Several Cincomers recently took a field trip to Dayton, Ohio to visit the 2012 Advanced Manufacturing Technology Show at the Dayton Airport Expo Center.
Several hundred vendors were on hand to showcase the latest in manufacturing technology. There was a lot to see, and for me, it was a great opportunity to see and learn about technology that you would not be able to experience without visiting many different manufacturing facilities.
3-D printing – There were several booths with working printers fabricating parts and products including wrenches, gears, ball bearings, structural components and other intricate objects. This amazing technology is like something out of science fiction. 3-D printers are even available for home use now with prices below a thousand dollars for base models.
Abrasive water jet cutting tools – These machines are able to cut through nine-inch thick steel with laser precision. Unlike other traditional cutting tools, this technology leaves a finished edge. This eliminates multiple steps in the manufacturing process saving time and tooling expenses.
Robots – Vendors demonstrated the precise dexterity these machines are capable of. Robots were performing multiple-step processes involving many complex movements, turns and positioning. One machine I saw was set up to perform a mixture of actions with each part drawer providing supplies for different jobs. As jobs queued up, the robot would pick one drawer or the other as dictated by the job, and the correct part was extracted, worked and placed into a finished queue, ready for the next step.
Jeff Mueller, Cincom account executive, commented, “The show was a great opportunity to see the future and to talk with vendors about how their particular technology fit into the whole manufacturing process. It gave me a good perspective on how ERP, MES and other technologies interact with one another in the real world.”
The perspective I got from the show, that I really had never considered before, was one of teamwork and collaboration. Our software makes a large contribution to the success of our customers, but our piece is one of many. The whole puzzle is a collaboration of the work, creativity, product and knowledge of many people from many different companies.
When a plant kicks out a new car, airplane or radio, we all should feel a bit of pride in the fact that we contributed to that product. Our software, our expertise and our knowledge is built into that product just as much as any bolt or rivet.
Manufacturing is alive and well here in southwest Ohio. The future is indeed bright. The future is also very exciting.