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Industry Tools--January/February 2016

  • APICS partners
January/February 2016

Data analysis and management

Rootstock
Rootstock Software
is pilot-testing its Rootstock ERP Performance Dashboards, an app powered by the Salesforce Wave Analytics platform. The system is designed to help business users sift through big data repositories to determine patterns and performance trends within their enterprises from any device. In this way, Rootstock ERP Performance Dashboards can determine if companies are meeting planned production dates and costs, using factory and warehouse resources efficiently, and adequately maintaining inventory levels. The app also is designed to help manufacturing and distribution customers discover actionable insights on their most important key performance indicators and identify areas that need attention.

Enterprise management

IFS unveiled a prototype of its Intelligent Personal Assistant (IPA), a voice-controlled mobile phone and tablet app that enables users to search for and update data within their enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems. The hands-free feature makes it possible to communicate with the IPA when wearing gloves, doing work that requires both hands, or even while stuck in traffic, the company says. In this way, the app can service sales reps en route to a client as well as technicians in the field who need quick access to information. In addition, the voice-controlled feature offers users a quick, easy, and intuitive way to connect with their ERP systems, IFS says.

Life cycle management

Aras announced the availability of its Aras Innovator 11 product life cycle management suite in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The software includes multidisciplinary bills of material management, configuration management, change workflows, stage-gate projects, computer-aided-design integration, and more to help companies manage complex products that incorporate electronics, software, and mechanical designs. The cloud-based system also enables off-site teams to participate in supply chain co-development initiatives, joint ventures, rapidly evolving product lines, and other fast-paced environments. Aras Innovator 11 can be switched to hybrid or on-premise modes as needed.

Packaging

ORBIS
ORBIS
released PlastiCorr, its first plastic, reusable corrugated box for automated packing lines. PlastiCorr features the company’s patented Enfold technology, which ensures that box flaps return to a straight position after every use, in preparation for reuse. The solution also is designed for use on manual and automatic packaging lines operating at a variety of speeds. In addition, the all-plastic design is free of the dust that fiber corrugated boxes can produce, does not absorb moisture or odors, and is easy to clean. From an environmental standpoint, ORBIS says PlastiCorr can offer companies a 74 percent cumulative energy savings, an 89 percent water-consumption savings, and a 61 percent solid-waste savings, compared with fiber corrugated boxes.

Printpack
Printpack
debuted new technology for applying photochromic ink to standard graphics on flexible packages. The flexible packaging industry historically has faced challenges applying photochromic ink to products, particularly in high-speed production environments, the company says. To help this packaging segment add an interactive element to its products, Printpack leaders say the company’s method enables ink to be applied while upholding the integrity of the packaging design.

RFID

Milwaukee Cylinder
Milwaukee Cylinder
announced its new radio frequency identification (RFID) solution for identification and maintenance tracking of tie rod cylinders. The RFID tags, produced by Balluff, come pre-loaded with cylinder identifying information and maintenance kit information for easy maintenance preparation. Once maintenance is complete, the date and work comments can be recorded to the tag for future use. The solution’s RFID tags and Milwaukee Cylinder RFID tag mounting systems are designed to be rugged and offer high-frequency transmittance as well as tag placement on any side of a tie rod for easy access.

Shop floor 

ATI Industrial Automation
ATI Industrial Automation
introduced its Capacitive Force/Torque Sensor as a low-cost solution for industrial robots and pressing force control, grinding, and deburring machines. The sensor is designed to measure the six components of force and torque in amounts up to 45 pound-forces and 35 inch-pounds of torque, respectively. These readings can be output via an Ethernet connection or USB cable to a personal computer or other devices. ATI’s Capacitive Force/Torque Sensor is Ingress-Protection-65-rated for protection against dust and water spray and includes hard mechanical stops for overload protection.

Konecranes released its ergonomic XA Aluminum Workstation Crane System to help facility employees reduce cumulative trauma from repetitive lifting motions. Current thinking suggests that loads greater than 40 pounds require a lift assist, and XA is designed to help move these smaller loads that do not require a large crane. The XA system bolts together, can be used with a manual or electric chain hoist or with Konecranes’ ATB AirBalancer, and can be expanded with extensions to accommodate larger loads. Its aluminum framework operates with 50 percent less rolling resistance than steel I-beam systems, reducing the need for motorized drives, and is 50 percent lighter than traditional steel runway systems.

SI Systems
SI Systems
launched its SideFinger towline assembly in-floor conveyor system, which features a 6-inch-deep track installation. This depth takes into consideration existing pipes and infrastructure materials below the floor, minimizing installation time and costs, the company says. In terms of productivity, the SideFinger towline can move up to 210,000 pounds at speeds as fast as 100 feet per minute. It also comes equipped with a remote virtual private network controls diagnostics package, enabling personnel to check on system health and proactively address issues that could potentially cause downtime.

Transportation management

Odyssey Logistics & Technology
introduced its new Web Integrated Network (WIN), a cloud-based transportation management solution. As a carrier-neutral service, WIN gives clients complete control and visibility over their logistics as well as the ability to select among the best rates for shipping with their own carriers, WIN carriers and brokers, and the spot market. In this way, WIN can increase productivity and save time by automating carrier selection, spot quotes, load tendering, tracking and tracing, reporting, and carrier performance evaluation. WIN’s open-market model supports truckload, less-than-truckload, intermodal, and bulk transportation options and can easily integrate with legacy systems through Jitterbit, a third-party cloud-integration solution.

Warehousing

Clearpath Robotics
Clearpath Robotics
announced its first self-driving warehouse robot, OTTO. Designed to assist with intelligent heavy-load transport in industrial environments, OTTO does not rely on external infrastructure for navigation. This makes the system highly scalable, easy to install, and adaptable to changing warehouses, the company says. It also can transport 3,300-pound loads at speeds of up to 4.5 miles per hour while monitoring its path to avoid collisions. Applications for OTTO include moving pallets in a warehouse or across a dock or for kitting or assembly line delivery, all while increasing throughput and decreasing operating costs.

Crown Equipment
Crown Equipment
added a transceiver strap wireless remote as a wearable option for operators of its QuickPick Remote order-picking system. Adjustable straps secure the transceiver to the operator’s wrist and finger, leaving hands free for low-level order picking, the company says. The wearable device also includes a thumb-actuated button for communicating with a connected forklift, while a wireless transceiver on the back of the strap receives radio frequency signals from the forklift. Crown’s transceiver strap wireless remote is designed to fit over all glove types, making it useful for cold environments, including freezers and coolers.

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