MMS Blog

Posted by: Jedd Cole 24. October 2016

The Mobile Cobots Are Coming

Collaborative robots, or “cobots,” may soon be not only known for their ease of programming and safety controls with part picking/placing and machine tending, but also for their ability to pick up and transport payloads around the shop floor, among human workers, completely autonomously.

That’s the idea behind such robots as Otto Motors’ Otto 100 and 1500 models, which are primarily designed for material handling, but are being developed for other applications as well.

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Statistical process control (SPC) helps improve quality and reliability while reducing operating costs. This can be achieved by gathering and analyzing data to determine the best manufacturing process for a particular workpiece. By focusing on critical characteristics of a part and allowable ranges, companies can ensure parts are produced within tolerance.

An upcoming webinar presented by Robert Fruit, senior system engineer CT-lab at Mitutoyo, will discuss three steps: the X-Bar and R chart, histogram chart and capability indexes, that help ensure control throughout the manufacturing process. In addition, these steps provide a visual representation of the process that show how it meets customer requirements.

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A machine shop’s successful entry into machine monitoring reveals important points about what to do and what to expect. To encourage and help shops move toward machine monitoring—and more—here are some recommendations and advice, from Richards Industries, a Cincinnati, Ohio, company that has installed a machine-monitoring system to enable its shopfloor personnel to track activities and record the performance of its machine tools.

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By the time the doors closed on the 30th edition of Bi-Mu/SFORTEC, the biennial Italian machine tool exhibition, nearly 60,000 attendees had passed through the halls of the 90,000-square-meter Fieromilano Rho exhibition center in Milan. Although 41 percent of the 1,072 exhibitors hailed from abroad, Italian machine tool builders were naturally prevalent. And North America remains a prime target for their equipment, which trends large and is characterized by a high degree of sophistication and customization. 

According to figures highlighted by show promoter and Italian machine tool association UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre, North America remains the third-most popular destination for machine tools and related products from Italy, which is the world’s fourth largest producer and third largest exporter of this equipment. Of the total 4.1 percent increase in Italian machinery exports, North America saw its share rise 10.7 to 15.8 percent compared to last year. 

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This is the research arm of our publisher, Gardner Business Media (GBM). Just a few weeks back, the name changed from “Gardner Research” to “GBM Intelligence” in order to better reflect the team’s expanded offerings—offerings that avid readers have likely seen before in in our publications and digital offerings. For instance, every year we run a story covering the World Machine Tool Survey, a U.S.-dollar-based comparison of global machine tool production import/export and consumption statistics that has long been the brainchild of GBM’s research arm. Another example is the Capital Spending Forecast, which becomes simultaneously more targeted and more comprehensive every year in its sector-by-sector breakdown of spending trends. Another popular item is the Gardner Business Index, which tracks month-to-month changes in manufacturing by process, industry, plant size, and region of the country. (The metalworking portion of the index is published every month in MMS.)

The very fact that you’re reading this on MMS Online suggests you’re most likely looking for the kind of wisdom that helps on the shop floor. But if you’re ever curious about putting that kind of knowledge in context and staying abreast of the broader economic forces driving the industry, you should be aware that our team is doing the same great work it always has. As indicated by the name change, it’ll only get better from here. Finally, you can access this work by visiting for the latest developments and offerings from our team and to find all the surveys mentioned above (not to mention regularly updated economic news and insights on the stated of our industry). 

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