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The Body Gap 0

Posted on 16, October 2019

in Category Blog

Manufacturers have been worrying about the Skills Gap for years. Automation requires skills in math, technology, even engineering. Yet U.S. grads continue to major in business, history, sociology, and psychology — that’s more than a third of American college grads right there. High school grads typically don’t have the science and math chops to major in STEM subjects, or to go straight to work in a modern factory. The Body Gap But IndustryWeek is reminding us that manufacturing is increasingly not just having trouble finding qualified job candidates. In many cases, it’s a problem finding any candidates at all. The [&hellip

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The Future of Printing 0

Posted on 14, October 2019

in Category Blog

We work with lots of printing presses, so I guess it’s natural that we would be interested in the history of printing. It’s even more natural that we would be interested in the future of printing. The future of printing is a lot harder to lay out, though. Imagine a tree with multiple branches. Each branch is one possible outcome in the future of printing. One large branch that a lot of people are swinging on is the possibility that printing will become obsolete. Here’s why: alternatives to paper for reading, including tablets, Kindles, smartphones, and computers increasing desire to [&hellip

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Italian Choreographer Inspires Robot Bartender 0

Posted on 11, October 2019

in Category Blog

Modern robots are inspired by everything from fleas to octopi… and now by an Italian choreographer, Marco Pelle. Makr Shakr‘s new robotic bartender is a pair of standard industrial robotic arms. The company used film of Marco Pelle’s movements to design the machine’s gestures, however. Nino, a new version of the machine which has built more than 1.5 million cocktails, has access to 170 bottles. One arm measures and mixes precisely and the other arm pours and delivers the drink to the customer. Nino’s colleagues, Tina and Bruno, are available for purchase or lease. There’s also Guido, a self-driving bar [&hellip

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Ethics of Military Robots 0

Posted on 9, October 2019

in Category Blog

Automation can free human beings from dangerous, tedious jobs. Workers may have mixed feelings about some of those jobs, but there’s one field in which you’d expect everyone to be in favor of automation: military work. The Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (darpa) has been testing a six-drone swarm that can work collaboratively in a combat setting. The Department of Defense has budgeted billions to bring Artificial Intelligence to the battlefield. They’re betting the robots will soon be smart enough to survive military settings. The problem is the same thing that has limited robots’ usefulness in the laundry room: robots [&hellip

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Meal Kits Push Consumer Demand 0

Posted on 7, October 2019

in Category Blog

One of the biggest pressures on manufacturing is consumer demand for ever smaller and more customized packages. Home meal kits like Blue Apron could bring new demands to food manufacturing and packaging. People used to getting 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar in a tiny bottle don’t want to buy an 8 oz bottle of white wine vinegar. Knowing they have half their weekly meals arriving in a box, they don’t want to invest in full-size bottles of herbs and spices. As the video below shows, packing meal kits already requires some sophisticated kitting skills. Add the additional grocery needs [&hellip

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Are Human Workers Serving Robots? 0

Posted on 4, October 2019

in Category Blog

A tortilla manufacturer increased automation successfully, calling on robots to check the tortilla packages before sending them on a conveyor to the next station. Unfortunately, the tortillas got rejected when the temperature dropped — somehow they just didn’t look right to the robot. The machine also rejected packages if a tortilla’s edge rolled under. Since robots don’t munch on quesadillas, it seemed, they couldn’t tell a good tortilla from a bad one. The solution for tortillas could be X-ray technology, allowing robots to distinguish a real problem from a surface difference in appearance. In the meantime, human workers have to [&hellip

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Candy and Servos 0

Posted on 2, October 2019

in Category Blog

As Halloween approaches, candy makers are ramping up production to make sure American kids have plenty of candy. Plenty, in this case, means $2,600,000,000 dollars’ worth of sugary goodness. Manufacturers mostly rely on packaging to make everyday Snickers and Twizzlers say “Halloween,” but there are also some special products for Trick or Treat. Hershey’s is making Caramel Apple bonbons this year, and M&Ms is doing white chocolate pumpkin pie flavors. One of the most iconic Halloween candies, candy corn, was developed over a century ago. At first, it was called “Chicken Feed” and sold year-round. In the 20th century, parental [&hellip

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Robotics Zone Feeds Kids 0

Posted on 30, September 2019

in Category Blog

Robots joined with Blessings in a Backpack for a demonstration that has a purpose beyond robotics. Blessings in a Backpack helps kids who may not have food to eat at home. These children receive free meals at school on weekdays, but food insecurity can leave them hungry on weekends. Blessings in a Backpack sends kids home with backpacks full of food every Friday. At this year’s Pack Expo Las Vegas,  cobots from Universal Robots showed their skill at random picking and packing while filling about 1200 backpacks with food ranging from pouches of dried fruit to cans of ravioli and boxes [&hellip

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Food Packaging Challenges 0

Posted on 27, September 2019

in Category Blog

Over the past decade, consumers have become one of the strongest sources of pressure in factories. There was a time when manufacturers made things, salespeople sold them to retailers, retailers offered them to consumers, and shoppers chose from among those offerings. Gradually, brands and retailers got the upper hand and dictated to manufacturers. Then the empowered consumer came along and brands began to pay more attention to their desires. For manufacturing, that means shorter runs, more customization, and a focus on products and packaging with an emphasis on fads and fashions in food consumption. For food and beverages in particular, [&hellip

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Rexroth Error Codes 0

Posted on 25, September 2019

in Category Blog

Rexroth electric industrial motion control is some of the best motion control on the planet. Of course, that’s a good thing. But it also has a drawback: you probably spend very little time troubleshooting your Rexroth drives, controls, and servos. You may go years or even decades with no problems with your Rexroth motion control systems. They also require little to no maintenance.  Make sure you keep them in the right environment and don’t kick the cables around too much, and you won’t see many problems. Unfortunately, that also means that when you see problems, you won’t know what’s wrong. [&hellip

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