After a banner year in 2015—with over 17.5 million vehicles sold in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal—the automotive industry is poised to continue this pattern of growth through 2016 and beyond. That doesn’t mean the industry is without challenges, though. Automakers are beginning to feel the effects of an increasingly competitive market as an influx of tech companies enter the automotive game, embracing big data to identify and solve problems, and touting a “fail fast” mentality that enables the quick production of innovative new products.
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With so many AGV solutions on the market, it can be difficult to tell which AGV is right for your application and facility. Before investing in automation, ask your AGV vendor these important questions about install times, safety standards and the team you’ll be working with.
Manufacturers are increasingly turning to automation to solve their materials handling challenges. But as many are realizing, not all AGV companies are alike. The various AGV solutions on the market have vastly different degrees of flexibility, scalability, and infrastructure requirements. Before investing in automation, be sure to ask your AGV/AGC vendor these important questions.
Machines on the plant floor will soon actively identify problems, determine a course of action, execute, and measure those results—all without human interaction. It's not the Jetsons—it's the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and it's already beginning to reshape manufacturing. Though many manufacturers are just starting to explore the implications of IIoT, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been generating buzz for years and already represents a booming market opportunity.
Like many industries, the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector is facing increased pressure to continuously innovate and increase productivity, while also reducing labor and operating costs. Achieving all these targets requires a large, specialized workforce. A&D executives are feeling the pressure to simultaneously produce innovative products, control costs, and plan for future growth to stay ahead of this increasingly competitive market.
As we approach the new year, developments in the robotics industry are promising. In 2015, we saw robots emerge in manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, as automated vehicles have proven to be a safer and more efficient, decreasing transportation time for parts-to-line by more than 50% in some cases. This massive shift in robotics has been made possible due largely to impressive new visual capabilities. Vehicles like tow tractors and pallet trucks are equipped with Seegrid Vision, allowing them to operate entirely autonomously. This frees up human workers to focus on higher-level tasks, creating a dynamic workplace where humans and robots collaborate together.
Myth: A myth is an "idea or story that is believed by many but is not true." So why is it, then, that we're quick to assume that ideas without any factual basis are, in fact, true?
With an aging workforce, injuries are expected to increase in the labor force. Therefore, leveraging technology to automate difficult or repetitive tasks will positively impact concerns over safety and ergonomic issues, and other labor challenges experienced by many organizations. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, "more than 3.0 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2013."
Many material handling warehouse activities these days are being automated, partly due to technology advances and partly due to the very competitive nature of business. Picking, packing, shipping, cross-docking—automation is seemingly taking over all throughout every aspect of the warehouse. But what about material handling on a broader scale?
In a dynamic production environment, as companies continue to experience an increase in manufacturing complexities, there is typically an increase in labor resources as well. For operations managers, it becomes a balancing act to manage the production process and have resources to remain productive.