New Year, New Technology


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As the holiday season draws to a close and we start looking at what lies ahead in 2007, many people will take advantage of this time to set goals for improvements in their lives or the lives of those around them. The article Planning For A Promising NEW YEAR presents the views of several industry professionals regarding their outlook for the coming year and what they see as appropriate goals for their companies. I have additional ideas for ways companies can move forward with technology to have a positive impact on 2007.

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on wireless technology, and the capabilities it brings make it worth serious consideration for companies wishing to add flexibility to their operations while enabling far more rigorous data analysis and inventory tracking functionality. I recently set up a wireless network at my house. With only two computers and one printer to bring together, the project was simple, but it provides me with Internet access and file sharing between the computers, along with the ability to move my computers anywhere in the house without rewiring the network.

What makes this technology significant to a shop? A network allows NC programs to be distributed directly to the machines on the shop floor from a central location. The wireless functionality simplifies new machine setups and moving the equipment about the floor. But these features are only a part of the advantages WiFi can bring.

Once the network is in place, a company can begin to monitor all processes, material usage and inventory throughout the shop by implementing additional tracking software and devices such as RFID (radio frequency identification) tags and hand-held scanning equipment. This additional shop control should result, of course, in significant production benefits.