Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability

Pick-to-Light

By Thomas Cutler

Until now pick-to-light equipment has represented a significant fixed capital expense with little consideration for variable use, often driven by seasonality, warehouse/distribution variance, and project management flux.

From manufacturers to 3PL (third-party logistics) companies, these swings in low or high usage represented a level of waste as purchased lights went unused and wasted.

Pick-to-light is a fulfilment technology which uses alphanumeric displays and buttons at storage locations to guide the manual picking and recording of items for shipment.  Continue reading Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability

Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

apple homepod
The new Apple HomePod, the home automation device which mostly acts like a speaker and plays music

The global market for robotics and automation systems is growing so fast that it’s causing seasoned industry analysts to revise their forecasts. 

For example, the Boston Consulting Group released a report into the robotics which it has now updated with new numbers.

The causes of the reviews include the relatively new interest in personal robotics technology for the home, and the burgeoning market in collaborative robots for industry.

Another key development is the launch of the Apple HomePod, which, along with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, looks set to automate a huge number of homes to levels never seen before.

Continue reading Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

HMS Industrial launches new EtherNet/IP to Profibus DP linking device

hms profibus-to-ethernet-ip-linking-device

Communication specialist HMS Industrial Networks now releases the third product in their EtherNet/IP Linking Devices family.

The new EtherNet/IP to Profibus DP Linking Device allows users to connect devices on Profibus to a Rockwell ControlLogix or CompactLogix PLC.

Users will benefit from the unique integration into Studio5000 Logix Designer from Rockwell Automation, as all configuration is made from inside Studio 5000.The EtherNet/IP to Profibus DP Linking Device from HMS Industrial Networks.  Continue reading HMS Industrial launches new EtherNet/IP to Profibus DP linking device

Six new trends in home automation

Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon’s Echo Dot, the voice-controlled Alexa-enabled device, can connect to a wide range of your smart home gadgets

By Megan Wild, editor of YourWildHome.com

It’s an exciting time to be a homeowner, but it can also be overwhelming. It seems every week there is a new smart home product on the market that can automate various aspects of your life, and it can be tough to decide which direction to go.

Like all new technology, there is a certain amount of risk involved. You don’t want to jump on something too early, only for it to be outdated and forgotten about a year later.

On the flip side, there is also that natural feeling of wanting to keep up with the trends in order to maximize your home value — not to mention take advantage of all of the cool features many of these devices have.

Here are six trends in smart home automation that are relatively safe bets for the foreseeable future.  Continue reading Six new trends in home automation

Bosch partners with IBM for IoT and Industrie 4.0 applications

bosch_ibm iot

Bosch IoT Suite Services available on IBM Bluemix and Watson IoT platform

IBM and Bosch are to cooperate in the area of Internet of Things and industry 4.0.

The aim of the partnership is to provide customers with software-based services of the Bosch IoT Suite via the open standards-based platforms IBM Bluemix and IBM Watson IoT platform.

This allows millions of networked IoT devices to be efficiently updated.  Continue reading Bosch partners with IBM for IoT and Industrie 4.0 applications

Nvidia launches new board for robotics development

NVIDIA-Jetson-TX2

Company says its IoT platform for manufacturing, industrial, retail will be made possible by Nvidia’s artificially intelligent-powered Jetson 

Nvidia has unveiled the Nvidia Jetson TX2, a credit card-sized platform that it says delivers AI computing at the edge – opening the door to “powerfully intelligent” factory robots, commercial drones and smart cameras for AI cities. 

Jetson TX2 offers twice the performance of its predecessor, or it can run at more than twice the power efficiency, while drawing less than 7.5 watts of power. This allows Jetson TX2 to run larger, deeper neural networks on edge devices.

The result: smarter devices with higher accuracy and faster response times for tasks like image classification, navigation and speech recognition. Continue reading Nvidia launches new board for robotics development

Keeping costs down: The lion’s share of IoT communication

IoT compatbility for legacy systems

Adrian Swindells, director of industrial computing specialist Distec, explores how businesses can keep the cost of IoT implementation to a minimum

One of the biggest bugbears of plant managers is the cost of upgrading or replacing devices and equipment.

While this has traditionally only occurred due to a breakage, the rise of the internet of things has driven a need for cross-compatible equipment – in most cases calling for the costly replacement of legacy systems to ensure communication.

Whether you think of it as industry 4.0 or the IoT, the concept of machine to machine internetworking is undeniably the most talked about technological development of recent times.

In fact, forecasts have predicted the market for the IoT to be worth $14.4 trillion by 2022Continue reading Keeping costs down: The lion’s share of IoT communication

Healthcare’s digital revolution: Technologies transforming medicine

Healthcare's digital revolution crop

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete parts supplier, EU Automation discusses technologies that are revolutionising healthcare in the 21st century

Doctor Crawford W. Long conducted the first surgical operation under anaesthetic in 1841 in Jefferson, Georgia.

In 1841, general anaesthetic had not yet been invented, so Dr Long used diethyl ether, a chemical most commonly used to start internal combustion engines, in its place.

The surgeon pressed an ether-soaked towel to the patient’s face to put him to sleep before removing a tumour from his neck. He billed the patient two dollars for the whole procedure.  Continue reading Healthcare’s digital revolution: Technologies transforming medicine

Industrial internet: The latest trends and challenges in systems integration

Systems integration

Nick Boughton, sales manager of Boulting Technology, discusses the challenges connectivity poses for industry, particularly with regard to systems integration and the water industry

Our world is getting smaller every day.

Never before have remote locations been more accessible thanks to communications technology, smartphones and the internet.

Connected devices have infiltrated every aspect of our lives, including the most traditional industry sectors.

One question industry has been unsuccessful in answering refers to the number of connected devices that exist in the world at the moment. Gartner says that by 2020, the Internet of Things will have grown to more than 26 billion units.  Continue reading Industrial internet: The latest trends and challenges in systems integration

Industrial internet: Advantech joins LoRa Alliance

advantech

Advantech, which claims to be one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial computers and “intelligent systems”, has joined the LoRa Alliance. 

The LoRa Alliance is open, non-profit association which provides a forum for its 400 members to develop standards for internet of things technologies.

Advantech says it will provide the LoRa gateway and sensor node devices based on the M2.com open standard for Industry 4.0 and Smart City applications.  Continue reading Industrial internet: Advantech joins LoRa Alliance

Human-machine interface league: The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

Philip Oakey
What, him? Together in electric dreams… Phil Oakey of The Human League in his heyday, with mullet out of sight for once. Oakey had no idea about cloud computing.

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier EU Automation examines how digital decay is affecting industry

The 80s: an era of double denim, floppy disks and such classics as Don’t You Want Me, by The Human League. Back then, the concept of storing the vinyl collection of your standard new romantic as well as enough movies to rival the local video shop on a “cloud” was unimaginable and let’s be honest, ridiculous.

Today, data storage for consumer and industrial technology is advancing rapidly, but what does this mean for older industrial devices?

Digital decay describes storage media, or anything stored in computerised form, gradually decaying over time. Much like the spine of a well read book will crack and its pages will fade and crease, digital media is also vulnerable to breakdown and deterioration over time. For consumers, the throw out and upgrade attitude to storage devices is fine, but for industrial manufacturers it’s not quite so simple.  Continue reading Human-machine interface league: The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

CES: What’s in it for me?

The Consumer Electronics Show will be on soon. January 5-8, in Las Vegas, US. If you’re one of the lucky people going along, send us a picture or note about your highlights of the event. 

As a preview to the show, we find out from Infineon, one of the leading chipmakers for the auto market, what their view of the highlights will be, not just at CES, but also for the year ahead.

Infineon is probably going to face much more intense competition this year, mainly because of Qualcomm’s entrance into the auto marketContinue reading CES: What’s in it for me?

Bewildered by BYOD? Confused by cloud? Here’s a simple introduction

palm treo 300

Cloud-based automation software can make BYOD a secure and practical option for businesses. This kind of capability offers a tempting possibility for many businesses, as Howard Williams, marketing director of digital engagement specialist Parker Software, explains 

It might seem like they’ve been around forever, but smartphones have only been ubiquitous for the past five years. 

Before that, devices such as Handspring’s innovative Palm Treo series (pictured above)  were too far ahead of their time to take off.

The same rings true for bring your own device (BYOD), a concept that has existed for years but is only now able to be securely realised.  Continue reading Bewildered by BYOD? Confused by cloud? Here’s a simple introduction

Connected world: The death of proprietary networks

smart kettle

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of EU Automation, takes a look at one of the casualties of fluid communication in the factory – that is, the death of proprietary networks and communication protocols in favour of the uninhibited free flow of data 

Like it or not, we live in modern world of fluidity and interconnectedness in which the once ordinary now transcends all previous boundaries.

Take the humble kettle for instance. It’s a sign of the times that you can now purchase a kettle you can control from your phone via the internet. It will even send you notifications when it needs filling or if it’s at optimum temperature. Because it was hard to tell before.

Joking aside, one place where interconnectivity really is making a difference is on the factory floor.  Continue reading Connected world: The death of proprietary networks

Connecting to the cloud is improving manufacturing, says Plex

plex-manufacturing-cloud

Plex Systems, a provider of cloud enterprise resource planning software for manufacturing, says its annual survey examining the use of technology by leading manufacturers shows that increasing levels of connectivity is leading to dramatic improvements.

The 2016 Plex State of Manufacturing Technology study provides real-world insight from nearly 200 manufacturing organizations that are using technology today to meet the demands of customers, drive product innovation and improve operational efficiency.

Among the key findings, Plex found was that “cloud technology improves manufacturers’ ability to manage changing business needs”.

With the cloud, manufacturers connect the plant floor with the top floor, providing everyone access to one version of real-time data. Continue reading Connecting to the cloud is improving manufacturing, says Plex