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Archive for January, 2016

Robotics in Logistics & Distribution

Monday, January 18, 2016
posted by IMT-Webmaster

robotics-in-logistics-webIncreased speed, accuracy and efficiency, while lowering costs from the producer to the end user, are the goals of every supply chain manager. Today computer-driven robots are being integrated into each segment of manufacturing, distribution and logistics. Machines programmed for specific functions can accomplish tasks quicker, safer and with fewer errors than humans can. In complex distribution and warehousing, particularly when millions of fast moving products and parts are involved, technology & manufacturing robotic innovations are critical to competitiveness and profitability.

As yet, not everything can be handled by machines. Judgement calls, analysis and decision-making remain within the domain of human capability. Customer and supplier interaction, inventory decisions and even communications with and programming of these robotic devices require human interface. By using robots to perform repetitive mind-numbing tasks, skilled employees can be advanced to perform more complex and interesting roles.

Robotics in Warehousing

Optimizing space and minimizing retrieval speed are critical objectives. In the past, inefficient space management has led to building expansions or even relocations that are not warranted. Picture the wide aisles of conventional warehouses required to allow bulky human-driven forklifts to maneuver while storing and picking. Consider the maximum height of racking for conventional equipment to safely place and retrieve pallets or other packing units.

With robotic shelving, rail systems, code readers and picking systems, cases and pallets can be placed randomly in any slot and easily retrieved as needed without human assistance. No longer are like products required to be grouped in order that humans may locate them in easy-to-find areas.

Virtually every cubic foot of space may be utilized in a modern warehouse, no longer limited by the reach capacity of conventional equipment.  Space requirements of a robotic warehouse can be substantially reduced.

 “Speed of Light” Order Picking

With technology & manufacturing robotics, the products come to the workers rather than the workers traveling to the product, a much more efficient arrangement.

Customer orders initiate the picking process and all other activities. The system instantly identifies the precise pallet or the location of the desired items. This triggers the picking mechanisms to pull a pallet or case from its “slot” and directs it through a series of conveyors. Elevators automatically lower the item to a ground level staging area. If the product must be weighed or otherwise labeled, the item passes automatically through the appropriate devices before loading. Automated fork lifts move the product to the delivery vehicle.

There are numerous companies involved in technology & manufacturing innovation. Configurations differ depending upon the manufacturer. But the objectives are the same. In most systems, racking consists of tracks, rails and elevators that can quickly move a pallet from a remote location in the building to the staging area for integration with other products prior to being robot-loaded onto pre-positioned delivery vehicles.

Once the item is picked or pulled from its storage location, the system adjusts the inventory, produces a load sheet and routes the product automatically to the assigned delivery vehicle.

Some Advantages of Technology & Manufacturing Robotic Systems in Logistics

  • Improved Productivity
  • Accurate Inventory Control
  • Improved Space utilization
  • Reduced Breakage and Damage
  • Delivery Truck Turnaround
  • More Efficient Receiving

Delivery Drones: The New Frontier

With the help of GPS technology & manufacturing innovations, human-operated delivery vehicles still manage the transport of goods. But currently, large companies such as Amazon, WalMart and others are experimenting with the possibility of using robotic drones for delivery in order to further reduce the lapsed time from order placement to delivery to a few hours. Once a delivery is complete, the empty drones will automatically return to their home base to be reused.

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Manufacturing’s Impact on the Agriculture Industry

Monday, January 4, 2016
posted by IMT-Webmaster

metal-manufacturing-in-the-ag-industry-webMetal manufacturing advancements have been a part of improving the agricultural industry as far back as the beginning of the industrial revolution. Before the revolution and the introduction of machines to aide in the process of manufacturing, most metal work was done entirely by hand and thus, very little metal work was actually done. The typically wooden tools used in agriculture at the time were far less sturdy than metalwork, and had a bad tendency to warp under environmental exposure.

With the advent of machines and assembly lines however, it not only became cheaper and easier to manufacture tools made of metal, but it opened up the entire agricultural community to further advances in its own tools of the trade. As the metal manufacturing world continues to grow and evolve today, the agricultural industry benefits from these advancements in a variety of ways.

  • Longevity: Metal works are far more durable than wooden ones, capable of weathering changes in temperature or moisture, as well as simply being sturdier overall.
  • Production rate: The introduction of machines designed specifically for agricultural processes cuts down on the need for human labor, which not only increases the speed at which these processes can be done, but also the accuracy with which they are done.
  • Increased production overall: With advances in the manufacturing of machines have come advances in the agricultural industry itself. New ways to encourage growth, as well as better ways to collect and preserve that growth without resorting to waste.

In the past, before the introduction of metal manufacturing, agriculture was practiced entirely by hand, or through the use of domesticated farm animals like horses. After the introduction of metal machinery and alternative powers like gasoline, the long and laborious job of many could be replaced by machinery like tractors and combine harvesters and the careful maintenance of only one or two people instead.

The manufacturing of metal works have advanced even further than that in recent years through continuous innovation in the field though. As technology continues to grow and adapt, our capabilities continue to as well.

  • Detail work with smaller and smaller pieces in machines increases accuracy in the work provided, with less chance of these parts needing to be replaced as often from being worn down through ill fitting.
  • Advancements in materials and production qualities in machine parts leads to machines that are faster and more durable.
  • The introduction of the “Information Age” has brought about the advent of machines fitted with GPS monitoring or even self-guiding programs, allowing for far more precision in their work.

All of these advancements benefit from the regular growth and innovation of the metal manufacturing and fabrication world, whether it be in the agriculture machinery itself, or in the technology being created for these machines. Because of the material’s durability and aptitude for precision, a majority of the new technological advances being made involve metal pieces.

As technology and our capabilities with it advance, so does our precision and detail in metal manufacturing, which in turn continues to advance technology in the agricultural industry at an ambitious rate. Some of the most necessary parts in machinery can be incredibly small and detailed, and it’s only through advancements in technology that we are able to produce these pieces. While metal works overall prove far more durable than the previous wooden ones, they still wear down over time and require various parts to be replaced, or even improved as the technology itself grows and improves.

Supply and demand for agricultural products continue to grow, and technology must with it. Metal manufacture is indispensable to this growth

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