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Vision-Aided Vibratory Feeder

Industry 4.0 or “i4.0” is the next wave of manufacturing, often referred to as ‘smart factories’. i4.0 includes automation and data exchange in manufacturing processes, cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing. According to a recent KPMG report on i4.0 “Gartner believes that the Internet of Things (IoT) market will be worth almost US$3.7 trillion by 2020. Morgan Stanley’s research suggests that the cyber security market (a key prerequisite of i4.0) will be worth around US$183 billion by then. And IDC thinks that the virtual and augmented reality market will be worth US$162 billion. All told, current analyst estimates for the component markets of i4.0 amount to more than US$4.4 trillion by 2020. A massive market, indeed. But, as i4.0 achieves enterprise scale, it will remain to be seen whether business leaders are willing to invest such large sums.”

The race towards i4.0 will not likely be won by companies with the deepest pockets but rather, by those who understand how to use a strategic approach that will create the most value. The key is understanding how i4.0 can be used to simplify process, improve productivity, and reduce time-to-market for products and services. As you begin thinking about integrating technology into your operation, consider that many of your key processes may live only in the heads of your employees. Begin by documenting all processes on your factory floor. This documentation will help you determine where standardization could be improved or new technologies could be integrated. It is especially important to get feedback from your employees as they are the people most familiar with bottlenecks or other production issues that might be effectively addressed with i4.0 technologies.

i4.0 will focus on integrated systems that will be able to track product digitally from order through manufacture and delivery. Customized automation equipment enables manufacturers to produce multiple products using the same equipment which is more efficient and lowers costs. One of the biggest myths surrounding i4.0 is the idea that existing equipment is not capable of communicating with new technologies or that existing legacy or older equipment must be replaced. This is mostly not true – retrofitting equipment to include communication or data collection processes is easier and faster than ever and can begin producing results immediately. For example, adding sensors to monitor the health of your equipment and processes provides both immediate and long-term ROI.

Here are a few steps you can take now to move your manufacturing process towards Industry 4.0:

  • Review your future market strategy
  • Establish milestones for moving towards i4.0
  • Get buy-in from your entire organization around the need to move to a ‘smart factory’
  • Plan for addressing any ‘skills gaps’ in your workforce
  • Evolve your IT infrastructure

Industry 4.0 is no longer ‘the future’ – it is here and now and only companies with a well-planned and executed strategy to move towards it will survive. What is your organization doing to get ready?

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Rising Demand for Vision-Aided Feeding

Photoelectric sensors are used to detect the size, shape, color, distance, orientation or absence/presence of a the part moving through the assembly process. These sensors use a light transmitter to provide a signal to the sensor receiver which is programmed to take an action based on the result. Sensors are a highly reliable method of […]

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Vision Systems in Food Production Automation

Interesting article on the use of vision systems in food production. “Industrial robots can quickly and easily pick and place food items without risk of introducing bacteria and at a rate far faster and with greater endurance than a human worker. Advanced vision systems even have the capacity to detect both external and internal defects […]

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Belt Conveyors: The Workhorse of Automation

Belt conveyor systems play an important role by minimizing the production cycle time in automated processes. The conveyor systems market is undergoing radical change due to factors such as industrial expansion, modernization and technological advancement. Belt and roller conveyor systems continue to generate significant demand but with requirements for ever-higher efficiency, we are seeing more […]

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Big Changes Afoot In Food Packaging Automation

There are significant changes coming to the way consumers purchase and consume food over the next 15 years – and packaging automation will have to change rapidly to meet these new demands. Changes in consumer preferences include: On-the-go eating has consumers looking for portion control and convenience in bite-size, flavorful foods. Evening and relaxation foods […]

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Automotive Parts Manufacturing Helps Drive the Economy

Motor vehicle parts manufacturing jobs have grown nearly 19% by 2012, generating 2.4% of the GDP or around $435 billion dollars. Together with indirect and employment-induced jobs, the total employment impact of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry is 4.26 million jobs, an increase of nearly 18 percent from 3.26 million in 2012. Automotive parts […]

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What is ‘Smart Manufacturing’?

Our country is known for its culture of innovation. We are a country of innovators. Innovation in the manufacturing sector has given us a competitive edge in the global economy with revolutionary new products invented and made here. In the last few decades exciting new digital technologies have emerged that can connect devices and networks […]

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Trends and Outlook in Industrial Packaging Market

The market for industrial packaging is projected to grow from $54 billion in 2016 to reach 93 billion by 2026. The market for industrial packaging is growing due to trends in end-use industries. The growth in this market is driven by the increase in chemical industry output combined with the increasing healthcare needs of drugs […]

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3 Key Trends in Industrial Automation

The growing demand for smart factories is also expected to boost the industrial automation market over the next few years. Modern industrial automation control systems is a key emerging trend in this market. High capital expenditure is the primary growth driver for this market. The rise in capital expenditure in industries such as oil and […]

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US Manufacturing Growing At Fastest Rate in Two Years

The US manufacturing sector is growing at the fastest rate it has in more than two years, according to calculations produced by the Institute for Supply Management and published in Forbes, among other media. The Manufacturing ISM Report on Business figures show December was the best month for manufacturers in 2016. More components and parts […]

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