Packaging World Header Pat Reynolds
Add to Address Book Forward MARCH 6, 2014
Sponsored by:
ProSoft Technology Inc.
Scalable Modbus Solutions for CompactLogix
Scalable Modbus solutions for CompactLogix
ProSoft Technology's MVI69 E/L product lines were developed to provide users with scalable solutions to connect non-Rockwell networks to CompactLogix L3x and L2x control systems.
ProSoft Technology Inc.
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VIDEO: Understanding Modbus
VIDEO: Understanding Modbus
Learn more about Modbus Communication by watching this informative video.
ProSoft Technology Inc.
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Is your Legacy Control System Stuck in Another Era?
Is your legacy control system stuck in another era?
Is your legacy control system stuck in the ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s? ProSoft Technology help users migrate legacy DCS’, PLCs, drives and PanelViews to their newer counterparts. New technology helps minimize the risk of unscheduled downtime.
ProSoft Technology Inc.
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802.11n (abgn) Industrial Hotpsots with Fast Roaming
802.11n (abgn) Industrial hotpsots with fast roaming
ProSoft Technology's 802.11abgn Fast Industrial Hotspots offer high speed 802.11n RF data rates up to 300Mbps and Fast Roaming, supporting applications with moving machinery & platforms.
ProSoft Technology Inc.
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Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Need some good reading material? In the latest edition of ProSoft Magazine, we feature an article about ProSoft's migration solutions being utilized in a United Kingdom brewery.
ProSoft Technology Inc.
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Beckhoff: EtherCAT box for acceleration and angle measurement >>
The compact EP1816-3008 EtherCAT box from Beckhoff, an IP 67-rated I/O solution for measurement in harsh industrial environments, features built-in tilt monitoring in longitudinal and transverse directions.
Bodine: Gearmotors with AC models >>
Bodine Electric’s expanded FX line of parallel shaft gearmotors includes the all-new 42R6-FX, which combines a new, 3-wire reversible 42R frame AC induction motor with a completely redesigned and updated FX gearhead to provide up to 40% more torque than previous E/F models.
B&R: High-power servo motors >>
Available in two sizes with speeds up to 3,000 rpm, B&R’s highly-efficient 8KS series servo motors provide up to 140 kW of power and stall torque up to 555 Nm.
AutomationDirect: Ultrasonic liquid level sensors >>
Designed to replace float, conductance, and pressure sensors, AutomationDirect’s Flowline EchoTouch, EchoSpan, and EchoSwitch lines of ultrasonic liquid level sensors and transmitters, as well as the PodView digital level indicator, are suitable for small, medium, and large capacity tanks.
Balluff: Industrial ethernet cables >>
Available with M12 D-coded and/or RJ45 connectors, Balluff¹s 4 conductor cables – PUR Shielded Starquad Flex 2 million, PVC Shielded STP, TPE Unshielded Flex 10 million, and TPE Shielded STP 2 pair: FT1 – are designed for almost any industrial Ethernet application.
Economic recovery will be shaped by automation solutions
Packaging World Contributing Writer Keith Campbell is spot on when he warns that as the economy recovers, the jobs that will become available will not be the same jobs that were lost when the economy declined. Reproduced here from Campbell's On The Edge Blog are his thoughts on a truly significant workforce development challenge we face today. If you want to reach Campbell, click here.

If workers have been sitting at home collecting unemployment checks without retooling their skills, they will likely be left behind for some time or find that their new job won't pay what their old one did. For companies hoping to expand, this also creates a challenge. First mover advantage will go to those companies that acquire skilled talent and develop employee loyalty before a bidding war breaks out. Companies that defer, will face the prospect of having to attract new employees with higher compensation, having to foot the bill for accelerated training programs, or having to sit out the recovery.

Thursday's Wall Street Journal once again commented on the jobless recovery in an article by Theo Francis "Why Hiring Lags Even as U.S.. Factories Hum". The article cites automation as a leading, but not the only factor in this trend. Many smaller plants have gone without automation or only experimented with it before the downturn. With interest rates relatively low and with government policy discouraging adding new hires, owners will increasingly turn to automated systems as they add capacity. Traditional factory jobs will be replaced with engineering jobs to design automated systems. The building of these systems will be done with skilled labor, too often overseas. Systems integrators and skilled contractors will install and set up these new lines and multi-skilled mechatronics technicians will maintain them at peak efficiency. Significantly fewer but more computer-savy operators will turn out products of higher quality and lower cost in an expanding economy.

Lest we think that these trends only affect manufacturing jobs, I was recently reminded by some folks at The National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education that retail jobs and material handler jobs are being converted in a like manner. Order fulfillment is becoming a highly automated process, using mechatronic systems that look much like the world-class production systems found in consumer goods manufacturing plants. And it is unfortunate to report, that my own recent purchasing experiences confirm that, even when I try to buy locally, there are many things that can no longer be found locally, leaving the internet and automated fulfillment as my only alternative.

From the manufacturers' perspective, they face the following: their pool of talent is disproportionately filled with baby boomers who are aging; their pool is being drained doubly fast by those people who would normally be expected to retire now and by those who deferred retirement due to the down-economy; the walls of the pool are getting higher as the level of technology in their plants increases; standing around the pool are people who can't swim and aren't able to jump in to this deeper water; across the street, their competitors' pools are in the same situation; and on the edge of town, new pools are being built for companies who are trying to re-shore manufacturing and for non-manufacturers who need the same skilled swimmers for order fulfillment plants, agriculture and a host of other industries that are being affected by information technology and mechatronics.

Manufacturers, educators, and others - take note! We need change - a new paradigm for creating a skilled workforce. It will take some time. If we have the good fortune of an imminent recovery, we won't have enough time, and there will be some pain to endure in the interim. Smart manufacturers will be taking steps now to mitigate the coming pain and smart workers will be acquiring new skills to benefit from it.

Watch for strategies and best practices to solve the intermediate and longer-term problem in the upcoming Manufacturing Workforce Development Playbook to be published this Spring by the folks at Packaging World, Automation World and Healthcare Packaging. If you have good ideas to share, get in touch with me. Let's solve this thing!
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Featured Video
WestPack 2014: Automation products
Drive- and control-based products, including Sercos bus system designed for safety; open core engineering tool that connects IT and PLC systems. Offer API programming interfaces, so software designers can develop solutions for machine control. Also, a demonstration of Android app that simulates motion that helps machines connect with one another on the floor to a higher-level control system.
New interface tool tightly integrates robots and packaging machines
3D printing + an automated changeover tool
Bush Brothers likes automated tracking of downtime
Social media and manufacturing
Announcement 1 Learn how MWV's machine design process maximizes profitability
MWV's Director of Engineering, Lee Miller, will discuss how packagers can maximize packaging line throughput and profitability using integrated motor/drive technology. Learn from MWV, Sprint, 3M, Bush Bros., and other market leaders about how automation can drive efficiency for packagers. Plan to attend The Automation Conference in Chicago, May 20-21.
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