leveraging a broader dataset will provide better performance insights for asset management.
Not all industrial equipment is easily accessible. Some machines have thousands of parts, each embedded inside layers of the strongest materials, and other machines that operate within the world’s harshest environment. For decades, this has created time consuming, laborious inspection processes for routine checks or when an asset indicated an error. Inspection teams need to perform hands-on testing of the equipment or literally look “under the hood” to identify the problem, particularly for assets that are necessary for operations.
A medical technology manufacturer, for example, has to prioritize inspection for its critical healthcare systems. If there is an infection in a hospital, equipment used to test for infection is critical for immediate response. If a manufacturer’s microbiology machine has any performance issues, it would put the entire healthcare ecosystem at risk. This equipment requires regular monitoring and inspection.
Fortunately, technology is rapidly changing how inspection teams approach these processes. With advances in augmented reality for mobile devices and the help of digital twins, field workers can now perform in-depth inspections based on real-time information without having to take the equipment offline and physically analyze things. As more field service professionals are able to take advantage of augmented reality technology, organizations will minimize the risk that extreme environments can pose to workers - for instance, near pipelines or on oil rigs - as well as maximize efficiency by keeping equipment running online.
These technologies - artificial intelligence, digital twins and augmented reality - are available today, but they will only continue to advance and will become fundamental components of industrial operations. The key to taking full advantage of these newer capabilities is to have the right digital infrastructure in place today, including connected assets that feed information through a centralized asset management system. As more equipment enables data analytics and drives intelligent asset strategies, industrial organizations will have the level of digital maturity they need to optimize asset performance in real-time.
An interesting and eye opening article with more and more to come and Kuecker Logistics Group will be in the forefront to guide our customers.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Did you know:
AS/RS systems are designed for automated storage and retrieval of parts and items in manufacturing, distribution, retail, wholesale and institutions. They first originated in the 1960s, initially focusing on heavy pallet loads but with the evolution of the technology the handled loads have become smaller. The systems operate under computerized control, maintaining an inventory of stored items. Retrieval of items is accomplished by specifying the item type and quantity to be retrieved. The computer determines where in the storage area the item can be retrieved from and schedules the retrieval. It directs the proper automated storage and retrieval machine (SRM) to the location where the item is stored and directs the machine to deposit the item at a location where it is to be picked up. A system of conveyors and or automated guided vehicles is sometimes part of the AS/RS system. These take loads into and out of the storage area and move them to the manufacturing floor or loading docks. To store items, the pallet or tray is placed at an input station for the system, the information for inventory is entered into a computer terminal and the AS/RS system moves the load to the storage area, determines a suitable location for the item, and stores the load. As items are stored into or retrieved from the racks, the computer updates its inventory accordingly.
The benefits of an AS/RS system include reduced labor for transporting items into and out of inventory, reduced inventory levels, more accurate tracking of inventory, and space savings. Items are often stored more densely than in systems where items are stored and retrieved manually.
Within the storage, items can be placed on trays or hang from bars, which are attached to chains/drives in order to move up and down. The equipment required for an AS/RS include a storage & retrieval machine (SRM) that is used for rapid storage and retrieval of material. SRMs are used to move loads vertically or horizontally, and can also move laterally to place objects in the correct storage location.
The trend towards Just In Time production often requires sub-pallet level availability of production inputs, and AS/RS is a much faster way of organizing the storage of smaller items next to production lines.
Rather than selecting a manufacturer who is only going to recommend the best solution that “they” can provide you with, why not go to a systems integrator with experience in all types of AS/RS who has access to many of the best products on the market and all types of AS/RS? This is just one of the advantages that you will benefit from when choosing Kuecker Logistics Group to assist you in the implementation of an automated storage and retrieval system that is custom designed to meet all of your specific and unique requirements.
More to come soon!
Monday, December 11, 2017
A bit about palletizers:
A palletizer or palletiser is a machine which provides automatic means for stacking cases of goods or products onto a pallet.
Manually placing boxes on pallets can be time consuming and expensive; it can also put unusual stress on workers. The first mechanized palletizer was designed, built, and installed in 1948 by a company formerly known as Lamson Corp. Lamson is currently owned by ARPAC (.com) who provides both robotic and mechanical palletizers with complete end of line packaging equipment systems.
There are specific types of palletizers including the row-forming which were introduced in the early 1950s. In row-forming palletizing applications loads are arranged on a row forming area and then moved onto a different area where layer forming takes place. This process repeats until a full layer of goods and products are configured to be placed on a pallet.
The in-line palletizer was developed in the 1970s when higher speeds were needed for palletizing. This palletizer type utilizes a continuous motion flow divider that guides the goods into the desired area on the layer forming platform.
Robotic palletizers were introduced in the early 1980s and have an end of arm tool (end effector) to grab the product from a conveyor or layer table and position it onto a pallet. Both conventional and robotic palletizers can receive product at a high elevation (typically between 84” - 2.13m to 124” - 3.15m) or low “floor level” elevation (typically at 30” - 0.76m to 36” - 0.91m).