• Who Invented the Video Game Console?

    A video game console (or even multiple!) is a standard fixture in many American homes. But who invented it first? Submit your answer by April 17th, and we’ll enter you in a drawing for a $20 gift card! Answer to last issue’s question: When was videoconferencing technology invented? We think of videoconferencing as integrally connected to the Internet. But it actually existed long before! In 1964, Bell Systems, which at the time held a monopoly on telecommunications, introduced the PicturePhone. The company hoped that users would adopt the PicturePhone to replace their voice-only phones. Bell projected a billion dollar business,

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  • The Robotics Revolution

    As manufacturers look to improve productivity and support growth, many are discovering that automating certain aspects of production yields significant improvements in return on investment (ROI). Robotics is one of the fastest growing forms of automation. Falling cost of entry, improved safety and technology, and the potential to avoid labor-related bottlenecks all make robotics an increasingly attractive proposition for many manufacturers. As a result, experts expect to see investments in industrial robots leap from around 2% per year to as much as 10% annually over the next decade. Falling prices, rising ROI Boston Consulting notes that costs of robotics such

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  • Help! How Do I Upgrade My Equipment Without Slowing Down Production?

    Q: Help! How do I upgrade my equipment without slowing down production? A: It’s great that your business is booming — but you bring up a quandary that many businesses are beginning to face as the recovery takes hold. You have a good upgrade project. Maybe you’ve already designed it, and you know it will improve efficiency — but the project is on hold because your business is booming so much that you’re worried about shutting down production for a few days to install the solution. Ironically, you know that finishing the upgrade will help you fulfill production demand, perhaps

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  • UR3 Unleashes New Possibilities In Automation

    Do you every wish you had a third hand? When you’re working on a manufacturing process that requires proper torque, precise movements, and steady pressure, having an extra hand there helping you is always welcome. But having two people working on a single task can use up valuable man-power that could be better allocated elsewhere. So how can you perform these delicate tasks more efficiently? Meet the solution: the Universal Robots UR3. A new era of robot technology Already recognized as the world’s most flexible, light-weight table-top robot, the UR3 works beside humans to speed up automation and improve product

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  • The Road to Recovery, 2015

    Is the recovery going strong, or is it still just crawling along? The answer depends on who you talk to — but in general, the reports of recovery are finally bearing fruit. What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re like most companies, it means working with other businesses that can offer solid, expert advice to help you navigate the early stages of the recovery and make the most out of it. A turn for the better The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) noted in its February 2015 report that PMI decreased 0.6% from January. However, 12 industries, including

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  • Get Light Where You Need It

    Looking for a way to cut costs and improve quality? It might be time to see the light — literally. Changing to industrial LED lighting can help you increase the efficiency of your operations. Industrial LED lights are easy to install. Lasting 5-10 years, these lights reduce maintenance time and costs. Long-lasting technology can offer more than 50,000 hours of continuous work. LED bulbs also use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Richard Greene suggests Banner LED lighting for customers who want to take advantage of these benefits. Banner light strips provide even and efficient lighting for a variety of

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  • Which Mechanism Is Better for Interlocks: Trap-Key or Electronic?

    Companies have many options for protecting their personnel, and it’s important to find a solution that not only provides protection but also fits the needs of your organization’s operations. Richard Greene sales engineer Keith Mueller explains that in many situations, a fully mechanical trap-key interlock is the best protection. “We offer a complete range of solutions from electromechanical to all mechanical. You can put mats down to detect whether someone is in the room, or you can use lasers. But some of those solutions get expensive, and sometimes they’re not effective. A laser, for example, may be blocked by corners

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  • At Last, Automation That’s Easy to Implement

    Think your production processes are too complicated and costly to automate? Think again. Universal Robots (UR) is deploying collaborative robots in a vast range of industries spanning OEM machine builders, manufacturers of medical devices and electronics, injection molding, machining, and packaging. The UR5 robot arm weighs only 40.6 pounds, has a payload of 11 pounds, and a reach capability of 33.5 inches. The six-axis robot arm’s repeatability is +/- .004 inch, which allows quick precision handling of even microscopically small parts. Key Benefits of the UR Robot Simple to program Easy to install Flexible deployment Ability to run without fence

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  • Need an Extra Hand? Robotic Arms Are Now Within Reach

    For many people, the word “robot” tends to bring to mind the movie “Terminator,” with accompanying visions of machines taking over the world. But some companies are pushing past those ideas rooted in science fiction with the realistic concept of a collaborative class of robots — flexible, automated, easily reprogrammed, lightweight machines that make robot technology available to any size business. “Traditionally, small to midsized businesses couldn’t afford to put conventional robots in,” says Ed Mullen, national sales manager with Universal Robots. “This is opening the door for smaller businesses to realistically put multiple robots into their production lines.” Not your father’s clunky

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  • Celebrating the 2D Barcode — and Ensuring Its Continued Success

    Twenty years ago, International Data Matrix (I.D. Matrix), a forerunner of barcode system provider Microscan, created something small yet mighty: the two-dimensional Data Matrix symbol. Better known as the 2D barcode, this tiny symbol can hold thousands of characters of data, making it the standard for automated-tracking in a breadth of industries. For years, the 2D barcode has improved our capacity for tracking products and storing data. Now, further innovation makes it easier to ensure the quality of those barcodes. How 2D is different Barcoding technology has long been employed for data encoding and tracking. However, an increase in the

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