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Tag Archives | Automation

Automation or automatic control, is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft and other applications with minimal or reduced human intervention.

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!

Collision Avoidance Moves into More Dynamic Automation Environments

Manufacturing environments are busy places with multiple machines, bustling workers and numerous machine-human interactions. Avoiding collisions between robots and humans is a high priority. Some solutions require a multilayered approach, integrating a variety of technologies, to create a reliable system. As more manufacturers add robots, there’s an increased interest in ensuring they work safely with each other and with humans.

Manufacturers that deploy robotic painters, such as the one shown here, can use a multilayered approach that integrates a variety of technologies to create a system that reliably reduces the risks of collisions. Courtesy of FANUC.

Manufacturers that deploy robotic painters, such as the one shown here, can use a multilayered approach that integrates a variety of technologies to create a system that reliably reduces the risks of collisions. Courtesy of FANUC.

Leveraging techniques from stacker cranes
Companies that increase their use of robotic automation can learn from collision avoidance techniques used with cranes, which received early attention because a collision with equipment in the work environment or the component itself was unacceptable. This posed a serious safety hazard that could cost thousands of dollars in lost production time and rework or scrap. By using 3D vision and industrial computers, collisions are now largely avoidable.
As technologies advance, dramatic system improvements are possible. That was the case with Boeing, which found its floor-based registration system for painting planes no longer provided the accuracy it needed. As a long-time partner to Boeing, Concept Systems Inc. stepped in to assist the aircraft manufacturer in addressing this issue by deploying a new collision avoidance system.

A key component of the new system adopted by Boeing in one of its paint hangers was the proximity query package (PQP), which can detect imminent collisions between two computer-generated objects. Information about the exact size and shape of the plane is exported from Boeing’s design software and then rendered as a 3D graphic in OpenGL, a widely accepted open graphics standard. It similarly renders the stacker platforms for validation and troubleshooting the system. Continue Reading →

Reflection Can Reveal Best Practices

SamJerry
This is an exciting time to be in the automation business, as there are tremendous opportunities to integrate technologies and revolutionize the production of goods. Reflecting on your processes can help make the most of them.

As the year comes to a close, it’s not uncommon to reflect over the past year. We recently had an opportunity to do just that, but in a very thorough way, by completing an application for a national award. The process was both inspirational and educational. I found myself reflecting on how we do business and realized that we are using many best practices that I want to share with you.

Hire the best and brightest.
We have an exceptionally smart team that thrives on learning new technologies and jumps at the chance to do work other companies either can’t or won’t do. We encourage employees to provide suggestions and feedback, especially if it would enhance or encourage continuous improvement. We challenge our engineers to stay on top of emerging technologies and to work with different industries.
Continue Reading →

Concept Systems named Rockwell Automation Machinery Safety Solution Partner

Microsoft Word - Unofficial Safety Logo[1].docxAlbany, Ore. (Nov. 30, 2015) – Concept Systems, a Rockwell Automation Solution Partner company specializing in manufacturing automation, vision and robotic solutions, and machinery safety, announced that it has demonstrated the requisite expertise and experience to become a Rockwell Automation Machinery Safety Solution Partner. This designation is reserved for an elite group of systems integrators that pass a thorough assessment of their safety application expertise, experience and capabilities, and show a long-term commitment to maintaining excellence in machinery safety applications. All Solution Partners, as part of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork program, have committed to an active, extensive relationship with Rockwell Automation to provide the most productive and cost-effective automation solutions for their customers.

“We are very happy to add Concept Systems as a Machinery Safety Solution Partner,” said Mark Eitzman, manager of safety market development at Rockwell Automation. “The company’s technical expertise and experience has shown that they are capable of delivering systems that improve both safety and productivity, making them a good fit in our program.” Continue Reading →

Transforming Mid-Sized Manufacturing Companies

How four automation technologies, with lower price points today, can dramatically change your manufacturing game.

From a birds-eye view of the industry, automation seems so pervasive. Yet even today, a surprisingly high number of companies still haven’t made the investment to streamline their production lines with modern automation technologies. This is especially true of mid-sized companies who have been waiting for hardware prices to decline. Many of these companies are now seeing their competitors implement automation solutions and gaining a significant advantage in the marketplace.

If this scenario sounds like your company, here are four applications to seriously consider that can springboard you to the front of the pack in 2016.

Vision Systems. Advanced laser scanning and other vision technologies, such as thermal imaging, near IR, and millimeter wave cameras, offer clear advantages because of their ability to see the environment beyond what the capabilities of the human eye and make real time decisions. Coupling this technology with robotics provides the ultimate in manufacturing flexibility, reliability, and efficiency and represents the current vanguard in manufacturing automation. Continue Reading →

Our mission statement guides our automation solutions

I was talking to a friend the other day, and the topic of mission statements came up. “What’s your mission statement?” he blurted out, expecting to catch me off guard and stumble over my own company’s mission. Well, I didn’t stumble, reciting it right back to him. He was impressed, and admitted that he didn’t know his own company’s mission statement.

I don’t expect our team to recite our company’s mission statement from memory. What I do expect, however, is that we live the spirit of our mission statement as we develop and implement automation solutions. Everything we want to be for our customers is captured in that one sentence.

When we put our mission statement together a few years ago, we purposely chose every word we used. We were not trying to redefine ourselves; rather, we were trying to capture – simply and clearly – who we are.

The Concept Systems mission statement:

Team with our customers to achieve manufacturing excellence by delivering the right automation solutions. Continue Reading →