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Manufacturing Automation: 3 Key Technologies for Improved Safety and ROI

October 06, 2021
Manufacturing is without doubt one of the largest economic sectors, contributing 11% of total GDP in the U.S. Like several markets, manufacturers felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and are trying to reach pre-pandemic levels. Manufacturing processes are being forced to be reviewed for more efficient and leaner operations, to accommodate employment challenges and improve labor safety, all while keeping operating costs low and return on investment high. Compact and scalable automation options are trending across consumer-facing markets like grocery and retail but when it comes to manufacturing, leading advanced technologies are also proving to be foundational for future growth.

Automated Empty Case Delivery via Robots and Overhead Monorail

August 18, 2021
In many distribution centers, timely order fulfillment relies on operators having access to empty boxes so that they can quickly complete their picks. This is often completed by building a box and then delivering it to the operator within the pick module. The question is – “What is the best way to get the box from the box erector to the operator?”

Accurately Visualize Robotic Systems with Computer Simulations

June 09, 2021
As industrial robotic technology has improved over the years, so has related simulation software. So much so, that a majority of the upfront programming for a robotic system is typically now completed in simulation software first before being implemented in a physical robot. The sophisticated software programs used for robotic simulations replicate real world robotic conditions within a 3D virtual environment. These tools allow for detailed customization providing a reliably clear view of how a robot will operate before its built and integrated. This gives customers peace of mind of how their investment will support their operations.

Top 3 Myths about Industrial Robotic Integration

April 07, 2021
In today’s environment, technology and automation are growing and advancing at a drastic speed. Recent investments by venture capital and private equity firms are further evidence of that rapid growth. Whether industries are looking to increase the amount of throughput in their facility, reduce or eliminate any ergonomic risks, or increase overall efficiency of the operation, the right combination of technology and automation in an industrial robot can provide the solution. So why are some individuals still hesitant about implementing industrial robots? Common misconceptions in our industry could be playing a part in that. The top three most common myths touch on ROI, applications, and complexity.

Investments are Causing Massive Disruption in the Automation and Robotics Field

March 17, 2021
Technology and automation have had a place in distribution and supply chains for decades. Typically, high-end automation was reserved for the largest multi-national organizations with ample capital and a vision to improve efficiencies in their supply chain. While the technology adoption curve is much more mature in Europe than North America, N. American business investment in supply chain automation and distribution is increasing rapidly due to changing customer buying behavior, labor shortages, ecommerce adoption, and access to various technologies both mature and emerging. The amount of new technologies emerging to support distribution and supply chain automation is also rapidly increasing; and for good reason.

Smarter Robotic Each Picking, Now Powered by AI

March 10, 2021
Robots have been around for a while now and some may now consider them a commodity. They take inputs – product dimensions, pick and place locations – and produce outputs – finished pallets, unloaded or loaded machines. The inputs and outputs are controlled and consistent. What happens when the inputs and outputs can’t be controlled? Are you out of luck? Not anymore! Bastian Solutions has implemented robotic systems that allow robots to see, reason, and act to unknown inputs and produce desired outputs.

10 Types of Ancillary Equipment for Industrial Robotic Systems

September 03, 2020
Now, more than ever, companies struggle to staff industrial areas due to the ongoing labor shortage. Pair this with slim margins, and the need to improve efficiencies, lower labor costs, and improve quality is magnified. One avenue to accomplish this, is through an industrial robotic system. Robotic systems can accomplish many tasks within an industrial environment, including palletizing, depalletizing, case packing, machine tending, and many other roles.

Implementing AGVs with Robotic Palletizing Systems

August 05, 2020
An automated guided vehicle’s (AGV) key role when interacting with robots is the delivery/removal of materials. Special attention needs to be given to interaction points in order to have a successful automation ecosystem

Microfulfillment Part 1: What is Microfulfillment?

July 22, 2020
Without a doubt, microfulfillment is one of the hottest trends in supply chain. The ability to get products into consumers’ hands quicker than your competitors is the ultimate leg up, so not only is it a trend, but it’s a strategy enabling today’s retailers to decentralize fulfillment, create a better customer experience and redefine the retail landscape. So, what is it?

How Automation is Helping During a Pandemic

May 14, 2020
Because of COVID-19, many manufacturing companies are finding themselves needing to change operating procedures. Here's how automation is helping one company make much-needed PPE.

Finding the Right Solution: Supercapacitors vs. Batteries

August 28, 2019
When making a decision, it’s important to fully consider the benefits and disadvantages of each available option. Here's how we decided between supercapacitors and batteries when developing our warehouse robots.

The Customizable Gripper That’s Changing Robotic Handling

March 26, 2019
Until recently, handling delicate products required a human touch. The flexibility and dexterity of Soft Robotics' new modular collaborative robot gripper kit changes that.

5 Questions to Ask When Considering AGVs

November 30, 2018
Wondering whether automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are the right solution for your material handling problem? These 5 questions will help. Read: 5 Questions to Ask When Considering AGVs

How to Avoid the 6 Most Common Pitfalls of Robotic Palletizing System Startups

June 07, 2018
“Garbage in, garbage out.” As this phrase applies to robotic palletizing systems, the system outputs, particularly built pallet quality and throughput rates, are directly tied to the quality of the system inputs. To avoid issues, it's critical to ensure quality products, pallets as well as downstream and upstream processes. Read: How to Avoid Common Pitfalls of Robotic Palletizing System Startups

Robotic Truck Loading is the Future of Shipping Dock Automation

April 19, 2018
Automation has reached almost every corner of modern warehouses, but one area often still lacks efficiency—shipping and receiving docks. In these areas, an employee is often required to manually lift and handle cases, causing injury and discomfort. This is leading companies to search for automated solutions for improved ergonomics. Read: Robotic Truck Loading is the Future of Shipping Dock Automation

Collaborative Robots Part 2: Benefits and Expanding Capabilities

November 16, 2017
Industrial robots play a large part in the automation of industrial environments, but collaborative robots are expanding the realm of possibility. In part two of our series, we’re discussing the benefits of collaborative robots, and why that makes them a growing piece of today's modern manufacturing and distribution puzzle. Read: Collaborative Robot Benefits

Collaborative Robots Part 1: Pros, Cons, and Applications

November 14, 2017
Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of cobots, where do they make the most sense?  Typically, they’ll find homes in applications where they move light products relatively slowly. Read: Collaborative Robots Part 1

Is it Time to Automate Your Machine Tending?

July 18, 2017
With the continued advancement of the automotive industry and the high demand placed on manufacturers, is it time to automate your machine tending operation? Read: It is Time to Automate your Machine Tending?

Top 10 Things to Know About Robotic Palletizing

February 07, 2017
There are many factors to consider when implementing a robotic palletizer. What goes into creating an efficient and robust palletizer, and what can determine the overall success of your solution? Here are ten important aspects of robotic palletizing systems you should know. Read: Top 10 Things to Know About Robotic Palletizing

The Top 4 Benefits of a Robotic Document Inserter

January 04, 2017
A Robotic Document Inserter can accurately place the proper paperwork into your case or carton every time and can ease the demand on your operational team. Read: The Top Benefits of a Robotic Document Inserter

Is the World ready for the New Frontier of Robotic End of Arm Tooling?

November 01, 2016
With recent innovations in technology, Robotic End of Arm Tooling concepts are rapidly becoming a reality in today's manufacturing environment. These innovations are helping manufacturers increase productivity and efficiency in their operations. Read: The New Frontier of Robotic End of Arm Tooling

Top 10 Things to Know About Industrial Robots

September 08, 2016
The need to reduce labor cost, improve ergonomics, maximize system efficiency and speed, and improve product quality has never been more vital than right now. Here are ten important aspects of industrial robotic systems you should know. Read: Top 10 Things to Know About Industrial Robots

Leaning on Smart Manufacturing

August 16, 2016
In the modern world of industrial robots and manufacturing, there are many new and innovative ideals being proposed as guidelines to streamline the mechanisms cranking out the incredible magnitude of products populating our world today. For instance, the Lean Manufacturing movement. Read: Leaning on Smart Manufacturing

How to Choose and Work with a Robotics Integrator

July 07, 2016
Choosing the proper integrator to partner with to accomplish an organization’s strategic goals for robotic automation is not a trivial task. Companies have several avenues that they explore when it comes to gathering information, soliciting bids, evaluating, and selecting an integration partner. Read: How to Choose a Robotics Integrator

It is Not Bad to Be Wrong: Learning is a Journey

June 08, 2016
Even though I have been in the industry for nearly six years, I still see myself as a fresh out of college engineer. During those six years, I have had many memorable learning experiences where I have translated classroom knowledge into real-world applications. Without a doubt, my biggest and most important learning experiences have come when I or my team made a mistake. Read: It is Not Bad to Be Wrong: Learning is a Journey

Machine Tending Robots: The Importance of Part Positioning

February 10, 2016
One of the key aspects of a robotic machine tending system is part positioning. It is critical during the design process to understand the interface between the part, machine center, and robot. Read: Machine-Tending Robots: The Importance of Part Positioning

Ergonomic Benefits of Industrial Robotics

November 05, 2015
Hundreds of thousands of people have to deal with risky work environments, dodging workplace injuries, and making it home to their families every day. There are industry shifts, however, that are seeking to reduce the need for utilizing human labor in these inherently risky operations and shifting them to safer tasks in the facility. Read: Ergonomic Benefits of Robotics

Robotic Cell Layout Considerations

October 09, 2015
In a robotic application, many times the goals are safety, labor-cost, throughput, or ergonomics. Once the system type is defined, technical requirements are stated, and the goals are established, one of the most crucial ingredients to a successful project is an efficient system layout. Read: Robotic Cell Layout Considerations

Project Spotlight: New Robotic Bag Palletizing EoAT

September 23, 2015
Bastian Robotics recently redesigned and upgraded our robotic bag palletizing End of Arm Tool (EoAT) to accommodate a wider range of products with the same base tool. Similar to past renditions, this tool still has a clamshell design and interfaces with our custom bag pick conveyor. Read: New Robotic Bag Palletizing EoAT

Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Industry

September 17, 2015
Industrial robots have been associated with the automotive industry ever since their inception over 50 years ago. Back in 1962, Unimation’s UNIMATE was installed in General Motors’ New Jersey plant, making it the very first industrial robot to ever be used by a major manufacturer. However, it wasn’t until about 20 years later when industrial robots truly became synonymous with the auto industry. Read: Industrial Robotics in the Automotive Industry

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance for Your Automation Systems

September 03, 2015
We’re hearing more and more from material handling and packaging automation facilities that having spare parts on hand is a luxury they can’t afford. But what is your facility sacrificing if your production line comes to a screeching halt when a component fails? Read: Importance of Preventative Maintenance

My Favorite Pop Culture Robots

August 31, 2015
Before I began my career at Bastian Robotics, my main exposure to the world of robotics wasn’t through the world of industrial automation. No, I pictured robots more like the ones I saw in movies or read about in books; evil robots trying to take over the world, or heroes in epic space adventures. There have been so many iconic robots in popular culture throughout history. Here are a few of my favorites. Read: My Favorite Pop Culture Robots

Project Spotlight: Utilizing the Auxiliary Axis Servo of a Robot

August 11, 2015
In this month’s project highlight, we’re diving into a recent project in which we used the auxiliary axis on a robot to control the sweeper bar on a row forming conveyor. This allowed us to add an additional axis of integrated motion to the robot, giving us 7-axes of motion. Read: Using the Auxiliary Axis Servo of a Robot

Your Complete Guide to Robotic Case Packing Systems

July 23, 2015
Robot-based automation is also an excellent alternative to manual operation. In addition to increased up-time and total throughput, fewer accidents and increasingly demanding workplace ergonomics are compelling reasons to make the shift to robotics. In the packaging industry, robots generally fall into two main areas: pick and place applications and feed placement... Read: Your Complete Guide to Robotic Case Packing Systems

The Most Important Factors of a Robot in a Machine Tending Application

June 16, 2015
When deciding what machine tending robot best fits your application, it is important to look at a number of criteria and weigh the pros and cons of each to figure out which robot is the best fit. Read: Factors for a Successful Machine Tending Robot Application

Robotics in the Food and Beverage Industry

May 28, 2015
As government regulations become more stringent, retailer demands continue to increase, and competition intensifies, the need for robots has never been more imperative for success in the food and beverage industry. Read: Robotics in the Food and Beverage Industry

How to Get the Most Life Out of Your Industrial Robot

April 30, 2015
There are several ways an industrial robot can wear out sooner than intended. On average, most companies plan to get more than eight years of service out of a robot. However, some companies have robots that are still running after nearly 20 years. What causes some companies to get more or less use out of their robots? Read: Increasing the Life Span of an Industrial Robot

Project Spotlight: Integrating a Transfer Robot

April 22, 2015
In this month’s product highlight, we are going to focus on a very important aspect of a recent case packing project--the transfer robot. Bastian Robotics developed a robotic case packing system that required the orientation of the product to be changed 90° from the production line prior to inserting it into the case... Read: Integrating a Transfer Robot

New Goods-to-Robot Systems Take E-Fulfillment to the Next Level

February 23, 2015
In the past decade, order fulfillment lead times have become increasingly aggressive with eCommerce sites promising as quick as 1-hour delivery of certain items. To fulfill these demands, goods-to-person systems were introduced, but taking it one step further, goods-to-robot systems offer speed, accuracy, and flexibility like never before. Read: Goods-to-Robot Systems for E-Fulfillment

Robotic End of Arm Tools: Get a Grip on Your Product (part II)

February 03, 2015
A colleague wrote earlier about the ways of getting a grip on a product. He emphasized the importance of the robotic end of arm tool (EoAT) to the system even though it may seem like a small component. He also delved into the many ways the robotic EoAT can be used. I wanted to use this article to expand on his ideas and describe how this gripping action is accomplished. Read: Get a Grip on Your Product (part II)

Engineering Meets Fashion Design

January 26, 2015
Engineering Meets Fashion Design. It's not everyday you see the words engineering and fashion used together in the same sentence; they seem to be about as opposite as you can get. Yet, surprisingly, these two seemingly opposite careers have several similarities. Abigail Messmer, a Field Service Technician at Bastian Robotics, has a passion for both of these disciplines and has found a way to incorporate them into her life and career. Read: Engineering Meets Fashion Design

Cross-Training: The Key to Manufacturing Success

January 07, 2015
When it comes to manufacturing, schedules are constantly being shifted and moved around in order to accommodate projects in the most efficient way possible. In order to improve our productivity, we had to go against the traditional methods and adapt a dynamic cross-training method. Here are some tips to get your team started as well. Read: Cross-Training for Manufacturing Success

Giving Thanks for Great Customers

December 19, 2014
It’s always good, especially around the holiday season, to give thanks for all our good fortunes and blessings. In a professional setting, I especially like to give thanks to those who have made my job more fulfilling, challenging, and successful. At the forefront of those whom I am always most grateful for are my customers. Read: Giving Thanks for Great Customers

Unforeseen Benefits of Adding Robot Labor to the Workplace

December 17, 2014
Robotic automation is becoming more commonplace in the manufacturing realm, with general industry and automotive parts suppliers leading the way. Modernizing factories throughout the Americas, the expected benefits have contributed to an increased number of robot installations, but the unexpected benefits have rapidly accelerated the pace of those installs. Read: The Unforeseen Benefits of Robot Labor

Industrial Robots by the Numbers

December 08, 2014
Numbers are an extremely powerful tool. They can help us calculate, quantify, and analyze just about anything. But what makes them so important? In the ever changing world of industrial robotics, what can we learn from them? As it turns out, we can learn quite a bit. Read: Industrial Robots by the Numbers

What’s Old is New Again: The Many Uses for Used Robots

November 24, 2014
The modern-day industrial robot is one of the most robust technologies and will generally last for years, even decades. However, as with all good things, they eventually move toward the end of their useful life. When this occurs, a robot-owner is presented with a few options... Read: The Many Uses for Used Robots

4 Ways Industrial Robots Provide Flexible Packaging Automation

November 17, 2014
The current manufacturing landscape is subject to rapid changes in demand, presenting the need for highly efficient, customized technologies. This is why flexible automation is critical for companies who seek to remain competitive and grow their business. With shorter production runs between SKU and packaging material changes, flexibility is a key feature in a manufacturing environment, especially when it comes to packaging automation. This is why industrial robotic systems are an excellent option. Read: 4 Ways Robots Help with Packaging Automation

Breaking News: Rosie the Robot is Real

November 06, 2014
Remember when Rosie the Robot, the famous maid from The Jetsons, was a fantasy character every human wished they had available in their own home? Why should we have to do regular household chores when a robot could do them for us? Then we could focus our efforts on more important things, like watching a baseball game or going out of town on a family vacation. Well folks, I have news for you: Those robots are REAL! Read: Rosie the Robot is Real

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Benefits of 3D renderings and simulations

October 24, 2014
A key component in our sales process is the creation of 3-D renderings and simulations. With advanced modeling and software tools, Bastian Robotics can bring 2-D drawings to life with highly accurate renderings and illustrations that can alleviate many system concerns... Read: 3D Rendering Benefits

Machine Tending: Is It Truly a Robot’s Paradise?

October 16, 2014
Machine tending can be some of the most grueling and hazardous work conditions for an industrial operator, so if you need to increase throughput, it often means a reduction in quality. With the help of industrial robots you can maximize both of these requirements while providing your operators with a safer working environment. Read: Machine Tending Robot Requirements

Introduction to Industrial Robots: What You Need to Know

October 10, 2014
If you work with robots every day like I do, it feels almost second nature when selecting the right one for any given application. There are plenty of people, though, who when they hear robot think of Terminator or I-Robot. Industrial robots are a little different than the aforementioned Hollywood versions, so if you are interested in using robots to improve your business, it helps to understand your options. Read: Intro to Industrial Robots

Industrial Robot Proof of Concept: Verify Functionality and Avoid Risk

September 04, 2014
Due to the complexity of certain industrial robot projects, a Proof of Concept (PoC) is sometimes required to verify functionality and key components of a design prior to commencing a full project. Here are the benefits and specifics of arranging a Proof of Concept... Read: Benefits of Robotic Proof of Concepts

What is an Engineer’s Favorite Food?

August 29, 2014
With Labor Day weekend upon us, I asked our robotics team about their favorite food. From the results, it seems they are very carnivorous! See the full survey and enjoy a great grilling recipe from one of our engineers. Read: Engineers' Favorite Foods

Ready, Set, Action! Industrial Robots Go Mainstream

August 04, 2014
Many people recognize that industrial robots are a big part of manufacturing and production plants, but these robots are now earning a new customer: the entertainment industry. Robots are grabbing the attention of the average customer through music, movies, and more. Read: Industrial Robots Go Mainstream

Another Broken Pallet! Tips for Better Pallet Handling

July 10, 2014
Although handling pallets might seem simple, there are many considerations when selecting the right equipment such as pallet type, pallet condition, and pallet load stability. Here are a few items that you should consider before selecting your pallet handling equipment... Read: Tips for Better Pallet Handling

A Poem About "The Robot Industry" in Honor of National Robotics Week

April 11, 2014
As a Robotics Application Engineer, I work to develop systems that are innovative and push the boundaries of my own creativity. If you are not continually pushing yourself to improve and innovate, then your skills will become static. This is the same thinking behind National Robotics Week. It is important to celebrate how far the robotics industry has come, but we also want to encourage continued education and growth in the field. Read: A Poem About "The Robot Industry"

Automated Case Picking Systems: Finding the Right Fit for Your Company

September 11, 2013
As an increasing number of companies move toward the use of automated case picking systems, it is important that they first determine the best one for their business. Read more >>

The Importance of 3D Models in Automation

August 29, 2013
Have you ever spoken to a client about a proposal that you’ve spent days, weeks, or even months on, and they don’t understand the basics of how the system is supposed to operate? In these instances, 3D models can be one of the best presentation tools. Read more >>

Innovative Robotic End of Arm Tooling

June 12, 2013
As a design engineer in the robotic material handling field, I am always looking for new and innovative ways to handle different types of products. About a year ago, I was briefly introduced to a new robotic end effector technology that I thought would be worth spending the time to research and share. Continue Reading >>

How Industrial Robotics Improve the Economy

June 05, 2013
There have been many discussions regarding Americans losing jobs to overseas manufacturers and to increased use of robotic automation, and with fair wage employment on the rise in many other countries, there has also been an increase in the use of robots there. Amid these discussions and trends, recent studies show that, in fact, industrial robotics actually positively impact jobs and the economy. Read More >>

Automation Products and the Traits of a Rock Star Distributor

May 10, 2013
As an independent systems integrator, Bastian Robotics is able to source virtually any technology. Some technologies are strategically sourced, and some we manufacture. For the ones not manufactured on our own shop floor, we rely on an array of excellent distributors... Read More >>

The Intangible Benefits of Used Equipment

January 17, 2013
Used automation equipment is seen by some as too risky an investment, and by others, as an easy way to save a project's budget while still getting all of the hardware they desire. Like all projects, there are pros and cons to used or refurbished equipment, but when the opportunity for used automation presents itself, it is worth the time to closely examine it as an option... Read More >>

Transitioning from a FIRST Student to a FIRST Mentor

January 16, 2013
A stadium is packed, adults and kids filling the stands and watching in anticipation. Fans loudly cheer on their team, proudly wearing their teams' colors, while fans back home watch the game on ESPN. Both teams are vying for a guaranteed playoff spot within their division and have had a long season getting to this point. Think this is your typical sporting event? Think again. Welcome to Einstein Field during the championship event of a FIRST Robotics Competition. Read More >>

Senior Design Projects are a Great Way to Test Ideas and Give Back to Schools

January 08, 2013
While brainstorming robot on a rail (ROAR) solutions, my co-workers and I wondered how we could create a similar technology, while maintaining focus on our current projects. That's when the idea of working with a senior design group came to mind, so I contacted my alma mater to get started... Read More >>

The History of Robotics [Infographic]

December 12, 2012
Industrial robots are incredibly advanced thanks to new technologies in controls, vision systems, and end of arm tooling. All of this has allowed them to perform increasingly difficult tasks faster and more precisely, but how do these machines compare to some of the first robots ever created? Take a look at this graphic to find out... Continue >>

The Value of Training

November 07, 2012
As a recent college graduate, I have been exposed to many new and exciting aspects of the robotics and material handling industries. I will argue that in the past month alone I have gained more valuable work experience than in the last four years of college. Why do I say this? The main reason is due to strong and impactful training. Continue Reading >>

Is a High-Speed Robotic Palletizer in Your Future?

October 17, 2012
High-level conventional palletizers have dominated the high-speed palletizing industry, and for good reason, as they are a robust and proven technology. However, with recent technological advances, robotics are now becoming a much more viable alternative to conventional machines with respect to equipment speed and price... Continue Reading >>

Can You Handle It?

September 13, 2012
Every robotic system revolves around the product it handles, so having a thorough understanding of the product allows you to utilize different technologies and methods for processing it through the robotic system. The following are the 10 main areas I consider during product evaluation. These areas are analyzed during the initial design phase and considered throughout the lifecycle of the project. Continue Reading >>

Manufacturing Renaissance in the U.S.?

July 26, 2012
It wasn’t all that long ago U.S. manufacturing prowess was the envy of the world, but then numerous U.S.-based companies decided to move their manufacturing operations abroad due to world competition and cost constraints. In recent years, however, a fascinating and somewhat silent trend has developed; U.S.-based manufacturing is making an exciting and notable comeback . Continue Reading >>

Catching Equipment Problems in the Blink of an Eye

July 19, 2012
Everyone has seen at least one high-speed video before. Most of them involve a bullet going through something, causing the object to explode in slow-motion. I assure you there is more to high-speed video than things blowing up. In industries with high-speed equipment, it can mean the difference between an impossible to spot problem and one that is clear as day. Continue Reading >>

Using LEGOs to Help Build Creativity & Problem Solving Skills for Your Children

May 03, 2012
Many of us played with LEGOs when we were younger, and they are still pretty common today. However, if you haven’t kept up with what all LEGO offers in the recent years, you might be quite surprised. There are a few product lines that many people may not be familiar with that offer a tremendous amount of engagement and critical thinking for children and young adults. Continue Reading >>

Saving a Troubled Project (and Re-gaining the Customer's Confidence)

April 26, 2012
We've all been there...working on that project, which never seems to go right. The project has passed hands multiple times. There is miscommunication between the customer, salesman, and the engineers. Every new idea you attempt doesn't seem to work as expected, and when you finally find a solution that works, it decides to stop working when the customer is watching. While no one enjoys being in these positions, at one time or another every company will experience one. And the question is how do you save face? Continue Reading >>

Is Leasing an Option for Automating Your Distribution Center?

March 01, 2012
Recently, I had a discussion with a friend who works with one of our integration partners, and during our discussion we came up on the topic of leasing as an option for capital equipment. For anyone who doesn't know, capital equipment is typically a larger, higher priced item with a lifespan of more than one year. It is an asset and an investment for the company purchasing, or in this case, leasing it. After doing a little research, I found out that leasing capital equipment is actually a very common practice for all sorts of companies, large and small. This makes sense because there are many benefits to doing so... Continue Reading >>

The Sensitive Engineer: Using Monte Carlo Simulation to Understand the Sensitivity of a Complex System

November 23, 2011
During the design process of any system, it is desirable to know how the possible range of input values will affect the system output. One back-of-the-envelope method is to assume the amount of resources the system will use, err on the high side, and protect yourself against failure. However, what if you are designing a race car component? Would it be necessary to always be conservative? If you are, your competitor will be faster, more nimble, and will speed right by your driver. Understanding your risks--or the range of inputs that will play a role in your system design--is the first step in creating a mitigation strategy. Read More >>

The Pros and Cons of Implementing a Robotic Mixed Pallet Building System

October 14, 2011
The topic of robotic, or automatic, mixed pallet building has come up quite a bit recently, so I thought I'd share some of the benefits and challenges that go along with it. To give you some background, a few years ago companies started building rainbow packs, which are basically a box or bag of products that contain smaller quantities of different flavors or product lines. This allows consumers to sample a variety of items without buying large quantities of each. So what does all of that have to do with robotic mixed pallet building? Well, the concept of rainbow packs actually stemmed from the advent of mixed pallet building first used by the material handling and logistics industries. Read More >>

Choosing Between a Robotics Integrator or Manufacturer

June 13, 2011
I've been in the industrial robotics industry for nearly a decade and during my career, I've had the opportunity to work for both integrators and for a manufacturer of industrial robotic arms. One of the questions that I've had many clients ask me over the years is whether they should buy a robotic solution directly from the manufacturer or from an integrator. Read More >>

Thinking Outside the Box is Key to Innovative Solutions

April 28, 2011
In today's business world, many employees--including myself from time to time--wear multiple hats on a day-to-day basis. These additional responsibilities, combined with a decreasing amount of time in which to do them, create an atmosphere in which out-of-the-box thinking is often lost. Read More >>

Benefits of Single Sourcing Your Manufacturing Automation Partner

March 22, 2011
With the summer project season just around the corner many industrial manufacturing companies are shoring up plans for their big projects. I recently had the pleasure to walk a manufacturing plant from front to back and back to front again in search of automated material handling opportunities. It certainly was a shocking experience because in this case, the client went naked! While this client was the expert on their systems and operations, a trained eye in material handling-- especially robotic --was a welcome investment of their time.

Robotic Palletizing vs. Conventional Automated Palletizing

January 26, 2011
When a business decides to automate its palletizing process , there are essentially two choices: robotic or conventional. What are the differences between these two technologies? What are the advantages? First, let's discuss robotic palletizers . The key component in a robotic palletizer is....drum roll please....you guessed it, a robot. A robot is usually defined as an electro-mechanical machine guided by computer or electronic programming, and thus, able to do tasks on its own. Read More >>

7 Industrial Robotics Hazards and How to Avoid Them

January 05, 2011
Many companies wonder whether robots are safe to implement in their facility. Although an industrial robot will improve the ergonomic conditions in a production area, there is a perception that the robot will create an unsafe work environment. Although industrial robots do contain some potential hazards, they are all preventable as long as workers are well educated on the robotic system and the robotic integrator has fulfilled all job requirements, including proper installation, programming, and risk assessment. Read More >>

The Importance of Hiring the Right People

October 04, 2010
BMH recognizes that our talented and driven employees are responsible for the success of the company, so we regularly analyze where we need to grow and how we can recruit top candidates. In recent years, we have hired many successful engineers through career fairs. We are fortunate to be headquartered near two top engineering schools, Purdue University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Many of our satellite offices are also located near excellent universities such as Georgia Tech, Missouri S&T, University of Louisville, and Cal Poly Pomona.

Mixed Load Palletizing: Can it be done?

July 15, 2010
The good news is that this long talked about concept has been proven within the last few years. You can hardly be in business anymore without being impacted by the need to deliver only what your customer needs. The days of shipping excess are over and everyone is looking to eliminate waste in their supply chain process.
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