Rawlik/Dreamstime and Tanida Ruangsawat/Dreamstime
Sandwich with 5 for Friday logo

5 for Friday: Manufacturing Focus on Food: Sandwiches, Ice Cream and Lunch

Feb. 24, 2023
Machine Design takes a look at the past week, and a look ahead to the issues facing the design and manufacturing sector.

1. How to Sandwich a Robot Into Your Plant

Ever heard artificial intelligence explained in the context of food? In a recent Machine Design interview that looked at larger industry trends for 2023, Erik Schluntz, co-founder and chief technology officer of Cobalt Robotics, talked about the concept of Large Language Models (LLM) in its simplest terms.  

“If someone gave the instruction of, ‘Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,’ it could convert the language into the step-by-step instructions of ‘find bread, find peanut butter, find jelly, put them together.’ In the past, that could also be programmed by hand,” Schluntz said. From there, Schultz said that the program should be able to learn how to make other sandwiches based on the learning gained from the peanut butter and jelly model.

Make mine a ham and Swiss on wheat with mayo.

2. The Nuts and Bolts of Bolts

Machine Design’s galleries are popular ways to gather a ton of quick information in an engaging way. This month’s entry gets down to brass tacks by taking a deeper dive into bolts. Beyond the fundamentals of fastening, the gallery looks at the creative ways engineers have evolved the use of specific bolts for wider applications. Past galleries have studied components such as gears and bearings. We think this one on bolts really pulls this series together.

3. A New Model for Design and Maintenance

One of the most important concepts I learned when I first started in the manufacturing sector was the idea of Design-Operate-Maintain as presented by the ARC Advisory Group. It helped clarify and focus the individual functions of those important teams.

But fast-forward 20 years and now we’re looking at integrated, data-driven systems that have to be viewed as a single ecosystem. Design still is a function of that process, but it now happens within the context of designing systems to be able to effectively operate and maintain them. The silos are coming down, and this systematic approach to design is proving to save time, money and manpower at a moment when all three are in scarce supply.

We’re going to be discussing the ways maintenance impacts (and should impact) design with my good friend Shon Isenhour, an expert in the field of maintenance and owner of Eruditio LLC, at a Machine Design webinar March 3 at 2 p.m. EST. The webinar will look at why considering the maintenance and operations of a machine or system first can pay dividends throughout the manufacturing process, and why should bring their operations and maintenance team members in at the start of the design process to ensure a successful outcome with fewer delays and a faster time to market for products. 

4. Design For Manufacturing and Assembly

Design in manufacturing continues to evolve—not just as it relates to maintenance but as it relates to every corner of the manufacturing enterprise. Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) is a concept gaining great momentum in the age of digital twins and smart manufacturing.

Machine Design will take an in-depth look at this concept and its application at our first Engineering Academy event for 2023: Design for Manufacturing and Assembly. The on-demand portal opens on March 23, but registration for the event is open now. It’s a great event for a lunch-and-learn with your team and it will include a panel discussion on how to get started, a look at how system integration enables brownfield adoption of DFMA and a case study that looks at how this concept has been applied in manufacturing.

In the end, the audience will come away with a look at how to create better products faster, with less waste and more flexibility.

5. We All Scream For IFPE!

One of the traditional highlights at the International Fluid Power Exposition, to be held this year March 14-18 in Las Vegas, is the ice cream social presented by Power & Motion, our affiliate publication. I’ll be at the Power & Motion booth (South Hall lobby, SL80130) on March 15 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to hand out scoops—and also some ice cream.

Power & Motion editor Sara Jensen has put together a comprehensive list of tips and tricks to attend IFPE, which will be one of the largest manufacturing and construction equipment shows in the world this year.

IFPE highlights fluid power, power transmission and motion control technologies, and with electric vehicles emerging as the future of transportation, these technologies will be essential to the development of the EV market. At a time when the EV market continues to expand, particularly with construction equipment, and as the electrification of motion continues to be a focus of distributors and suppliers, this show is an essential event for manufacturing leaders of all stripes. Power & Motion has established a special channel to provide attendees with an in-depth preview of the companies and technologies at the 2023 event. You can access the IFPE channel here.

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