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Information on the products and techniques to better store, handle, and move products in your facility.

How WCS Controls & Synchronizes Automated Equipment & Systems

February 4, 2016

Automated Conveyor System
When you deploy automated equipment and systems like conveyor sortation, picking, packing, and order consolidation, you may think that getting the equipment to do its basic job is the goal. That optimal production and worker performance had been gained. There’s a digital element that you may not have considered, though – a warehouse control system.
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The Future of Robotics: An Interview with FANUC America

October 8, 2015

Fanuc Robotics Family
More and more companies are adding various forms of robotics to their operations as they seek to improve productivity, enhance worker safety, and keep labor costs down. We recently spoke with Wes Garrett, Packaging Account Manager at FANUC America about robotics in the material handling industry. He provided some great information regarding cost of ownership, indicators robotics may benefit an operation, and trends in new technologies.

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New Videos: Seegrid Vision-Guided Pallet & Tow Trucks

July 9, 2015

Seegrid Vision Guided Towing Tractor

We recently added several new videos. Seegrid manufactures vision-guided vehicles (tow trucks and pallet trucks) that help reduce wasted labor resources (travel time, in particular). These vehicles are reliable, safe and efficient in many kinds of material handling operations. Since they don’t require a driver, they reduce non-value add labor activities in a warehouse or manufacturing facility. Payloads travel from one value-add point (receiving, parts areas) to another (storage, workcells). Check out the videos below for more information.

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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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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 »

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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Are We Automating Jobs Away?

October 3, 2014

A Variety of robots

In the last 200 years 70% of jobs done by American workers have been replaced by automation – and during the next century we will see another automation revolution that replaces 70% of American jobs, again.

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