DULUTH, GA – Robots, virtual reality, smart glasses. This is some of the technology being used today to make factories so efficient as manufacturing jobs have now become more advanced than ever. It’s a far cry from the setting many people have pictured.
Suzanne Lauda, Director of Global Advancement Technology with Duluth, Georgia-based AGCO says, “In the old days, manufacturing had a very bad reputation for being dark, dirty, dingy, and dangerous. That’s not the case anymore. If you see what we are doing here, you can do most everything by the push of a button.”
Maybe nothing exemplifies the technological advancements more than this portable smart robot, that can be taught a number of different responsibilities in a matter of moments.
Thomas Enghof, Director of Manufacturing Engineering with AGCO Fendt, says “I can give him tasks with the QR codes. The camera understands the QR codes and the programed tasks behind it. Therefore, I can bring him to any space I prepare for the COBOT and the COBOT will realize the difference and immediately start with the assigned work.”
This provides workers with a pair of extra hands to perform any menial task anywhere in the factory.
“It makes us more efficient because we can concentrate our human workforce to do the things where creative work is necessary, intuitive work and tangible work is necessary, and let the COBOTs do the rest,” says Enghof.
One of the staples for factory workers are safety glasses. However, these provide much more than safety, as they help organization and quality assurance.
“Wearable technologies mean eyewear. So, we have people that are wearing glasses for work. They have work instructions that they get preloaded onto the glasses or they have checklists for the quality inspection at the end of the line,” says Lauda.
VR and simulations have also become vitally important in making big decisions on how to design the work flow and training workers in a safe environment.
Gary Dsouza with Global Manufacturing Engineering says, “simulation helps us run scenarios ahead of time before we go in and do any physical changes in the line. It helps us evaluate different scenarios, different set ups in the line. For example, if I wanted to make my line bend this way, bend that way, go out the door, go back in, different layout, shapes, and forms, we can do that virtually before we start making any changes in the line. With the programing portion of it, it saves us a lot of time on having to manually program robots. So, that will definitely help there. From the virtual reality itself, it will help you get the workers familiar with what the new area is going to be like, so there’s definitely a training aspect to it.”
With the manufacturing of farming equipment being so efficient, companies are able to pass along the savings to the customers. However, those lower prices don’t mean companies are skimping on the quality.
“Farmers expect state of the art equipment with perfect quality. That requires a lot of up front planning because once the product is out of the door, it’s too late, you have to do that work before it hits the market,” says Lauda.
By: Damon Jones