Backstory
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.
Oct. 13, 2017 - In the context of an ever-changing global trade landscape, the Canadian automotive industry must ensure it has the knowledge and capability to trade across our border.
May 3, 2017 - Most manufacturers consider this a statement they can relate to, especially the last two components: do and measure what gets done. The biggest opportunity for improvement however, is through the first two components: thinking and planning.
Feb. 7, 2017 - Despite initial hesitation and slower adoption, the use of mobile devices in the manufacturing industry is picking up speed. With a growing need to make tighter deadlines and hit quicker turnaround times, manufacturing companies are turning towards mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help increase efficiencies and reduce downtime.
Nov. 15, 2016 - Across the globe, manufacturers are looking to innovation to provide a key competitive advantage over their rivals, and in many cases, as the answer to their very survival. But innovation is such a broad term that many are struggling to implement the concept, simply because they don’t know where to focus their innovation activities.
Oct. 17, 2016 - If I asked you to describe the current environment in your market, what would it look like? This is a question I ask a lot of the CEOs and executives I meet and hands-down there is one word that comes up more than any other. Disruption.
Jul. 15, 2016 - In just a few years, 3D printing has moved from a “nice-to-have” to “must-have” technology. It’s well known by manufacturers who have purchased a printer or used a service to make non-functional prototypes; they have enjoyed seeing their designs come to life quickly and at low cost, while decreasing their time to market.
Jun. 27, 2016 - Reshoring has been a discussion point over the last decade and was a reaction to the heavy globalization of manufacturing that moved production capacity out from western economies to emerging markets offshore. “Take back manufacturing” advocates have now convinced most corporations that globalizing manufacturing just for low cost labour, while grossly over extending supply chains, has significant hidden total costs; many are now accepting that much more sustainable and environmentally-friendly short supply chains can be the better solution.
May 24, 2016 - Industrial operations have been slow and cautious when adopting new technologies, as losing intellectual property to a malicious incursion could be backbreaking. Historically, companies ensured absolute security from unauthorized access by severing all outside connections to the facility or machine network. However, as companies seek to integrate their operations and optimize production efficiency, ignoring high-value connected solutions found within Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts is the fastest way to be overtaken by your competitors. Thus, eliminating unauthorized remote access by implementing cybersecurity becomes paramount.
Jan. 26, 2016 - In 1995ish, I developed and moderated a software track for ISA Tech, the first and only one dedicated to the conference and not exhibits. Rich Ryan (who was with Rockwell Automation at the time) and I had a discussion on the future of automation software. He said that automation companies will become more I/O centric, and that instead of hardware pulling software like programming software, software will pull hardware.
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