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Improve Cutting Tool Sharing, Efficiency
eliminates tool loading errors
In the Gantry Tool Storage (GTS) system, pick-and-placeand traveling gantry robots provide access to centralizedstorage of up to 4,000 cutting tools and perform just-in-time tool delivery to individual machines. The system enables cutting tools to be shared among multiple machines,minimizing redundancy and eliminating the need to reservea cutting tool for a single machine. Cutting tool sharing alsopermits a reduction in the size of machine tool magazines.
I’ve been hiding out for the last few weeks,tucked away from the world in that greatsemi-conscious blur of paternity leave. It setsan odd cadence for life—one is never fullysleep nor awake, never quite idle and neverquite active. It’s joy and exhaustion, it’s diapers and rocking, it’s tiptoeing about to deliver food or attentionwherever they’re needed.
Which is just to say, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands lately—particularly since I’ve vowed not to work or take on any projectsduring the napping hours. So for the past three weeks, during allof those brief, random moments of quiet, I’ve been pouring overold articles on manufacturing and technology—articles I argue aretoo old to be considered work (though perhaps not quite as “leisurereading” as I’ve described them).
It began with a Harvard Business Review article from 2003 thatran under the sensational headline, “IT Doesn’t Matter,” and thenspiraled out of control through the scores of responses and articlesit inspired.
The basic idea is this: As technology proliferates, it loses itsability to provide a strategic advantage for its users. Seventeenyears ago, the author already saw tech not as a differentiator butas a commodity—a common ante for any business hoping to stayin the market. Then subsequent articles added some key considerations to the point, arguing that companies who use technologybetter or more appropriately than its competitors—and particularly those who do so with new technologies faster—can actually earna (brief) advantage. But those who continue to do so and whocreate processes to maintain the practice however tech evolves,may even achieve sustainable strategic advantage in their markets.
And that’s all fine. But why bring it up here? Mostly because therecipe for IT success that these articles explore seems headslap-pingly relevant today.
Essentially, these IT academics were arguing that, rather thaninvesting in tech for tech sake, companies did better when theyemployed technologies that <gasp> solved real problems and<double gasp> added capabilities the companies actually needed.
This was an infuriating point to discover in these articles. Written at the dawn of the Internet Age, barely recovered from thedotcom crash, before cloud computing had taken hold, before bigdata, before Io T or digital transformation or real machine learning,they were having exactly the same conversations we’re havingtoday. I could easily publish one of these articles right now on NEDand I doubt anyone would even notice that they are referring tocompletely different technologies of a completely different age.It’s maddening.
From this exercise, I’ve pulled two primary lessons.
First, it has helped me remember just how nascent all of thisreally is. Looking at the wonders and fantastical tools available tothe manufacturing industry today, it can be easy to assume we’realready deep into the movement—that leaders are fixed, that themarket is stable. But that’s just not true. It’s all still very dynamicand in flux—today’s strategic advantages become tomorrow’santes; today’s winners can become tomorrow’s failures. Today, justas in 2003, everyone still has a shot if they play it right.
And that’s the second lesson: There is a right way to play it.Every market is different, every company is different, so technology (just like anything else) will be deployed differently. Truemarket leaders understand this process—they understand thatinvestments and changes are not made simply to keep up, but todrive their business forward. They understand that they need tosolve real problems and add needed capabilities.
Though that is far from a new idea, clearly, it still stands as amark of a great company—a true Leader in Manufacturing (Pg. 11)that will continue to rise above their markets through these stillearly days of the tech revolution.
And now the baby wakes, so Ireturn to the cuddlesome blur.
An (Old) Recipe for(New) Success
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The KINETIC reflex wearable now features automated proximity alerts and contact tracing capabilities to increase workplace safety during theCOVID- 19 pandemic. The upgraded Reflex helps facilitate social distancing for the workforce and enables precise and accurate contact tracing.
The KINETIC Reflex is a discrete smart wearablethat is worn on belts or waistbands of industrialworkers. It automatically detects unsafe work postures and provides users with real-time feedback toreduce injuries and create better work habits. TheReflex was recently updated with two features designed to keep workers safe from COVID- 19.
Automated Proximity Alerts notify workers witha light vibration whenever they come within closecontact with each other. This helps create awareness on proper social distancing practices and allows workers to limit their amount of close interactions, reducing the chance of exposure.
Contact Tracing is a new tool in the Reflex software analytics platform that enables managers toeasily identify contacts between workers. If a worker tests positive for the virus, management canprotect their workforce by generating a report ofeveryone who could have potentially been exposed,as well as the duration of the contact.
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