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Top 5 Reasons to Update Your Controls

Concept Systems, Inc. manages robotic vision technologies from start to finish. We first meet with a company that has production problems. These may be related to inefficient machinery, hazardous equipment usage, or simply not having a system that allows them to keep up with client demand for their products. Concept systems, Inc. will talk with a company about their current problem and brainstorm solutions where updated technology would be beneficial.

From here, we design from scratch or redesign current robotic controllers to become more capable of performing their designated tasks. Robotic vision has helped a variety of industries meet their unique production needs in a way that provides both consumer satisfaction and profitable returns for the company. Here are 5 reasons why businesses should consider updating their production controls and machinery.

Increase Productivity

Utilizing enhanced machine vision can increase a company’s production significantly. When the controlling technology is able to make better scans of the product, then the production process is able to speed up and put out a higher volume of work. If the technology is not currently being used at all, it can be programmed to take on a larger workload.

Efficiency and Accuracy

With increased speed comes higher efficiency and accuracy. Not only is the production line moving at a steadier pace, but the number of errors occurring during production is also cut down. This is a big bonus of having robotic vision. Human error is inevitable, but robotic technologies have little to no error when programmed and function correctly.

Less Waste

The good consequence of practically nonexistent error margins is less waste of materials and time during production and processing. This is a win for the company and the environment. Fewer resources are needed to get the job done and the resources that are used get used more fully. With less waste, the company invests less money into materials costs.

Larger Profits

Less money wasted on material costs is just part of the profits made by the company. With all the increases in efficiency and production, the company is able to get more products made or items processed through their lines and shipped out to where they need to go. Investment in robotic vision will definitely see an eventual retrieval of monies spent.

Better Safety

With robot guidance, the machines can replace or change some of the dangerous jobs once left to company workers. Special scanners and controls can be programmed to do the work in areas that are not safe for people to be around. Share a new company vision with Concept Systems, Inc.!

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Why Automation is Good for the Economy

When science fiction writers started to predict that robots would someday take over many of the jobs that human workers do, they probably didn’t realize that the time would come so quickly. In the last 10 years, engineers and computer scientists have made rapid advances in the design and production of robots. Computers and robots are everywhere, but especially in the manufacturing industry. Automation will certainly change the way people do work, but that doesn’t mean that the overall number of jobs will decrease or that the economy will suffer. We can tell you about some of the ways that automation will increase jobs and the overall growth of the economy.

The Saved and Re-Invested Company Money

If a manufacturer invests in automation, it can save the business money and create jobs for people who assemble, design, and maintain the automated machines. There’s always the risk that the jobs that have become automated will be lost, but when companies have more money, they can hire in other areas, increase their existing employees’ wages, or start new off-shoot companies. This creates more money flowing through the economy and provides opportunities.

The Nature of Technological Advancement

In terms of the people creating and maintaining the machines, their skills will be highly valued. More people will study engineering and robotics, and skilled jobs will steadily grow in demand. Even what could be considered unskilled jobs, or assembly of machines or routine maintenance, will need to be completed by humans. Over the course of history, humans and machines have always worked in tandem. When the first stone chisel was invented, it took fewer people and less work to cut things, but it created a whole new field of possibilities for what humans could do with the saved time and energy. If you think about the evolution of technology as this type of progress, saved and redistributed effort, then robots are just the next phase and the economy will continue to adapt and flourish as a result. Economies adapt to these types of shifts in each age, and preventing innovation isn’t really an option anyway.

Staying Competitive

The fact is, automation has been proven to save companies resources, so eventually any company that wants to be competitive is going to invest in it. If a country wants to stay at the top of their respective field, they’ll invest in this convenient and cutting-edge technology. Automation will not only create new types of jobs and increase liquid revenue in the economy, it will also pave the way for even more advances in the future that will be the foundation of economies then.

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Creating a Foolproof Automation System for Your Business

In an age with increasing costs and additional demands, finding a way to automate some business processes using technology may be the key to solving problems. At Concept Systems, our engineers are problem solvers who use the latest in technology to create foolproof automation systems for businesses.

There are 2 primary reasons businesses choose to automate some or all of their processes whether those processes are related to production or fulfillment. First, manual processes are costly, and employee skills can be better allocated if the repetitive tasks are done by machinery. Already, engineers are hard at work designing robotic controllers that can grind and brew coffee to order and machines that can be used to eliminate weeds without the use of herbicides on corporate farms.

Second, automation increases production. Automating a manufacturing operation typically means increased production rates and labor productivity. In the simplest terms, business owners get more output per labor hour.

So how do Concept Systems engineers hammer out a robotic vision and controller for a specific industry or organization?

We start with a problem. When we kick-off a project, we spend time getting to know the full scope of a project and the necessary elements for success. The proposal to solving your problem will include the cost and a schedule. Fully understanding the problem and developing ideas for an automated solution or upgrade to your existing processes requires a bit of time as we determine what your system will do and how it will work. Our engineers work with key players in your company to draft on paper an elegant system including materials, electrical schematics and software.

For example, for a coffee roasting company, we upgraded a robot that was designed to unload pallets full of raw coffee beans and place the bags on a conveyor belt to send to the roaster. The robot’s vice grips, however, were a problem and often tore bags and spilled beans.

A Concept System team met with company stakeholders to design pneumatically-operated tines that eliminated tearing as well as a control system with 3D vision and advanced software to precisely position bags on the pallet.

Once a company approves a design, Concept Systems engineers get to work creating software and hardware to alleviate or solve the problem. This phase of development involves procuring materials, assembling the project, and testing.

During the final phase of development, engineers work closely with vendors at the factory or operation site to ensure proper installation of equipment and to train personnel to support and maintain the automated system.

Automation and robotics are the wave of the future. With specially engineered tools and resources, a team of engineers can create a foolproof automation system for your business and move your company into the future today. Contact us today to get started!

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Key Methods of Robotic Vision Technology

The idea of a machine being able to see, interpret, and respond to information based on visual input alone is not just science fiction. Robotic vision technologies have become an integral component to manufacturing, as well as packing and shipping, and continue to grow in other industries as well.

Appropriate lighting is the most significant factor in ensuring that these technologies are working properly, and we’ve compiled a few tips for creating the best lighting solutions for robotic vision systems that help ensure the safety and efficiency of your technology and your team.

Bright Lights

If you’re working with molds and are trying to identify missing material in the mold or product, a short shot can help you out. This is a short burst of bright light that quickly illuminates inconsistencies in a mold from above. This method requires the container of the target object to have a flat top surface; otherwise, what the robot sees would be distorted. Any coarse or rough textures on the top surface of the mold also make the images a little spotty.

Wavelength

On an assembly line for electronics, robotic vision is what helps machines detect if parts are oriented correctly as they pass on down the line so that they’re able to be put together properly. Different colors emit different wavelengths when reflecting light, and you can get equipment that reads the distinctions in wavelengths to quickly determine the variety of materials in your assembly line. This could be the difference between a part being put in with the correct orientation or not.

Nondiffused Light

When it comes to glass or other transparent products, especially when they’re blazing past employees on an assembly line, small cracks or fractures in the material can be difficult to detect with the naked eye. Nondiffused light provides an efficient solution, as it essentially shows up on these robotic vision screens as a bright accent in a very dark image—any brightness highlights the imperfection.

Diffuse Light

Your teacher in grade school may have challenged you to estimate how many marbles were in the prize jar, but manufacturing a jar with an exact amount of marbles inside requires far more precision and much less guesswork. Using diffuse light in robotic vision technology is essentially bathing the object in light from every direction to remove any shadow. The image created from this technique can be quickly assessed for missing volume content.

Vision technologies rely heavily on light to produce accurate images, so choosing the right lighting for your workcell is important. If you are considering integrating vision technology into your plant processes and aren’t sure where to start, send us an email at contact-us@conceptsystemsinc.com.

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What You Need to Know About Industrial Painting Robots

Many years ago, robots ceased being an element of science fiction and futuristic trends. In fact, robots have been in use for more than 50 years in industrial and production settings. Robots were once large and expensive, and performed tasks too big or heavy for human workers. Today, smaller, specialized robots work side-by-side with humans in the same workspace, and cost a fraction of what they once did.

One area where robotics technology has excelled is in the area of industrial painting. Through specialized operator programming, an industrial painting robot is able to flawlessly and consistently produce a high-quality paint finish. The technology is used not only in large scale operations such as car manufacturing plants, but also in smaller settings that require a higher level of intricate and flexible responses, such as multi-component production.

By adding robotic vision technologies, industrial painting robots are able to analyze and inspect an object, determine the location of edges, recognize patterns, evaluate size, and a variety of other tasks. Robot vision is a combination of software, sensors, algorithms, and cameras that connect with the robot system and the application to guide it through a specified process. With this rapidly growing technology, robots can now recognize components, determine what parts to pick up or put down, and what areas to paint on an object. We can also program painting robots for pinpoint accuracy and unique specifications—no more drips or overspray issues.

Robotic technologies are providing new options for businesses, small and large, to compete in the global marketplace. Here are some of the ways that painting robots are changing the industrial and manufacturing landscape:

More Work, Less Space

  • With the development of slimmer, dual-armed models which have the capability of reaching farther, robots can be installed in smaller locations, such as a wall, a shelf, or even on a rail. This allows painting robots to perform a multitude of tasks using less space.
  • Additionally, through the development of anti-collision software, several robots are able to work in close proximity to one another without incident, performing joint or specialized tasks, which increases productivity.

Increased Workplace Safety

  • Workplace safety is a constant concern for all types of businesses, but especially in an industrial or manufacturing environment. In the past, robots were caged and secured in order to protect the human workers as well as the other robotic devices around them. Today, humans are able to work in close proximity to robots, and while safety procedures are still required, there is no longer the need for the complicated safety protocols of the past. Programming determines specific space proximities and limitations to enhance safety.
  • Exposure to hazardous materials has long been an issue in industrial settings. The chemical compounds found in paint are known to cause adverse health effects in human workers. Through robotic alternatives, such as using industrial painting robots, that risk is minimized.
  • Less hazardous waste is created due to the improved consistency of paint application by painting robots.

The business atmosphere of today demands high-quality product output, increased profitability, and the ability to adjust technology to meet not only the needs of the company, but also market demand. For 17 years, Concept Systems has provided the latest technological and innovative solutions for our customers’ operations. For information on a customized solution for your manufacturing and production needs, contact us.

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Get actionable data as fresh as today’s news

I was gathering some recyclables up at home this weekend and I picked up a newspaper from May 14, 2016 – exactly one month old. Something compelled me to open it up and page through it: national election updates, stock market prices, sports updates, international events.

Everything in that paper was now outdated and surpassed by more recent events. It was completely useless for me today.

How many businesses run their operations using month old data? Compile a month’s worth of data (after waiting for two weeks to get it entered), review, reconcile, publish. By then you are looking at data which is up to 6 weeks old! It’s too late to fix any problems. How much money and productivity are lost and resources wasted because we are using outdated information to manage our companies? I call this “Management by Old Newspaper”.

We developed Wave7 to eliminate the old newspaper style of management. Wave7 monitors the health and performance of assets in real-time. You can monitor equipment performance up to the minute, evaluate and assess it, and adjust tomorrow’s plans as needed. And with our predictive analytics engine, you can take preventative action regarding an impending problem, as Wave7 will alert your team immediately so they can respond before the downtime event.

One of our customers has assets all over the world. Once in a while they would have a ‘situation’; a bad situation that would result in lost production. “What happened? Why did it happen? And why am I finding out 3 weeks later?”

Now, with Wave7 installed on each asset, the customer can monitor the assets in real time from his smartphone, wherever he is and wherever the assets are. Now, when a ‘situation’ happens he is notified immediately; Wave7 sends him a text message. Using our event-driven DVR feature, he can replay the event to see exactly what happened in the minutes leading up to, and right after, the event. Working with his team, they can quickly assess the situation and develop a recovery plan.

Wave7 Easy Actionable Data Wave7 makes condition monitoring easy. In a world of complicated historians, transaction managers and enterprise-wide solutions, we are the Easy Button. Start with one asset and grow from there, adding assets as it makes sense. There is zero infrastructure required, so the starting costs are low.

Contact Wave7 today to cover your assets, and ride the Wave!

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