Archives : Technology in Manufacturing

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    AI Creates more than it Costs

    Innovation in technology is something that we all use and look forward to using. We want to see the new things come along and make our lives better, of course. AI in manufacturing is one such innovation that we are looking forward to seeing and want to use to our advantage, but it is also an innovation about which we have grave concerns.
    Nearly every type of innovative change may be a double-edged sword.
    Inventions come along every day that change the way that we do business and the way that we manufacture. Innovations give us the means to perform tasks faster, better, more cheaply. This is known as displacement or the displacement effect.
    In China this kind of innovation has been a part of the changing landscape for more than half a century.

    Fifty years in the past, more than 75 percent of the workers were in agriculture. Along came time saving and energy saving innovations and today only about 25 percent of the people of China are employed in agriculture today.

    New technology and innovation freed them up for manufacturing and many other, safer pursuits. New methods can take away jobs, but conversely they can also create jobs for everyone. The jobs that they can create may be higher paying and safer jobs.

    From job security to national security, it’s no secret that one such innovation–AI or artificial intelligence –has caused some grave concerns in both industry and individual sectors, but it has also given new hope and new life to many job sectors.

    AI and the technologies that it engenders such as robotics, autonomous vehicles and drones have the power to boost our economy and to boost our business growth. They will add billions of dollars to our economy this year alone.

    Unfortunately,AI also has the power to negatively impact jobs. In July of 2018, PwC’s UK Economic Outlook confirmed that AI could and likely would displace jobs that are being done by humans—even over the course of the next five years.

    While AI has the power to replace humans, it will also create new jobs and bring better and more innovative products to the marketplace. The impact on the UK and the US will stay at about 20 percent and is projected to remain largely neutral .

    This means that there will be approximately as many jobs created as there are jobs lost. That holds true in the UK and probably the United States but the same is not true everywhere. Around the world, where many low skilled jobs and manual jobs are being done, these lower paying jobs may be undertaken by machines using AI.

    One example of this is China and it is not surprising that people are resistant to the use of AI when they are not well trained and will not –in their opinion—be able to find another job to support their families.
    The technologies associated with AI may well displace more than a quarter of all jobs that are currently being done in China. Between 26 and 27 percent of current jobs may be lost.

    Fortunately there is one more difference. AI will also create more jobs in China than it will in the rest of the world. In China, particularly in the service sector, the net job increase is expected to be around 29-31 percent. That amounts to about 97 million jobs being created by the advent of new AI technology.
    Whether or not the current labor force is able to be retrained to do these jobs remains to be seen, but there will be myriad new positions being created by the advent of AI technology and these will be higher paying and infinitely safer for the average worker.

    What’s your take? Can lower skilled workers without a lot of tech savvy be retrained to allow them to keep their jobs?

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  • IIoT-Industrial Internet of Things

    IIoT-What it Is and Does

    IIoT is a term that isn’t even remotely new but many people haven’t heard it. While IoT is a network of intelligent machines, devices and items that share data, IIoT takes it a step further.

    IoT shares data to a cloud base where it is then shared with end users in a way that makes it helpful This allows them to better their bottom line and speed the work. Industry 4.0 is changing all that we do in factories, making the process faster, cleaner and safer.

    Using IoT in manufacturing is called IIoT or to use another term for it. Industry 4.0. It is changing the way that factories work and that companies create goods. IIoT is making life easier by increasing the amount of automation that we use in schools in factories and in homes.

    Many companies have begun to leverage the power of IIoT by using connected and intelligent learning machines or devices in their factories and manufacturing methods.

    IIoT can vastly improve the efficiency, increase the time savings, improve scalability and connectivity of course and cut the costs of nearly every type of manufacturing in existence today. It does so by the use of predictive maintenance and improved safety in the plants as well as offering more efficient operations. The data that it provides offers us a more accurate view of what is happening and even what may happen in the future, preventing lost time due to down machine times.

    The major stumbling block seems to be the problems with security that IoT and IIoT have seen in the recent past. One of the largest breaches and DDos attacks in history came into play due to IoT connections. Technology writer Margaret Rouse observed recently, “A major concern surrounding the Industrial IoT is interoperability between devices and machines that use different protocols and have different architectures.”

    Companies are concerned, and rightly so, about their security and operational issues. With so many sensors and smart connected devices being used together there has been a massive explosion in vulnerabilities in security for most companies which use IIoT.

    With IIoT being one of the primary trends that are shaping the new industrial revolution, ensuring security is of paramount importance. How do you see our ability accomplish that improving. What will do the job for us?

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    IIoT – Who is using it? Part II

    IIoT. while not well known or understood, is one of the top applications being used in manufacturing and industry today. It’s found in nearly every industry in the world including these:

    Agriculture-to provide for connected farms that can do things such as even tell the farmer when the cow is coming into season.

    Aerospace, to be used in un-mapped vehicles in air such as drones and airplanes or to manage airports.

    Automotive, for connected or autonomous cars.

    Energy systems for things like renewable energy, smart homes, smart grids, and distributed energy resources.

    Healthcare systems such as connected healthcare, things like insulin pumps and medical imaging but also including the newest up and coming robotic surgeries.

    Manufacturing, connected factories that are offering data and safety information.

    Oil and gas exploration and connected refineries.

    Transportation and travel, where it is used by buses, hyper-loops, trains, subways, parking structures.

    Typical IIoT systems mean that you have to share the data and information between multiple different devices. This means that it must be available and used between multiple devices and across multiple networks. From the edge (sensors, remote devices and computers) to the cloud (centralized computer systems) the data must be able to flow everywhere.

    That’s a challenge not only due to the connections and the security but because of the vast array and the massive volume of the data. It can easily overwhelm a network, particularly one that encompasses very remote operations. “These interconnected systems require new ways to manage increased data volume, performance requirements, security risk and safety certifications.”

    What’s your take on autonomous parking, vehicles, logistics, supply and manufacturing?

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    IIoT – What Is It?

    Its been five plus years since the Industrial Internet of Things exploded into our world and the IIC was launched. A lot of water has passed under the bridge and a lot of issues have been discussed about the amazing new day of AI, intelligent machines, connected devices and what it can do for us, but all in all, what do most people really know about IIoT? Continue Reading…

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    Talent Spotting in 2018 and Beyond

    Claudio Fernández-Aráoz –a regulatory recruiter with more than 30 years of experience tells a story about looking for a CEO for a small company. While working with the outgoing  CEO he learned a great deal and believed that the man he had helped to hire had all the right stuff.

     

    He was a well thought of professional with the right schools and the right background. What’s more, he had worked for all the right companies. He’d scored remarkably well in every avenue. In spite of all of those things, he simply did not adjust well to the massive changes going on in regulatory and after three years of sub-par performance, he was asked to leave the company.

     

    Why did he do so poorly?  He lacked one thing that simply couldn’t be tested—the ability to adapt to new and changing situations. He did not have that ability and as such was unable to fulfill the role for which the company had hired him and for which they needed him so badly.

     

    The recruiters who have spent the most time tracking and finding the best executives in marketing, in regulatory and in food manufacturing agree on one thing—nothing is quite as important today as the potential and adaptability of the candidate. It is the harbinger of success at nearly every level, from the most junior executive to the C-suite and beyond.

     

    Learning how to identify that potential and use it to find the right person for the job is imperative to your success as a recruiter. It is a new era of talent spotting. Intelligence, experience and performance in the past are only a part of the equation.

     

    Potential is a fair amount of it but it’s also the part that may be the most difficult to ascertain and to discern than how competent they are. Not only is it hard to find but you’re looking for it in a marketplace that is the most difficult in the past ten years.

     

    Senior talent is scarcer than ever before due to the vast changes in the marketplace in the past few years. Due to globalization, to age demographics and to the companies who are not properly developing a pipeline of future company leaders, it is more difficult than ever before for companies to have the leadership they need when they need it.

     

    This problem is not confined to small companies or to large ones but seems to be universal. In 2014, Price Waterhouse did a survey of CEOs. The survey encompassed more than 65 countries and over 60 percent of those companies said that they were “concerned about the future availability of key skills at all levels.” In addition, The Boston Consulting Group cited research that showed that more than 56% of executives can see where they have critical problems in their ability to fill senior roles in the years ahead.

     

    That makes recognizing potential more important than ever before. How then, do you accomplish that?  What is the best way to recognize the potential for a given job and to take the new method of talent spotting into account when you evaluate candidates?

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    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times and Resourcing Manufacturing Jobs

    Improving Manufacturing Cycle Times

    Machining center manufacturers are all looking for and touting the ability to reduce part cycle times by offering faster and more efficient machines. That is what the job shop and part production customers of these products demand, because their end-product customers are driving a purchasing philosophy of lower costs per part.

    While the choice of a high-speed machining center makes a major difference in operational productivity and part cost, the tooling utilized on that machine can be another dominant factor. The efficiency of such new, special purpose proprietary tooling can even further enhance the output of a horizontal machining center. It can provide a wide degree of flexibility in compressing several machining processes, especially in parts production.

    As an example, there are a number of unique, special tools that can reduce the initial capital investment and drive out substantial process time in the machining of engine blocks. Cylinder bores can be finished and honed with a precise closed-loop boring system that automatically compensates for tool wear or thermal distortion and produces exceptional repeatability.

    You can also grind bimetallic surfaces utilizing a cubic boron nitrite super-abrasive grinding wheel all on a standard machining center.

    Machines incorporated with this special, multi-functional tooling will outperform a number of individual specialty-purpose machines when used in an integrated system. Mid- to high-volume parts manufacturers often invest in state-of-the-art machine tool technology, and can further enhance their flexibility and productivity with the use of such special-purpose tooling.

    With more and more demand to streamline processes and production cycle times, especially from original equipment manufacturer outsourcing operations, there is a growing need for more valuable and cost-effective solutions for jobs shops and production facilities. And, the solutions exist to allow them to “work smarter.” It is also important to note that the reason so many of the manufacturing jobs have been re-sourced to the US is that technologies like these have eliminated the price gap. It is now possible to manufacture in the United States what was once outsourced.

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    Part 7 B Intelligent Manufacturing: Manu-Services Part II

    Intelligent Manufacturing – Part 2: Manu-Services–Something New or Something You’ve Always Known?

    We’ve taken a hard look at every aspect of manufacturing, including the items that are part and parcel of modern manufacturing and how those services have changed. The new label, Manu-services, however is something with which many of us are not familiar. It’s a mysterious new concept, but it really shouldn’t be.

    In reality, Manu-Services is one of those new buzz words that is applied to something ages old in order to make it all seem new and much more mystery-filled than it was.

    What are Manu-services? Is this all something new that you’re going to have to study and work at to apply it to your company? The answer to that is “not at all.” You’ve probably been offering Manu-Services since time out of time if you were a smaller and more budget conscious company.
    Manu-Services is a new name for the services that the smaller business offered with products or services every day.
    What are Manu-services? The answer is, anything that really combines the manufacturing process and the services that support it. Some Manu-Services involve the design and planning or even the project oversight in a given process.

    Some of the Manu-Services might be after care, such as warranty considerations. Your version of Manu-Services might concern packaging or warranties or even proactive calling to ensure that your customers know how to use their products and are using them safely or effectively.
    What makes the biggest impression, what is the most important aspect of the Manu-Services is not the services that you offer, but the way in which they will benefit those who are using your services and products–your customer.
    In some cases, Manu-Services is nothing new at all. The nomenclature is changed. For other companies, Manu-Services is not only a new market, it’s a whole new model for the way in which they will do business.

    Companies today don’t sell just goods. They sell entire packages. They provide the advertising, the interaction, the packaging, the aftercare and the interaction with their customers. They build a relationship with the customers and sometimes that relationship lasts generations.

    Is Manu-Services something new and different or is it something that we’ve gotten away from and are migrating back to in a more modern and more diverse way?
    Manu-Services seem to, at least according to the experts, have replaced manufacturing. In some cases, companies who began as larger groups very specialized and offering only a product and not the services that go along with it will find themselves having to implement an entirely new group of employees and to implement an entirely new and perhaps a very foreign business model. In this instance, smaller companies, who have done this all along, forced to do so by budget constraints, may, at least for a time, be playing on a more level field due to their experience and expertise in Manu-Services.
    It’s a movement toward an older way of doing things as much as it is a movement forward in some cases. The small businesses at one time did their own marketing, their own selling and their own packaging. They also handled the disgruntled customer and they dealt with the causative agents of their distress. They had no choice, lacking the funding in many cases to do it any other way. It is for this reason that they may be less prone to the damages that the Manu-Services model can cause in larger companies.
    The larger companies may have a much more difficult time switching to this type of a business model and in fact, finding the experienced personnel who can help them to accomplish the switch. This new set of issues may actually cause real issues in the economy as well as to the businesses.
    The single biggest problem that exists with the Manu-Services model seems to be that those companies who are not accustomed to the business model and who are inexperienced in the Manu-Services aspects seem to be the companies which are most likely to end up going out of business. Oddly, these seem to be the larger companies, not the smaller ones.

    Where government as a whole may be able to help and to make inroads into the changes is by offering supportive policies that will make it easier and more cost effective for larger companies–which are the most vulnerable in this instance– to make the changes necessary to move into a Manu-Services type of atmosphere in their own company.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    Intelligent Manufacturing, Part 3: The Factories of the Future

    The Factories of the Future-Already Operational and Making a Difference

    The factory of the future appears to be making its way into the here and now. Just as Captain Kirk and the trusty team of the Enterprise had their own method of recording and analyzing all of the data that was available to them, the factory floor of today has the same capabilities and they are growing by leaps and bounds.

    The Factory floor of an intelligent manufacturing factory may look a good deal different than what many of us are accustomed to seeing. Personnel moving here and there, machine noise, shouts for assistance on a given machine may all be factors that are missing in the near future. The shop floor of yesterday, replete with dozens of personnel necessary to operate the machinery required may be gone in the very near future, replaced by just one or two people who are carrying a tablet computer or a small hand held device that can offer them all that they need to know about what’s happening on the factory floor.

    Software today assists many more modern factories to cut the need for more than half the personnel, making the factory able to be run more efficiently, manufacture better products and provide for a far lower space than is currently necessary to accommodate many human workers.

    The tablet or pad computing systems today can provide for a full representation of every machine and every process and product taking shape on the factory floor. The different areas on the tablet can help to you to efficiently and immediately determine if the factory is humming along as scheduled and allow you to review alarms that may be warning you of imminent problems or machines not functioning to capacity. It may even tell you how to correct those problems, lowering your need for troubleshooting in the factory to get it back to peak efficiency operations. With one or two taps of the screen you can lower the speed of a machine, evaluate the estimated time to completion of a given process and even halt the process if necessary to correct a problem in the machinery.

    You can determine down time, temperatures, pressure and many other aspects of the operating machinery without being anywhere near the area in which they are located.

    In short, the factory floor of the future is something directly out of a Star Trek movie and it’s closer to being reality than you might think. Imagine being able to control it all from where you stand in your office, to protect people and products from injury and from unnecessary labor, all while cutting costs and providing a better product due to machine diagnosing machine. Imagine operating machinery more rapidly, more precisely and more cheaply than you can today.

    The factory floor that you’ve just seen in your mind is the factory floor that is rapidly approaching, thanks to intelligent manufacturing and new software designs that let us do more with less effort and less money.
    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    Intelligent Manufacturing, Part 2

    Intelligent Manufacturing: Machine to Machine (M2M) Communication

    The manufacturing industry has been changing dramatically over just the past few years. Advancements in technology have been rampant and the newest machines being built require absolute precision. The only way that we can get that today is by the use of intelligent manufacturing.

    Absolute accuracy and efficiency are required by many of today’s factories. The existence of the automotive industry as an example is dependent on their ability to provide for safety and accuracy in their automotive manufacturing and building. Who is, after all, going to buy an automobile that isn’t guaranteed to be safe and well built? The electrical systems and many other components need to be–in some cases– a level of perfection that cannot always be achieved by human hands. Enter the use of intelligent manufacturing & Machine to Machine (M2M) communication.

    One great example of intelligent machines in current use is the Machine to Machine communication platform used by CNC machinery that is used today to create high end machines & products for use in the aerospace, power generation & automotive industries. Another would be the automotive and the programmable logic controller manufacture. These intelligent machines in use today can not only manufacture more cheaply, but they can manufacture machinery in a far smaller space and can save money by telling you when or if the machine is liable to breakage or is having some problems that could lead to down time. Applications and software being used in the factories today can offer dramatic savings in time, in money and in headaches.

    Companies in this economic climate are under increased pressure to have their machinery running to capacity yet to provide for and produce increased number of nearly perfect goods. Due to that pressure

    the machinery that is running is usually running at peak capacity and as such can be prone to breakdown.

    Mechanical breakdown can cost a company plenty. Not just in the financial losses that take place when the company is experiencing down time, but also from lost contracts or orders due to that down time.

    The challenge then is to ensure that there is a nominal amount of down time and minimal breakage. Today a wide range of applications are being used in manufacturing that can help to lower stoppage or breakage as well as to provide nearly personalized information sent to the operator to assist them in diagnosing the issues that may be taking place. The machines are being diagnosed by other machines or applications that can help to keep them operational and to warn the operations manager when there is a problem and prevent the breakdowns by suggesting fixes before the breakage or down time even takes place.

    Machine to Machine (M2M) provides for the means for machines to operate at peak capacity.

    Today, companies who have embraced this type of manufacturing include the CNC industries, Ford Motor Company and multiple other automotive manufacturers and, surprisingly the oil and gas industry. The refineries for a wide range of different oil and gas companies have embraced intelligent manufacturing wholeheartedly.

    Machine to Machine (M2M) has given the oil and gas industry the ability to improve their planning, their overall operations and improved the maintenance taking place in refineries today preventing a wide range of problems such as mechanical failure that might have led to spillage and other issues, saving both the companies and the public as a whole from the problems to which refinery errors can lead.

    Machine to Machine (M2M) communication is not just limited to manufacturing but also the power generation and smart grid energy sectors. In this report the Carbon War Room goes into great detail on the 1 trillion dollar market that M2M technology will provide not only to manufacturing but transportation, energy and even agriculture. The report is detailed and interesting: Machine to Machine technology

    The wave of the future, the way in which to arrive at precision, cost effective manufacturing is intelligent technology and it is transforming a wide range of businesses and industries now. Some of it is even diagnosing problems and telling the machinist or machine operator how to correct the fault to prevent the down time or to prevent disasters from taking place. Intelligent manufacturing may be a key player in the not too distant future in preventing oil refinery fires, oil spills and preventing environmental problems from taking place.

    James Kemper is the president of W. H. Meanor & Associates, an executive placement & training company specializing in engineering & manufacturing careers. He can be reached at: jms@whmeanor.com or 704-372-7640 #102 or visit at www.whmeanor.com

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    The Internet of Things in 50 Years

    It used to be that the only electronics that were networked together and able to communicate were computers – and they only were able to connect with each other over a wired connection. But now, not only do we have wireless internet everywhere, we also have the Internet of Things – the network of devices that make up our world, sharing information, gathering data and learning from us so that they can serve us better. But what will this network look like in 50 years?

    Where exactly is the Internet of Things going?

    The Internet in 50 Years

    In 50 years, some experts think that the internet itself is going to be completely different than what we are used to. In the future, there will be internet much farther advanced than our current technology and it will literally be everywhere. Rather than finding “hotspots” with internet, people will very likely have a unique login of some kind that is the same across all of their devices to access the wide array of internet spanning the globe. You’ll probably have to pay every month for access, but maybe not. After all, you can find Wi-Fi that is free to use in my places even right now.

    The Communication in 50 Years

    Most people don’t have any idea just how fast the internet will be in 50 years. Right now, data centers or “nodes” that provide internet service communicate with each other at lightning speeds at least 10 times faster than the average home download speed. That will change. In 50 years, we’ll be connecting to each other at speeds that will probably be 100X faster than what currently passes for internet speed at these data centers, and rather than having home internet and Wi-Fi speeds that are optimized for download, both the upload and the download will be mega-fast. Fast enough that you could stream or upload a huge HD movie in seconds.

    The Network of “Things” in 50 Years

    Finally, the Internet of Things will literally be everywhere. From the clothing that we wear to the appliances, electronics and furniture in our homes, everything will be connected to the internet, gathering data, learning how to improve and sharing information with each other. When you sit down on your couch, your entertainment system will come on. When you get sick or injured, your clothing will not only have your medical information – they will also be able to call 911. Everything will be networked and it truly will be an Internet of Things.

    If you’re looking for the right manufacturing team, you have to start with the right recruiting team. Let WH Meanor put our experience to work for you. Register now for a free ten minute assessment of your search efforts by clicking the link https://whmeanorassociates.as.me/ WH Meanor can help. Call today.

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