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What are the Latest Industrial Automation & Robotics Trends?

June 12, 2015

ProMat 2015

According to new research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), manufacturers will significantly accelerate their use of industrial robots over the next decade. BCG data shows approximately 1.2 advanced robots are expected to be deployed across the U.S. by the year 2025, resulting in 25% of all manufacturing functions becoming fully automated. A USA Today article on the research findings notes that, within two years, the number of advanced robots in the U.S. will begin to grow by 10% a year. “Replacing employees with robots is projected to result in a manufacturing workforce that’s 22% — or a few million workers — smaller by 2025 than it otherwise would have been,” says USA Today.

So what does all of this mean for manufacturing and distribution?

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15 Experts Weigh in on Manufacturing’s Shifting Workforce Demographics

June 4, 2015

Industrial workers

Manufacturing skills gap. Talent shortage. Shifting workforce demographics. What are the trends?

Call it what you will, but the fact remains that the U.S. manufacturing industry faces a pressing issue in the coming years if current worker retirement rates continue to accelerate and projections for industry expansion prove accurate. Research from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte indicates there could be as many as 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2025, up from initial estimates of 600,000. As noted in a Huffington Post article on the research findings, retirement and rapid industry growth are the two driving factors contributing to the skills shortage.

To get a better sense of how the industry is addressing the challenges (and potential opportunities) associated with the increasing skills gap, we recently conferred with industry partners, leaders, and subject matter experts.

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What’s Next for Manufacturing Technology?

May 14, 2015

proMat 2015 photo

A record number of manufacturing and supply chain professionals gathered in Chicago at the end of March for ProMat 2015, the largest material handling and logistics trade expo in North America. According to an MHI press release, registration topped 37,000—an 8.8% increase in attendance over the 2013 show.

“ProMat 2015 was the largest in the event’s 30-year history,” said MHI CEO George Prest. “The energy level among visitors and exhibitors was at an all-time high.” So what were attendees buzzing about during the show? Manufacturing technology was one topic discussed at length during the four-day event.

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ProMat Interview Series: SI Systems

April 16, 2015

ProMat Floor 2015

Eight hundred exhibitors from industry, commerce, and government. Three hundred thousand feet of supply chain innovations and solutions. One hundred sessions on manufacturing and supply chain trends, technologies, and innovations. There’s a reason why ProMat is considered the largest expo for manufacturing and supply chain professionals in North America. Attending the show offers access to the latest manufacturing and supply chain solutions as well as the opportunity to engage with industry professionals and build business partnerships.

During the week of March 23 – 26, 2015, we traveled to Chicago to get in on the action at ProMat. When we weren’t touring the show floor or attending breakout sessions, we were connecting with industry partners and customers for their insight on this year’s show, as well as some of the broader trends in manufacturing and the future of the industry.

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Vic Leonard: An Appreciation

April 14, 2015

Vic and Jan Leonard

Victor Joseph Leonard, our former vice president of systems design–and a giant in the material handling industry–passed away Tuesday March 31, 2015.

To his family he was a dedicated husband, father and grandfather. To his Cisco-Eagle family, he was the mentor for a generation of conveyor designers, engineers and salespeople. More importantly, he was a friend, a force for change and class individual who will be sorely missed. His wife, Jan preceded Vic in death by only two weeks. They loved going on cruises and spending time with their extended family together.

Vic came to Eagle Material Handling in 1981. We were a very different company at that time than today’s Cisco-Eagle. It is no stretch to say that he transformed us.

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A Jargon-Free Guide to Vertical Reciprocating Conveyor Specification

April 7, 2015

Pflow lift mechanical, four post

Facility space is expensive—very expensive—so it’s become increasingly important to utilize it to its full potential in any industrial facility. We’ve seen many companies find ways to expand their crowded operation utilizing mezzanines and other elevated work platforms that help seize the vertical cube. There are multiple methods for moving materials between vertical levels, and  vertical reciprocating conveyors (VRCs) are one of the best.

With an array of carriage types, drives, designs and power sources available, what vertical lift might meet your needs?

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10 Ways to Keep Orders Moving During Your Busiest Season

December 23, 2014

I received a newsletter the other day that really hit home during this busy Christmas season. It was about keeping warehouse order pickers motivated in their work and I thought, “That’s really key during peak seasons when highly stressed workers can get burned out quickly.” So, how do you keep order pickers moving when they’re already under the gun?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Product Ideas, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics, Warehousing, Workbenches & Stations| No Comments »

Questions to Ask: Carousel Picking Systems

October 28, 2014

horizontal carousels

Carousels are a high performance order picking technology option, but only if you match them to the right operational needs and applications. If you are considering a carousel system for your operation, it’s important to understand when these “goods to person” picking systems are appropriate, and where manual picking might still work better for you. The real issue is, can you make a carousel, or any automated solution, outperform a good manual system?

The answer is: not always. Let’s look at ways you can push your project in the right direction.

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Manufacturing Automation: What Is It? Where Is It Going?

October 15, 2014

Industrial Robotics

Industrial engineers have envisioned fully automated factories since at least the middle of the 20th century. But the real race to automate manufacturing can be said to have begun in the 1980s, when US car manufacturers came up with the vision of “lights-out” manufacturing. The idea was to beat their rivals by automating the factories to such an extent that the entire manufacturing process could be left to robots. To a great extent, it has remained only a vision so far. Read the rest of this entry »

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Manufacturing News Roundup: Q3 2014

October 9, 2014

robotic palletizing system

As we wrote in June, the manufacturing sector continues to evolve this year, including technology, innovation, reshoring, labor shifts, and more. To highlight these important trends, research, and discussions, we’ve begun compiling a quarterly industry news roundup. During Q3, the manufacturing sector experienced continued advancements in technological innovations and steady growth in a variety of areas. The following is a collection of manufacturing reports and articles on various topics affecting the industry from Q3 2014: Read the rest of this entry »

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