Opinion

May 31, 2019 – The first step when starting any Industry 4.0 initiative or digital transformation within a manufacturing environment is to define the common goals and consistent use of terms.
April 30, 2019 – Radio-frequency identification – RFID – is coming in from the cold.
February 27, 2019 – Machine vision technology has been in use in some form or another since the late 1960s.
November 29, 2018 – Manufacturers have seen massive communication and operations improvements through the convergence of informational technology (IT) – the ever-present systems sending and storing information throughout an organization – and operational technology (OT) – the systems informing direct change through monitoring and control of devices and processes. IT and OT offer significant improvements in plant efficiency when the proper technology is in place to enable communication between the systems.
October 18, 2018 – Ten years ago, as the global recession waned, I observed the emergence of two major Lean trends – one that saw it deployed in a wider range of industries and disciplines, and another that has carried Lean thinking to the corner office.
September 21, 2018 - There are moments throughout history that change the way societies work and function on a daily basis. In the 18th to 19th centuries, rural societies became urban, iron and textile industries grew, and the steam engine made its mark on history. Fast forward to a paradigm shift that began in 1870: the world saw its first light bulb, as well as the invention of the telephone and electricity for mass production. More recently, digital technology has put a mobile computer in our pockets to communicate in ways once only imagined in science fiction films.
July 3, 2019 – This year, there’s been a lot of talk about Wi-Fi 6 and 5G networks.
May 15, 2019 – Manufacturing data is growing at an exponential level, and unless you find a way to move, compute and analyze it, it’s going to be a huge burden on your IT team.
March 22, 2019 – Manufacturing chief information officers (CIOs) are busy people with a wide range of duties.
February 13, 2019 – When you hear the words "connected mobility," chances are the first thing that comes to mind is Wi-Fi technology that connects mobile devices like smartphones, laptops and tablets. In fact, wireless technology is what enables mobility – and mobility drives data, voice, video and location applications.
November 19, 2018 – The modernization of the factory is changing the way manufacturers are conducting their operations by connecting the entire business.
October 12, 2018 – On the factory floor, every new connection point is an opportunity for operations teams to monitor, analyze and optimize performance. It’s also a security risk.
June 25, 2019 – There’s been much written over the years about how the Canadian manufacturing industry lags other countries as far as investment in innovation is concerned, and there’ve been many attempts and well-intended initiatives launched over the years to try to change that.
May 6, 2019 – Hardly a day goes by without a political headline, and unfortunately, most of those headlines have little to do with anything that makes a difference to manufacturers, but the significant policies that lawmakers put in place do.
April 11, 2019 – I spent this past weekend volunteering as a timer at a swim meet hosted by my granddaughter’s club. There were 800 swimmers and 1,500 race heats. At eight lanes per heat, it meant about 12,000 individual races had to be timed, each lane manned by three qualified timers and a strokes-and-turn judge in order for the time to be “official.”
January 25, 2019 – Measuring the right things is just as important as measuring things right. Measuring the wrong things can get in your way and impair your ability to grow, distracting you by putting your focus on the wrong things. Success and growth come from doing more of the right things right, and less of doing the wrong things right.
November 12, 2018 – It is easy for me to identify the “true all-stars” on the teams I worked with over the years. They were the performers that not only got things done, but that products, divisions, and even companies were built upon. Some were diamonds in the rough, discovered along the way. Some were fresh graduates with that certain “spark.”
October 11, 2018 – Regular readers of this column probably wonder if I am still working, or if I’m retired, given that so many of the columns I’ve written highlight my recent recreational pursuits and adventures, many of them with my granddaughter.
July 11, 2019 – Food and beverage is one of the fastest-changing industries in business today.
May 30, 2019 – Robot density in Canada has been on the rise for more than a decade and reached 145 units per 10,000 employees last year.
April 17, 2019 – According to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada, over 29,000 manufacturing workers suffer a job-related injury each year, accounting for nearly 12 per cent of all workplace lost-time claims. How can automation help to reduce this figure?
February 18, 2019 – Modern machine safety practices call for the use of guarding, personal protective equipment and proper training, but ensuring the appropriate levels of machine safety can be a complicated task.
October 22, 2018 – It is official: recreational marijuana is legal in Canada with effect from October 17. With that comes a patchwork of jurisdictional laws establishing where and how marijuana products will be sold and used by consumers.
September 17, 2018 - Cannabis is set to be legalized for recreational use as of October 17, 2018. For many employers still struggling with how to accommodate employees who have been prescribed cannabis for medicinal purposes, this will create new challenges and questions. How do you define impairment and fitness for work? What types of tasks are safety sensitive?
June 19, 2019 – Does unplanned equipment downtime cause your maintenance team to scramble?
May 31, 2019 – Let me start by saying I’m a computer analyst/programmer, an electronics engineer, and a Microsoft partner.
May 13, 2019 – Ever since the German government introduced the concept of Industry 4.0 at the Hannover Messe trade show eight years ago, connected manufacturing has been the main topic of conversation at the annual fair.
March 29, 2019 – In my last letter, I asked you about how artificial intelligence (AI) factors into your operations. We’ve published one comment in our March/April 2019 issue (p. 4) from a reader who notes that unless a manufacturer solves pre-existing production inefficiencies, a costly AI system won’t provide much ROI.
March 25, 2019 – Industry 4.0 – or the fourth industrial revolution – refers to a cyber-physical environment that self-optimizes.
January 28, 2019 – Does the term “artificial intelligence” (AI) scare you, or does it get you excited about the future?

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