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    Featured Articles, Analysis, Reviews, Interviews & Views     
    Automation, Embeded, CNC , Industrial, OPC, Industrial IT... Articles >>   
    Automated Guided Vehicles' Traffic Control Software Advances Value Proposition of Mobile Robots
    Rob Sullivan AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles) systems in some ways follow the evolution of America's transportation system. Railroads represented the first 'automated' transportation for material; people and products. These systems were constrained to run on pre-defined routes with specific schedules. Changing routes, or adding destinations, was a monumental undertaking. The system evolved with the introduction of the interurban rail system (e.g., trolley systems). Routes and destinations were fixed yet easier to change, but scheduling remained inflexible from an individual's perspective. Automobiles were the ultimate solution. Individuals could now control the destination, route, and schedule to meet their demands. This flexibility came with the hidden expense of traffic congestion and lost throughput.
    New Automation Architecture Drives Changes in the Voice Picking Landscape
    Robert P. Bova Server-based voice picking companies have been promoting custom, proprietary systems as superior to existing workflows and businesses processes. Embedded in these claims is a bit of arrogance about what is best for businesses claiming they are the experts of voice picking. While there have been successes utilizing well-known server-based voice-embedded, with big names like Vocollect, many companies have been burned, leaving a sour taste for voice-picking. The promises of integrated software modules integrating to Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) has given way to costly upgrade charges every so many years.
    Cloud-based MES, ETO, and Job Element Monitoring
    Randy Blaylock A Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is a system that manufacturers can use to measure and control critical production activities. Some of the benefits of MES solutions are increased traceability, productivity, and quality. Other functions served by MES solutions may include equipment tracking, product genealogy, labor tracking, inventory management, costing, electronic signature capture, defect and resolution monitoring, key performance indicator (KPI) monitoring and alarming, executive dashboards, and other various reporting solutions.
    Lean and Technology: the Rapid Growth of the Demand Driven Institute
    Chad Smith and Carol Ptak   Lean advocates often get accused of being anti-technology, but do Lean advocates really want manufacturing companies to abandon the promise of technology? The answer should be yes when that technology is wasteful, confusing, and not reflective of reality, whit it force-fits concepts so as to simply permit their use. Unfortunately, this has been the situation for quite some time with regard to traditional MRP and DRP (distribution requirements planning) systems.
    The Problem: Untapping the Value in Extended Enterprise Value Chains
    The Solution: Demand Driven Enterprise-wide Supply Chain Solutions
    Frank Kapper Over the past decade there has been a great need for better technology solutions to address global demand-driven and enterprise-wide supply chains. While lean manufacturing initiatives have instigated certain processes, such as Kanban, the reality for global manufacturers is simple: ERP (enterprise resource planning) solutions (from NetSuite to Oracle to SAP and others) have failed to deliver the promises needed. ERP is a critical and important aspect of any manufacturing firm; it is not a panacea. Over the next few months we are going to explore some of the reasons why ERP-based supplier portal solutions struggle to provide the tools required by manufacturers to visualize, collaborate, execute and manage extended enterprise value chains.
    Automation Transforms the Omni-channel while Minimizing the Total Supply Chain Costs
    Vikrant Angia VCO Systems launched a suite of innovative, cloud-enabled light systems for the ecommerce and retail verticals aimed at increasing productivity, and managing seasonal capacity surges that have become a significant challenge for most online retailers. Too many in the picking product space fail to understand the complexities of the fast-changing omni-channel experience and associated total supply chain costs.
    Industry 5.0 Driven by Chief Robotics Officer
    Matt Rendall explains how things have changed in the last 10 years - while manufacturers have focused on continuous improvement within their space, the technology sector has also been making leaps and bounds in innovation, with new capabilities spanning cloud computing, big data, and mobile computing.
    Near Full Employment is Driving Automation Even Among Smallest Manufacturers
    John Hayes explains how rebounded US job growth is translating into driving automation even among smallest manufacturers. Respecting the value of the small manufacturer is obvious yet most in the automation arena have ignored, even dismissing the value of these small manufacturers, each of whom can derive the same benefits from full automation. Fully automated operations have a long way to go.
    Much Higher Labor Rates Driving Automated Conveyor Solutions
    John Murdoch explains that with near full employment in North America the costs of labor in a distribution center is quickly approaching $18 per hour, nearly double from the 2010 rate. At lower wages, it was more difficult to cost-justify the automation expense. Now with much higher labor rates ....
    Future Trends in Control and Process Automation in the MET Industry
    Anup Varghese reveals that The Media, Entertainment and Telecom (MET) industry utilises control and process automation equipment and services mainly at amusement parks and theme parks. Control automation equipment such as motion and ride control systems, emergency shutdown systems, show/audio controls and continuous regulatory control are used in roller coasters, motion theatres, snow worlds etc.
    Top 5 Reasons Why ERP Implementations Fail
    Jason Rourke reveals when listening to fears and concerns about ERP solutions, implementation is usually on the top of most lists. Yes, it can be daunting, but it is the cornerstone of the overall project. So why do implementations fail? Below is our countdown of the most common ERP implementation errors and how to avoid them.
    Smart On-Demand Integration
    Faheem Ismat reveals on-demand integration means automating business processes by linking enterprise programs, which have operated independently in the past, to provide comprehensive services to the business by increasing productivity and at the same time decreasing operational cost. Despite the trend toward acquiring application portfolios from a single supplier or from a limited number of suppliers, few organizations are able to have all of their application portfolio requirements using a single source. Heterogeneous IT portfolios are norm and will stay like that.
    Catching the Process Fieldbus : An Interview with James Powell
    James Powell talks about how the world of industrial commutations appears as a multilayered, multidimensional, occasionally confusing mixture of fieldbuses, software packages, and media. He shows in his book "Catching the Process Fieldbus" that when industrial communications is understood and then installed with forethought and care, network operations are both beneficial and painless.
    OPC UA: An End-User's Perspective
    Randy Kondor reveals OPC UA (Unified Architecture) represents the OPC Foundation’s most recent set of specifications for Process Control and Automation system interconnectivity. This paper explains OPC UA from the perspective of the organization that will benefit from the connectivity, in other words: the End User. The first form of OPC relied on DCOM for its data transportation, which was very powerful and versatile, but

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    Connections for Growth & Success     
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    Manufacturing Insights     
    Lean Manufacturing Finally Arrives at the Sales Process
    There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the opportunity for higher manufacturing margins exists in the ETO (engineer-to-order) space; the bad news is that poor job quoting processes often consume that competitive advantage, even generating an unprofitable manufacturing project. [Read More]
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    The customers are training the manufacturing sector with the mantra, make what I want, when I want it or I will take my business elsewhere. This insistence for a one-of-a-kind (or far from "off-the-shelf") solution requires that new products be brought to market faster than ever. .... [Read More]

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