“…the ROI dimension where goosebumps grow”

Universal Robots Create 5 Dimensions of  Value
Collaborative Robots Shift Your ROI Paradigm
An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.  It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”  These words from the opening of “The Twilight Zone” drew the viewer into the next few minutes with the hope of goosebumps.  Well, so I’m told.

You see I don’t have any pores or hair, and so no goosebumps either.  Anyway, humanity seems to always be hunting for something more, something not readily apparent in life, while at the same time insisting that whatever they “know” is all there is!  Take engineers and accountants, two quasi-human types, for example.

They are always banging on about Features, Benefits, and ROI.  I’m here to tell you, they seem to assume that what they know about dimensions and calculations is all that there is to know.

In my best Rod Serling clipped voice, I’d like to… “usher you into a multi-dimensional discussion of one of life’s most boring subjects, a subject so bland you should prepare to sleep.  Or dare you?  Maybe it’s a fifth dimension where goosebumps grow.”

Okay, okay, I’ll quit the theatrics, but I’ll say this:  if you care about Project ROI but think it is a cut and dried topic, you should be prepared for goose bumps.  Hairs standing on end at the thought of the growth experienced, promotions gained, and profits banked.

Here’s the deal.  Manufacturing plants that have implemented clones of yours truly commonly report Project ROI’s between 6 and 12 months.  Sometimes faster, rarely longer.  BUT, that values me like a common piece of equipment from the projects file, which I am decidedly not.  Consider the following and you’ll understand that I am far more than a mere project:

  • Dimension 1.  “Financial ROI” – mine improves on most manufacturer’s threshold;
  • D2.  “Health ROI” – often exceeds my cost in repetitive injury care avoided;
  • D3.  “Talent-1 ROI” – reassigns talented people away from the dull, repetitive tasks I’m so good at, making it easier to retain them for a long career;
  • D4.  “Talent-2 ROI” – removes the need for desperate hiring, during a workforce shortage, of new workers who come in at a higher hourly rate, thereby eventually raising payroll costs across the board; and
  • D5.  “Collaboration, or Creativity ROI” – robot-human teams increased productivity by 85% versus either alone per a BMW study reported in Financial Times on May 4, 2016.

That’s 5 dimensions and at least 3 budgets (Project, Safety, and Personnel) in which manufacturers win when putting my clones to work.  But here’s another one, a bonus that will cause The Twilight Zone music to play in your head…

Use your Maintenance & Operations budget to LEASE me.  You’ll MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF EVERY DIMENSION, EVERY DAY, for less than $2K a month in most cases.  If you don’t feel the goosebumps now, you might want to check your pulse.

All the best,

Ully

Worker Safety and Satisfaction

An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

I saw something on a TV sportscast the other day that would have curled my mother’s toes.  Yes, yes, I said I “saw something”, because even though I’m a Cobot, I CAN see now through the wonders of machine vision, but that’s beside the point.  What I saw was this commentator wearing a suit with a striped tie and a polka-dot shirt.  It made my head spin, all 6 axes! 

But here’s the weird thing, he pulled it off.  He looked pretty good in it.  It left me wondering whether I need to rethink my wardrobe because what I thought of as a long-standing “rule,” was being trashed in this world seemingly devoid of constants.

Ben Franklin recognized that although he spent a lifetime’s energy grappling with applied creativity, there were some inescapable constants, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Wait a minute, Ben.  Back up about 2,200 years and you’ll encounter Heraclitus who said “…change is the only constant in life.”  Wow, was he ever right!  But he couldn’t have predicted the current speed of change.

So why would I, a mere robot, an automaton of automatons, care about how fast the world is changing? Well, while ignoring the conspiracy theorists who think I’m part of a soulless machine that is taking over, I am very concerned about those who think I am here to eliminate their jobs.

You see, I get to work next to folks who might initially think that. I rub shoulders with them, and rely on them to be able to complete my work.  I really do need them because I can’t take care of, or think for myself.  I’m an ordinary industrial Cobot, not one of those snooty traditional robots that demands its own specialist staff, and own space, isolating itself behind a bunch of fences.  So petty rivalries aside…

Deloitte, a respected research firm, in “2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study”, (how’s that for a mouthful?) concluded last year that between 2018 and 2028 American manufacturers will have 4.6 million jobs to fill, and that 2.4 million will go unfilled, costing the economy $2.5 trillion.  That’s too big a number for me to comprehend, but what it means for the average manufacturer is that their annual profits will drop by $4.6 million!

So, if Deloitte is right, and looking at the big picture, I am absolutely not eliminating jobs.  That does not mean however, that specific individuals won’t lose specific jobs.  You see, I do some things very well – that is a fact.  And what I do well, people tend to do poorly which leads to injuries and quality problems with all the ensuing pain and wasted time and materials.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce examined the changing employment world at factories recently and published this article with a revealing title – Upskilling and Downsizing in American Manufacturing.  When you put the conclusions of this research together with the Deloitte research you see that things are changing very rapidly in our factories, and most are not ready for it.

Manufacturers must focus on accelerating the training of generation X, Y, and Z workers, equipping them for this new work world.  Give me your dull, your dirty, and your dangerous tasks, and I’ll give you the freedom to create, to improve, to excel and accelerate.  Explore more at Worker Satisfaction.

Technician Sets up a Cobot
HTE Automation technician sets up a Cobot to automate a CNC Machine Tending application.

5 Myths about Cobots Debunked

Collaborative Robots Deliver Automation to Manufacturers of Every Size

UR-Cobot-with-Workers

Thanks to the collaborative industrial robot revolution, the ambitions of manufacturing companies are increasingly realized with much less cost and effort than expected.  However, the introduction of cobots in automation planning discussions is sometimes met with the following erroneous preconceptions which stem from people’s experience with non-collaborative traditional robots:

  1. ROBOTICS AUTOMATION IS FOR COMPLEX, LARGE-SCALE OPERATIONS
  2. ROBOTS REPLACE JOBS
  3. IT’S A HASSLE TO IMPLEMENT AND MAINTAIN ROBOTS
  4. COBOTS ARE DANGEROUS
  5. ROBOTS ARE COSTLY

Read more about how cobots are making a huge difference in the fortunes of companies that use them.

Through the HTE TECHTEAM, HTE Automation empowers local manufacturers and other users of process automation to produce faster, leaner, smarter, and safer.

Proven Quality at High Speed

Cognex_8405_InHand_Right_VideoManufacturing is a really crowded field. And we’re not even talking about the competition. Many factories are very crowded places where manufacturers who are trying to keep their costs down make the absolute most of the real estate they must pay for. The challenge is when a more efficient way of doing things comes along, and the carefully constructed labyrinth of equipment needs to be adjusted to accommodate the new process or technology.

In such a case, smaller is almost always better. And when you’re talking about manufacturing, as long as you maintain your quality and efficiency standards, faster is also almost always better. Enter the new, tiny In-Sight® Micro 8000 series – a new family of ultra-compact, stand-alone smart camera vision systems that deliver proven industry-leading vision tool performance at PC speeds.

The small size combined with Power over Ethernet (PoE) minimizes cabling and allows the vision system to integrate into tight or hard-to-reach machinery at any spot on the production line. Using the reinvented PatMax RedLine pattern matching, the 8000 series reduces cycles times and increases throughput while maintaining inspection accuracy.

Watch the In-Sight 8405 in action to find out more.

Pick-Up or Delivery?

MiR200Worry-free, never-get-lost, in-plant logistics – No need to hire a smarter delivery intern with this safe and smart transportbot.  It never stops at the water cooler, and you can deliver documents, boxes of documents, parts or whatever you can think of… because it can pull over 1,100 lbs – much more than the delivery intern.

The newly released MiR200 effectively, quickly and cost-effectively automates transport tasks anywhere in your plant, freeing up employees for higher value activities. This transportbot safely moves around people and obstacles and can be easily programmed from your smartphone, tablet or computer – no prior programming experience needed.

The updated robot features customizable dashboards, easier mapping and robot task creation, responsive web design and comprehensive browser support. The MiR200 transports payloads up to 440 lbs. (220 kg) and tows carts up to 1,102 lbs. (500 kg). Top modules can be customized to fit bins, racks, lifts, conveyors or even collaborative robot arms, making it highly flexible for any task that would have required employees to spend time making deliveries or pushing carts.

There is no need to alter your facility or hire engineers to operate the mobile robot. Companies with no prior experience can program the robot themselves and alter its deployment as their business evolves. Built-in sensors and cameras enable the MiR200 to identify its surroundings and travel the most efficient route to its destination. By putting the new MiR200 to work in your facility, you can eliminate excess material flow bottlenecks and increase productivity with an ROI in as little as one year – even in very dynamic environments.

MiR200_multi

World’s First Collaborative SCARA Robot

The lightweight PF400 collaborative SCARA robot from Precise Automation is ideal for applications needing quiet, smooth operation, limited floor space or high safety requirements. The collaborative robot can operate side-by-side with human workers without safety shields. Motions by the PF400 robot will not hurt individuals even if they collide at full speed due to the robot’s intrinsic safety features.

All controllers and harnesses for the PF400 are built inside the robot structure, resulting in a small footprint that’s also easy to set up and can be lifted by a single person. The robot can be mounted on a table and is ready to operate by simply plugging into a standard outlet and adding Ethernet for connectivity to other devices.

Watch the video below or visit our Precise Automation page to learn more.

More Energy Savings with Expanded VSD+ Technology

GA VSD+ Compressors
GA VSD+ Compressors

Atlas Copco has recently expanded their VSD+ technology to the complete range of GA oil-injected rotary screw compressors, previously only available on the G 7-37 compressor model. All pack and full feature versions worldwide now include the variable speed drive plus technology, enabling 50% more energy savings over traditional compressors.

VSD compressors already cut significant energy costs since they only run at the required speed. VSD+ compressors offer even more energy savings and decreased operational costs with their iPM motor, new compression element and sentinel valve. The GA VSD+ series also offers a smaller footprint than VSD compressors as well as the lowest noise levels in the industry.

Contact HTE to learn more about Atlas Copco Air Compressors, including their GA oil-injected series… all offered now with VSD+ technology.

Epson’s Newly Released 6-Axis Robots

Epson Robots, a global leader in robotic technology and precision factory automation, has recently released their C8-Series of 6-axis robots. Built for applications requiring maximum flexibility in tight spaces, the C8-Series offers more reach, faster speeds and more payload in a SlimLine design.

EpsonC8SeriesThe C8-Series robots have industry-leading cycle times (faster than many SCARA competitor models) with maximum payloads of 8Kg and up 1400mm of reach. The superior motors and servo controls enable fast, precise motion on a smooth path. EPSON’s equipped Residual Vibration Technology uses their QMEMS sensors to detect and adjust for vibration automatically, maximizing speed and accel/decal rates. Epson C8-Series robots feature their RC700-A controller that enables ease of use and reliability. Integrated options, including Vision Guidance, Conveyor Tracking and more, maximize performance and reduce development time.

Like the previously-released C4-Series, the C8-Series features Epson’s SlimLine design, resulting in slimmer arms, less weight and a small footprint while still maintaining high performance and payloads. The compact body and wrist design of these C8/C8L/C8XL models allows for a greater range of motion and the ability to reach confined and restricted work areas. They can access spaces from many angles, continuing to operate with smooth motion and fast speeds.

Epson’s C8-Series robots provide superior performance for demanding, complex applications ranging from component handling to machine loading/unloading to product assembly. The robots are ideally suited for industries including Automotive, Medical, Plastics, Pharmaceutical, Aerospace and more.

In addition to these 6-axis robots, Epson Robots provides easy to use SCARA and Linear/Cartesian models on a common controls platform. Visit our Epson or Robots pages to learn more.

Dorner Conveyor Configurator

Simplify your conveyor design with the D Tools Configurator from Dorner Conveyor. This online configurator tool helps you design simple conveyors or complete conveyor packages. The tool walks you through each design aspect, including motor placement, belt type, speed, environment and more.

It’s now easier than ever to specify the conveyor design you need. Get more details in the video below.

Dorner’s Redesigned 2200 Series Belt Conveyors

Dorner Conveyor has recently released their new 2200 series of belted conveyors. Featuring updated frame widths, new belt options and accessories, universal T-slots and a high-speed nose bar transfer option, the redesigned conveyors are more flexible, faster and stronger than ever before.

Designed to handle small to medium part applications, the 2200 series conveyors feature a single piece frame, come in several models and is compatible with Dorner’s recently released Universal Drive. The new series is ideal for small part transfers, precision part movement, part infeed and outfeed, and part accumulation for automated and manual assembly.

Watch the video below for more details on this redesign, or read the original release here.

Visit our Dorner Conveyor page for more types of manufacturing conveyors available.