PM Blog

It can be challenging for machinery manufacturers to continually update their industrial drive specification choices in line with the rapidly evolving landscape of Industry 4.0. But in doing so, these companies can offer their customers a wealth of financial benefits as well as better use of factory space, optimized machinery performance and improved safety standards.

The key to selecting an industrial drive that is compatible with automation is understanding how the drive has been designed and constructed to operate in conjunction with other machines and control systems. In doing so, specifiers can better establish whether the drive will not only deliver tangible results, but also whether the investment will stand the test of time against the ongoing evolution of connectivity in the industrial sector.

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Sometimes when shops implement a new piece of equipment, it exposes inefficiencies elsewhere in the process. These weaknesses can prevent companies from taking advantage of the new equipment’s capabilities, but switching to a new software program, tool, automation or inspection system can enable them to get the most out of their investments.

For Houston, Texas-based Geospace Technologies, an outdated CAM system was preventing the company from taking advantage of its advanced new turning center. Since updating its software, the company has improved programs for many of its parts, saving time and money. 

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Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.
— Aristotle

Want to get away? Sometimes the desire to leave becomes overwhelming because of unbearable pressure or problems. Sometimes it’s good to escape just to rejuvenate the spirit. And sometimes an unexpected trip comes along at just the right time to serve multiple purposes.

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The first thing most visitors to Cox Manufacturing in San Antonio, Texas, will notice is the digital billboard right outside the company’s main building—it’s visible from the highway that runs in front of the facility. What’s remarkable about the billboard is what’s on it—advertisements for open positions at the company, including openings for its apprenticeship program. Another prominent sign in front of the company’s second building (adjacent to the first) advertises rates for apprentices and graduates of the program.

Cox Manufacturing established its apprenticeship program about 10 years ago to train employees for careers in manufacturing. In addition to receiving training, apprentices receive pay and shopfloor experience. Acceptance to the program is competitive, and because the shop is always taking on new apprentices, having a consistent way to advertise it is important. A future article will take a closer look at Cox Manufacturing, including how apprentices are trained when they enter program and its use of FANUC machine controls.

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Three days packed with 13 technology presentations, 16 technical colloquiums and 1500 visitors on 4,000 square meters of exhibitions space; the fourth Grinding Symposium held by the United Grinding Group in Thun, Switzerland, was a great opportunity for customers, experts and company representatives to discuss a diverse range of topics including the advantages of digital solutions for production machine operators, how user interfaces should be designed to enable ideal machine operation, and what role additive manufacturing can play in machine building.

At the Future-Lab, United Grinding showcased current and future applications including additive manufacturing and laser micro-threading. The company is already using many 3D-printed parts in its own machines including the universal cylindrical grinding machine Studer Favorit as well as the WireDress system, which inhibits 12 3D-printed parts. On the Favorit, Studer leverages additive manufacturing technology to build parts such as the hydraulic block, which is more efficient in materials handling, storage and assembly, because the overall number of parts was reduced from five to one. Moreover, flow paths can be made with cross-sections that are square instead of round, reducing turbulent flow by 20 percent with the same channel width.

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