Let’s Get Technical: Flexible Manufacturing
By Ron Brown
Buffalo Manufacturing Works continued our Technical Working Groups with a session featuring the latest technologies in flexible automation with attendees from members of our Founders Council, partners at the University at Buffalo, NYS Center of Excellence Materials Informatics and Insyte Consulting.
This is one of our favorite topics as flexible automation provides the ability to adapt and rapidly accommodate changes in product configuration and production. Using today’s technology, manufacturers can quickly re-task a singular robot or robotic system for small-batch/high-mix manufacturing. As a result, companies are adopting and expanding their flexible processes with an eye toward cost savings, process flexibility, process consistency, and increased production efficiency.
The technical working groups serve as an important component of technology road mapping activities. In this session, attendees were asked to prioritize their automation needs from pick & place, palletizing, inspection, machine tending, sorting and simulation among others.
In response to industry feedback gathered at meetings, focus groups and discussions like this one; our flexible automation focus at Buffalo Manufacturing Works will concentrate on four areas:
- Automation Controls
- Process Monitoring and Inspection
- Process Simulation and Design
We were also proud to share that a state-of-the-art “robotic automation factory feasibility lab” is being built to maximize the applied research experience and minimize the time between concept and solution, enabling us to help our clients to develop and validate prototype equipment and processes in a timely manner.
Our Technical Working Groups concluded last week with a conversation on emerging technologies expected to impact materials processing, characterization and testing in 2015 – stay tuned for more about our focus on materials & testing!