Posted: April 2nd, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
California automation company, Automation GT, is leading the way in automation options for companies bringing manufacturing from overseas back to the US.
Simon Grant, Automation GT’s CEO and President, says the re-shoring issue has become more prevalent in during early and mid-2012. Even though most of the industry has been aware of the trend, Grant says only recently has there been a “re-awakening” of the capital budgets among his company’s Fortune 100 customers. And while a post-Great Recession economy might give major corporations more flexibility in which to consider the prospect of bringing jobs back to America, it’s not the only reason to pursue the business case.
There are the typical reasons that a manufacturer considers re-shoring, which Grant says circle around “labor cost and conditions, compliance, intellectual property and time to market.” With labor costs in China rapidly rising, more companies are starting to realize that the total cost of ownership of a given product is not quite as compelling for the off-shore side. The total cost of ownership equation now includes time in freight, which can swing wildly due to delays and weather conditions. Add in unfavorable tax-and-duty situations, and the price outlook gets even worse.
There are currently many reasons why on-shoring is beneficial, but the proximity of production to consumers to better react to customer demands.
“In a time when consumer expectations for superior goods and services continue to grow, operating closer to the demand allows companies to reduce lead times and keep up with the market’s incessantly changing demands.”
Posted: March 26th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
Two years ago, Foxconn announced that it would be phasing in up to 3 million industrial robots in an effort to reduce its labor costs. In the last year, it has started this process.
Foxconn has managed to deploy significant numbers of its new robotic workers. Over the course of last year, Foxconn managed to install 30,000-50,000 new robots in its factories, and is aiming for 300,000 more by 2014.
Because of the changing economy in China, and the fall in price for automation technology, American companies have been “reshoring” their production back the the United States. However, with Chinese companies also investing in automation technology, China may mitigate prohibitive labor costs.
Posted: March 19th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
The year-end total for manufacturing technology orders reached around $5.7 billion in 2012, up from 2011’s totals.
Orders totaled almost $500 million in December. Though this is down more than 9% from the $550 million reported in December 2011, it gives 2012 a year-end total of $5.7 billion, up 2.6% compared with 2011.
Douglas Woods, AMT’s president, points to a renaissance in U.S. manufacturing. “This also shows the resilience of the industry in the face of GDP contraction in the fourth quarter, along with fiscal and political concerns that have been overshadowing much of the general economy.”
While there was an overall rise in orders in 2012, some parts of the US increased more than others.
Regionally, it was the South that showed the greatest rise in manufacturing technology orders in 2012 — the full-year total up more than 12% over 2011. The Midwest saw only a negligible gain of 1% over the previous year. Most regions, however, tell similar stories: historical rises in year-end totals despite December numbers being down from December 2011. Only the Western region saw a year-over-year rise in December, with almost 7% higher numbers than December 2011.
Posted: March 12th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
AAEON Technology in Taipei is introducing a new touch-screen, rugged panel computer for industrial and commercial applications.
This panel PC rugged display features waterproof and 7H scratch-proof glass-covered borders for installation to match the height of the surrounding walls by adjusting the panel mount brackets for different wall depths.
The panel PC operates in temperatures from -20 to 60 degrees Celsius, has luminance of 400 candela per square meter (cd/m2), and 9-to-30-volt DC input. The 2-point multi-touch HMI touch panel computer uses the Intel Atom D2550 1.86 GHz processor with built-in passive cooling.
While this panel computer was developed for industrial automation applications, it can also be utilized in home automation, smart buildings, and energy monitoring applications.
Posted: March 5th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
At the annual ARC World Industry Forum, the factory automation industry saw some interesting changes that could be taking place in the near future.
- Invensys now has some 600 smart devices accessing its systems via the cloud in 75 sites around the globe.
- Inductive Automation announced its Module Marketplace where users can try out module apps, purchase them, and run them all without restarting the system.
- GE also is launching its own web store for its own controller systems as well as a “build your product” guide to help figure out what you need in order to build the proper system for their products.
Read more about the automation developments here http://www.automationworld.com/consumer-technology-drives-automation
Posted: February 26th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
Apple’s recent announcement that they would be investing $100 million into US manufacturing highlighted a recent trend in onshoring manufacturing. There are many benefits to this trend as well as many reason why companies are starting to bring manufacturing back to the US.
According to Grant, the onshoring movement of returning outsourced manufacturing back to the US began with labor issues in China. China’s low labor costs once compelled companies to outsource production abroad. Today, wages are five times higher than they were 12 years ago, and are estimated to continue rising at 18 percent a year, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post.
Companies were also prompted to reconsider the benefits of offshoring when Chinese workers began to resist poor labor conditions in the form of strikes and suicides. The problem became serious enough for the contract electronics assembler Foxconn Technology Group to begin automating its operations in China.
Automation GT’s Grant believes that operating automation abroad is no more effective than operating automation in the US, and for companies wishing to onshore production, automated robotics will play a key role. “We’ve seen a trend with companies wishing to be ‘reshored’,” Grant said in an interview. “They are not satisfied with the quality of products being produced abroad, and managing that from afar is a real challenge.”
Posted: February 19th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
Kepware Technologies, a software development company focused around automation communications, announced that the industrial automation market had strong growth during 2012.
Kepware realized an increase of 20 percent year over year growth in the Oil and Gas industry in 2012. This growth is attributed to marketing and business development efforts surrounding new, industry-specific communications solutions for the upstream, midstream, and downstream markets. These new solutions from Kepware include Electronic Flow Measurement (EFM) capabilities — including drivers for ABB TotalFlow devices, Fisher ROC and ROC Plus, Enron Modbus, and OMNI Flow Computers.
Posted: February 12th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
With the placement of major automation companies like Siemens and B&R, and automotive companies like Porsche and GM into the Atlanta area, Atlanta is beginning to look like the manufacturing and automation capital of the US.
McGowan says he sees Atlanta as being well suited to advanced manufacturing. “Advanced manufacturing requires a higher level of skill, and skill is increasingly gravitating toward cities more and more,” he said. With Georgia Tech, Emory, and the Centers for Disease Control all located here, he sees Atlanta as having a definite advantage for medical device manufacturers. He cited CardioMEMS, a new startup in Atlanta, as a good example of the future of medical device manufacturing in Atlanta. “CardioMEMS is manufacturing here in a small way now, but as they ramp up, we want to capture that in the city of Atlanta,” McGowan said.
A major manufacturing development Invest Atlanta is working on now involves discussions with the Department of Defense over the Fort McPherson site just south of the city.
There’s also a major the rail line convergence here, which has been the case since the founding of the city (when it was called Terminus because of its position as the end point of multiple rail lines). This fact, coupled with the recent Army Corps of Engineers’ approval to deepen the port of Savannah leads Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (McGowan’s boss) to see Atlanta becoming a major logistics center for the eastern seaboard, and that will serve as another big attractor for manufacturing.
Read the article at http://www.automationworld.com/atlanta-positions-itself-manufacturing-center
Posted: February 5th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
From 2010, there was an average of 38 percent increase in the demand for industrial robotics, with the largest demand increase coming from the automotive industry.
Like a similar study we reported on from The Freedonia Group, the IRF’s report shows that the two largest users of industrial robots are the automotive manufacturing sector, followed by electrical/electronics manufacturing. These two sectors are also the ones that the IRF expects to continue driving growth in industrial robot sales during 2012.
The International Federation of Robotics expects that this increase in demand will continue through 2015, though there will most likely be some cyclical decreases.
Between 2013 and 2015, the report says the electrical/electronics manufacturing sector will continue to increase its use of robots. That also makes sense, since this was one of the earliest manufacturing sectors to become automated. During this time period, although automotive manufacturing will continue to be the main sector that comes up with new robotics technology, it will experience what the IRF calls a cyclic decrease in robotics investment in 2013 and 2014. The previous decrease in this cycle happened between 2006 and 2009, during the global economic downturn.
Read the article here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=258342&f_src=designnews_gnews&dfpPParams=ind_182,industry_auto,industry_consumer,industry_machinery,aid_258342&dfpLayout=blog
Siemens announces collaboration to create integrated production-control and monitoring system for storage battery production facilities
Posted: January 29th, 2013 | By: Eagle Tech
Siemens, with their long standing tradition of automation technologies, has collaborated with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in order to develop better automation and monitoring technology for large-scale Lithium-ion battery producers.
Wind and solar power plants already generate large amounts of electricity. The need to supply this energy as and when required will boost demand for energy-storage devices. These in turn must become cheaper to produce – especially lithium-ion batteries – while offering high quality. The process used to manufacture such batteries, which can be as large as a shipping container, is still in its infancy. The chemical processes in the battery cells are complex and highly sensitive. The foil coating of the electrodes, for example, must not deviate from regulation thickness by more than one micrometer across the entire coated surface. What’s more, this condition must be fulfilled even though manufacturing is carried out at a speed of several tens of meters per minute.
In a recently signed cooperation agreement, KIT and Siemens agreed to collaborate on an overarching concept for an integrated production-control and monitoring system for the entire production machinery of a battery plant. The aim is to develop a primary control system that will provide online monitoring of all processes via a central computer. Sometime this year, the system is to be installed in the first production facility for lithium-ion cells of the KIT, where it will highlight the benefits in terms of product quality and reduced costs.
Read the article at http://www.nanowerk.com/news2/green/newsid=28528.php