A microcosm of the evolution of modern metal fabrication has unfolded outside Chicago since November of last year. A dumbwaiter manufacturer having roots going back to the 1880s, Matot’s Bellwood, Ill., factory, with its unassuming brick façade, houses a typical high-product-mix operation. Some dumbwaiters are floor-loading, some are loaded at waist-level, and all are customized for the building. There’s a common template for product families, but options abound. One dumbwaiter doesn’t entirely resemble the next. It’s engineered to order.
Posts Tagged ‘Robotics’
By: Tim Heston
What a crowd in Las Vegas. Official attendance numbers, which are audited, aren't released yet, but early estimates are that today may have been one of FABTECH's most well-attended opening days.
Vendors I spoke with were happy with the crowds, and attendees said their shops were busy. Some have seen a little softening of late. Some are very worried about what will happen in Washington. But for the most part, people say business is good.
Admittedly, show attendees may not be the best representative sample of the industry. Businesses in dire situations probably don't bother attending the show at all. Regardless, the metal forming and fabricating niche remains a bright spot in manufacturing and the economy overall.
Today, two booths, coincidentally adjacent to one another, really showed what manufacturing may look like a generation from now.
By: Tim Heston
Last week I called a manager of a heavy fabrication operation. We chatted briefly, but after a few minutes he had to go. He told me six of his operators hadn’t shown up that morning, so shop managers were scrambling.
Then I saw a headline on the front page of the Sunday New York Times: “Skilled work, without the worker: New wave of deft robots is changing global industry.”
Industry leaders continue to scream for good people, those with good attitudes, work ethic, and (ideally) technical aptitude. Sometimes, managers are just looking for people who actually show up. Meanwhile, mass media conveys the idea that robots are taking over the modern factory. No wonder manufacturing has trouble attracting enough people.
By: Tim Heston
Spring is the time for showers, flowers, and open house tours.
When April rolls around, technology developers and service providers open their doors to supply chain partners, customers, and even employees. It's a cost-effective way to reach out and share knowledge about what's happening in the marketplace and what's coming down the pike in terms of new products or services.
It's also the time of year for me to hit the road. I'm kind of like the weird uncle you have to invite. He makes most people uncomfortable, but if he's not there, then grandma is really going to be mad. Yes, most people feel obligated to invite the industry press.
By: Vicki Bell
Although I'm an avid tennis fan, this post is not paying homage to John McEnroe, who often uttered the words "you cannot be serious" and sundry words I can't repeat to umpires and line judges in matches. Rather, the statement was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read about a new product introduction this week. I guess the imaginations of product designers—particularly lonely designers—know no bounds or taste.