Global sales of logistics and warehousing robotics will reach $22.4 billion by 2021, according to research firm Tractica. Amazon has proven that a fast-paced, customer-driven economy is profitable at scale, and now many retailers are looking toward automation to improve efficiency in their fulfillment and warehousing.
Less-than-truckload rates are on the rise because of factors including driver shortages and manufacturing growth, writes Greg West of C.H. Robinson. The increase in small e-commerce orders is another reason, he notes.
Directed energy deposition is one way manufacturers are combining subtractive and additive manufacturing techniques in the same machine, writes Ed Sinkora. DED techniques have proven successful in aerospace, though they aren't the only option for hybrid machines, he notes.
The Safe2Ditch software system is intended to help drones assess whether an emergency landing is necessary and how to make such a landing as safe as possible, Simon Parkin writes. The system, or others like it, could overcome some of the major safety concerns keeping drones from being used for delivery and other business purposes.
Real-time visibility is critical to protecting industrial control systems, writes Barak Perelman of Indegy. Manufacturers must monitor all networks continuously to catch potential threats and audit their origins before industrial controls are compromised, he writes.
Presetting systems, which were designed to measure, inspect and monitor tools, have a head start on Industry 4.0 implementations, Bill Koenig writes. "It is more and more becoming a requirement and has thus become commonplace not just in large manufacturing facilities but also in smaller job shops," says Roland Bruhn of Haimer USA.
The increased use of sensors to collect data will help manufacturers be more productive, but the data has to be accessible by supervisory control and data acquisition systems, writes Ed Nugent of PcVue. Mobility servers can give users real-time data access with which to make decisions, he writes.
Technology can augment the ability of physical barriers to keep employees safe, writes Sheila Kennedy. Advanced drives and sensor-enabled safety controls are two examples of technological improvements to workplace safety, she writes.
Participants in a manufacturing camp in New Philadelphia, Ohio, learned over four days from companies including Dover Chemical and engaged in hands-on activities. The program for junior high students began in 2016.
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