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Trends in System Integration

Four system integration experts offer their insights on manufacturing and what lies ahead for the industry. System integrators are vital to sustaining growth in manufacturing.

Ed Diehl, executive director, Concept Systems Inc, Albany, Oregon. (ranked #22 in the 2014 SI Giants):

“There’s been a big surge in robotics-based technology, robotic work cells. We’re finding that the price point for robots has come down and because skilled resources aren’t available, companies who were not doing it before are now looking to automate.

“Intelligent robots using 3-D scanning are a little more adaptable. That’s becoming a bigger part of what we do. We’re also seeing some middle-market companies, companies that haven’t automated in the past, looking at robotics.

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Automation’s Environmental Benefit

board-markingAutomation ultimately benefits the planet by helping to bring manufacturing back to the United States, where pollution is regulated.

When I first started in this business roughly 22 years ago, manufacturers used automation as a tool to increase production, speed up processes and improve cost effectiveness. It was not the norm to employ automation to drive sustainability. The desire to get costs down was enough to cause many manufacturers to seek better conditions overseas. The prevailing thought was to take advantage of the low cost labor force offered by Mexico, China, India and other countries. Continue Reading →

How laser scanners and non-contact encoders are changing robotic applications

IMTS 2014At the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) show in Chicago earlier this month, I had the opportunity to share with clients and potential clients information about a new automation application that involves some good, solid here-and-now technology as well as some not-quite-ready-for primetime,emerging technology that is rather exciting. The application involves painting robots, coupled with laser scanning and non-contact encoding.

The painting applications I have typically encountered come in one of two flavors: 1) either fixturing a part up and loading it into a booth Continue Reading →