Modern Machine Shop

SEP 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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DECIDING FACTORS MMS SEPTEMBER 2018 24 Data-Driven Manufacturing The Digital Future Looks Golden This glow is reflected by the sources of many transformational technologies that focus on digitalizing the manufacturing industry. TRAVIS EGAN | PUBLISHER "There's gold in them thar hills!" This phrase dates to the gold rush of 1849. Today, these words are a stirring call to attention, usually to an opportunity that leads to higher profitability. This is exactly the vibe I got when visiting some of the leading companies in Silicon Valley—important companies that see a golden future for manufacturing. Recently, the board of directors of AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology spon- sored a mission to Silicon Valley. I was a guest on this journey. The goal was to explore what many consider to be the "mother lode" of new technol- ogy developers, many of whom focus on digitaliz- ing the manufacturing industry. Here are some brief reports on the companies we visited. If you are going to "stake a claim" in this new territory, these are the transformational technologies and mindsets to watch. Augmented reality (AR) stands to benefit industry in the next five years. Merging what the eye can see with what digital data can show will dramatically increase efficiency, reduce risk and increase safety. Wearing a HoloLens or similar headgear, workers can access expertise and knowledge when and where they need it most. For example, UC Berk- ley start-up Atheer has created an AR platform designed to provide a more responsive, safer and more reliable manufacturing environment. Because AR integrates the digital world with the physical world, it "augments" the decision-making power of the user, who can now identify and apply best practices. Promising applications include teaching complex assembly, guiding maintenance routines, soliciting expert support, managing quality assur- ance and collaborating with automation. Artificial intelligence (AI) will become our inventor. Advanced software gives computers the ability to solve problems the way people do: by studying the situation, reviewing experience, creating experi- ments and learning from mistakes. For example, Silicon Valley robot manufacturer Kindred uses AI so robots can solve real-world problems in com- plex, changing environments such as manufac- turing. They learn as they work. These solutions help customers increase productivity and expand capacity. Interestingly, the company has a robot- as-a-service business model with no upfront capi- tal outlay. Additive manufacturing (AM) is now for produc- tion. This is true particularly for industries such as medical, aviation and aerospace. AM makes it possible to customize each part, reduce weight and make one part out of several to streamline assembly. With the resulting economy, additively manufactured parts are paying their own way. AM is evolving rapidly as new materials are developed, processes are improved, and machines are built to reduce cost and work faster. The supplier base is expanding, too. For example, Hewlett-Packard is leveraging its extensive research and development capabilities in combination with its current print- ing technologies to promote AM. Its new Multijet Author Travis Egan experiences augmented reality to see for himself how it connects the physical world with the digital realm to enhance the user's job performance.

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