Archive of Manufacturing - MAVERICK Rethinking Automation

The Economics of Automation – Part 2

Posted by John Clemons on January 23, 2013 @ 8:18 am

Automation SolutionsIn this last installment on this topic I said that the main purpose of automation is no longer to eliminate labor. That may have been the purpose some decades ago, but it is no longer the purpose of automation. I spent some time explaining that fundamentally that was the case because if some type of machine or automated equipment could be used to replace manual labor, it would have already been installed a long time ago. So...

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The Economics of Automation – Part 1

Posted by John Clemons on January 10, 2013 @ 9:15 am

Car IndustryBack in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s the main purpose of automation was to eliminate labor.  Actually, that’s pretty much been the main purpose of automation since the first machine of any kind was rolled onto a factory floor hundreds of years ago. Eliminating or reducing labor is the purpose behind just about any tool or machine from the invention of the wheel right down to the invention of this laptop computer I’m using to write this blog. But, you may not realize this, that is all very much in the process of changing and, in many cases, has already changed, and changed dramatically. I’m not joking.  The main purpose of automation used to be to ...

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Understanding Machine Safety Analysis In The U.S. (Part 1)

Posted by Karl Schrader on December 11, 2012 @ 11:17 am

A few years ago, I was working with an internal integration group for a manufacturing company which had facilities in many domestic and international locations. One of the initiatives I had undertaken was to redevelop procedures for assessing safety hazards on automated equipment. Safety_WorkPlace_MachineWith the planned adoption of the International Standards Organization document ISO:13849-1:2006, the older EN-954 standard was slated for retraction by the European Standards Organization. Anticipating this retraction, we needed to take another look at our own risk analysis and mitigation procedures in order to maintain complia...

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More Than A Story, A Process Narrative Can Define Your Next Automation Project

Posted by Jason Montroy on November 27, 2012 @ 10:55 am

I recently sat down with an automation manager responsible for a subsection of a large manufacturing business. His company is embarking on an effort to standardize the use of process control narratives for all automation projects. To my surprise, the concept of process narratives was new to him. He didn't understand their purpose. But he was intrigued and asked many good questions I was happy to answer.

What is a process narrative? MAVERICK_Blog_Automation

Simply put, a process control narrative is a written description of a manufacturing process that d...

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OEE and Continuous Improvement: Two Peas in a Pod – Part 1

Posted by John Clemons on November 1, 2012 @ 8:07 am

When I’m asked the question, “Where should I get started with improvements on the shop floor?” there is not necessarily an easy answer.  There are lots of places to start and it can be very complicated. All the vendors have their own solutions and will typically tell you to start with their products – all of their products.  (That’s obviously not a lot of help and can actually be a total disaster.) And, everybody else will have some kind of answer as well telling you that you need to start here or there in places that usually turn out to be their pet...

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