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Improving Your Manufacturing Process With A Main Automation Contractor

Manufacturers want to improve their manufacturing process, but they’re not sure where to start. Plus, they want to minimize problems at start up and get the best return on their investment.

Typically, a company will design a process, put specs together and send out RFPs. Controls is just one item on the list. Actually, focusing on controls from the beginning can save time and add value. Integrating controls from day one ensures an automation process that gets a plant up and running faster. This best practice puts a plant in full production sooner than with the traditional approach.

Manufacturers can tap into control integration expertise by using a main automation contractor, often referred to as a MAC, who takes the lead by integrating all aspects of their project, resulting in a smoother and faster start-up. In fact, our customers have shared that for every dollar they invest in this model, they saved $10 on the backend because the plant started up properly the first time.

Three factors are key to achieving these results: engaging a lead integrator early, following a well-structured methodology and tapping into deep technical resources. Together, they create alignment and ensure the plant achieves its integration goals. How does this happen? It starts with identifying and engaging all stakeholders early in the process. Sounds simple, but it takes a MAC team that knows how to work side-by-side with owners, process engineers and operators, while taking a systemic approach and collaborating with equipment suppliers.

By following a proven project methodology, all elements will be considered and addressed. The process should have three main components:

  • Getting started: Scope, project kick-off, and functional and detail design
  • Building and testing: Acceptance planning, system development, procurement & assembly, panel quality control, factory acceptance testing, and shipment
  • Final acceptance: Integration, installation, and training

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How Safety Technology Can Increase Productivity

Elimination of physical barriers to production equipment is key to improving productivity. To get started, however, you must begin with a safety assessment.

valuesIn my last several blogs, I wrote about the importance of developing an Automation Roadmap and how to create one for yourself. I am wrapping up the sequence with two topics that often fall off the radar during planning—your network infrastructure and safety. In my last blog, I went into detail about the network side of things. This blog addresses the importance of considering safety at the planning stage.

Manufacturing processes and operational intelligence have benefitted from the rapid advance of technology. Safety has, too. Historically, the most common way to safeguard workers in and around manufacturing equipment was to provide physical barriers between workers and operating equipment. While this type of safety system both provides for safe operation and maintenance as well as meets the appropriate codes, it limits productivity. Continue Reading →

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Concept Systems receives MECOP 10-year Sponsor Award

Ed Diehl, President and co-Founder of Concept Systems; Gary Petersen, MECOP Executive Director; Jamie Diehl, former VP of HR & Recruiting at Concept Systems and instrumental in forming our partnership with MECOP.

Ed Diehl, President and co-Founder of Concept Systems; Gary Petersen, MECOP Executive Director; Jamie Diehl, former VP of HR & Recruiting at Concept Systems and instrumental in forming our partnership with MECOP.

In Oregon, the Multiple-Engineering Cooperative offers students real-life experiences in an engineering environment before graduation. At the recent 38th Annual MECOP banquet, Concept Systems accepted the 10-year Sponsor Award.

MECOP is a cooperative between Oregon universities (Oregon State University, Portland State University, Oregon Tech and The University of Portland) and industry and provides the students work internships while they are finishing up their degrees.

Unique among cooperative programs, MECOP and the Civil Engineering Cooperative Program demonstrate the power of an effective business/education partnership. Member companies voluntarily assess themselves to support the programs that create opportunities for interaction between industry, the university and its students. Universities often adjust their curriculum based on recommendations made by the industry partners, which contributes to continual improvement. Continue Reading →

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Automation Roadmap: Assessing Your Network Architecture

To facilitate efficient and cost-effective process improvement, your network architecture needs to be thoughtfully planned out, not just patched together.

By now, you know you want to create an automation roadmap that aligns with corporate goals, which typically center on production, efficiency or quality gains. In my last couple of blogs (accessible here and here), I provided a structured approach to developing your automation roadmap, which generates a nice list of projects, in order of priority, accompanied by budget and timeline considerations. But before you make your way to the corporate offices to garner budget approval, there are a couple of additional considerations that will add the finishing touches to your automation roadmap: network architecture and safety. In this post I’ll address network architecture; next month I will address safety. Continue Reading →

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Concept Systems earns FANUC recognition

from left to right: Mick Estes General Manager, Authorized System Integrator Group Sales, Marketing, and CERT Sales & Execution for FANUC; Mike Walling, Senior Engineer; Patrick Cross, Senior Engineer; Lou Finazzo, Director of Sales – Authorized System Integrator Group; Jack Gourley, Regional Engineering Manager.

from left to right:
Mick Estes General Manager, Authorized System Integrator Group Sales, Marketing, and CERT Sales & Execution for FANUC; Mike Walling, Senior Engineer; Patrick Cross, Senior Engineer; Lou Finazzo, Director of Sales – Authorized System Integrator Group; Jack Gourley, Regional Engineering Manager.

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
May 14, 2015

Albany, Ore. – Concept Systems Inc. was recently honored with two awards at FANUC America’s 16th Annual Authorized System Integrator Conference, in Orlando, Fla.

Concept Systems received an Outstanding Sales Growth award for increasing robot sales compared to the previous year and a Sales Leadership award for reaching an exemplary level of sales.

“We value our collaboration and partnership with FANUC,” said Michael Lindley, VP Sales and Marketing. “FANUC is a leader in the robotics industry, allowing Concept multiple options to address the manufacturing challenges that our clients face. Concept combines the power of the FANUC robotic platform with vision solutions to improve worker safety, increase productivity and manufacturing quality while providing a healthy ROI. We work with our clients and identify the best solution for each situation.” Continue Reading →

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Got vision?

camera lensToday’s vision technology can address so many challenges – from sorting variable sized boxes on automated packaging lines to inspecting 100 percent of product at various stages in the manufacturing process.

An early Concept vision project was a rivet inspection system, and we’ve moved onto more complex systems, including pulling full sized unmanned ships out of the ocean. That project administrator indicated that we had won the competition simply because our system was the only one that worked. We also develop vision tools to meet unique challenges.

Our Vision/Robotics team thrives on learning new things and enjoys taking on projects that require unique solutions. Here are some insights from our team:

Improve picking and assemblies
Daniel Sidlauskas Miller, Senior Engineer, Oregon

We’re seeing more companies use 3D vision coupled with robots for complex picking and assemblies and quality control applications. A well set up vision system can take a large number of complex, non contact measurements and evaluate them with more focus than a person ever could.

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