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Wrestling with End-of-Arm Tooling Decisions? Here are Five Critical Considerations

Oct 14, 2019 12:45:00 AM / by Mark Miller posted in Robotics, Custom Automated Equipment,

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It seems obvious that a robotic arm can’t perform a specific task until an end-of-arm tool (EOAT), sometimes called an end effector, is added. It might seem as simple as buying a tool for the task, but it’s actually a complex decision with several interconnected factors to consider. These are the top five:

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Signs Your Automation Vendor is Missing the Mark

Sep 25, 2019 9:33:00 AM / by Mark Miller

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If you’re like most small to midsize manufacturers investing in automation, you spent time at the very start of your project carefully choosing an automation integrator. That’s the best time to identify companies that are not a good fit in terms of budget, experience or specialization, even personality clashes or things outside everyone’s control like schedules that just won’t mesh. And as a result, hopefully your final choice will deliver a custom machine for you as planned. But what if things start to change once the project is underway?

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How Building a Strong Internal Team Helps Your Automation Vendor

Sep 17, 2019 2:03:25 PM / by Mark Miller posted in Automation Projects,

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If you’re like most small to medium sized manufacturers, you spent, or plan to spend, a large amount of time and careful consideration choosing an automation integrator. Don’t neglect putting the same degree of thought into appointing a team from your company who will work with them. After all, you’re making a sizeable investment in a custom machine that your staff will rely on each day, so it makes sense to develop a partnership with the vendor as it’s being created.

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Flexible Manufacturing Automation: The Case for “Cross Training” Your Equipment

Jul 16, 2019 9:06:00 AM / by Seth Angle posted in Automation Equipment,

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Even if you don’t work in the HR world, you’ve probably heard of cross training employees. This method of teaching workers to do more than one job equips them with multiple skill sets and increases their value to their team, allowing them to fill in or provide reinforcement on an as-needed basis. It’s seen in settings as diverse as the corner coffee shop or a municipal public safety department. When employees can perform their own job as well as the key skills for other positions, it adds a level of flexibility that improves response time and productivity. What you might not know is there are similar benefits in applying this approach to automation equipment in manufacturing.

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Smart Security for Smart Factories: Understanding Cyber Threats and Protections in Automated Manufacturing

Jun 27, 2019 1:50:02 PM / by Seth Angle posted in Smart Machines,

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Cyber attacks that make the evening news usually feature large organizations and often announce the theft of personal information. While they rarely make headlines, these kinds of attacks can, and do, happen to smaller businesses too. In these cases, not only are your employees’ personal data at risk, but so are “smart” machines and equipment in the Industrial Internet of Things. The key to understanding cybersecurity in a manufacturing setting is being aware that once a device is connected to the internet (even indirectly through a company network) it becomes vulnerable to attack.

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Remote Equipment Access and Monitoring: The Benefits of “Smart” and Connected Devices in Manufacturing

May 30, 2019 11:54:21 AM / by Seth Angle posted in Smart Machines,

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Increasingly, large and small factories are incorporating “smart” sensors, drives, and other monitoring components into their equipment. These connected devices can transmit production and operation data to a control room computer for real-time monitoring.

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Grow Your Manufacturing Workforce with Automation

May 20, 2019 10:39:00 AM / by Seth Angle posted in Employees,

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You probably know that automating some or all of your manufacturing processes can increase production, reduce waste, modernize your facility, and even boost revenue. But did you know it can help you expand your pool of potential employees and retain your current ones for longer? Let’s examine how automation can enable aging workers and persons with disabilities to carry out industrial and manufacturing work.

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Justifying Automation: The 6 Incidental Factors You Didn't Realize Impact ROI

Apr 23, 2019 12:51:00 PM / by Seth Angle posted in ROI,

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According to a 2016 survey by the MAPI Foundation and Rockwell Automation, the top reason companies said they chose not to automate is that perceived return on investment (ROI) did not justify the initial cost of purchase and implementation (47 percent). If this reasoning resonates with you, ask yourself if you’re looking at ROI comprehensively when considering automation.

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Applications Engineer Stephen Layman Joins Force Design Team

Mar 28, 2019 10:27:00 AM / by Mark Miller posted in Employees,

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We are pleased to announce that Stephen Layman has joined the Force Design team  as an Applications Engineer. Stephen brings experience with automation design and installation to his new role in concept and proposal development. His work will include assessing client needs, designing and developing automation solutions, creating 3D concepts and simulations, presenting proposals to clients, analyzing costs, and working with equipment vendors. As part of the Force Design leadership group, he’ll also participate in strategic planning, growing client and vendor relationships, and leading concept development work with our design and engineering staff.

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Industry 4.0: Changing the Perception of Manufacturing

Mar 25, 2019 2:06:55 PM / by Seth Angle posted in Future of Manufacturing,

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When a system, process, or institution experiences change so profound that it completely alters how it operates and how people think about it, we call it a revolution. Since the mid-1700’s, technological revolutions have changed industry, manufacturing, and the nature of work significantly three times:

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