PLAST-EX takes attendees on a tour of the factory of the future

automation in factory of the future

Blockchain, the industrial internet of things, artificial intelligence, mass customization, digitalization . . . manufacturing ain’t what it used to be. And that’s a good thing. If you disagree, well, you might be headed for a rude awakening, as your competitors embrace innovative technologies that give them a competitive advantage. Advanced Design & Manufacturing (ADM) Expo in Toronto on June 4 to 6, 2019, offers manufacturers of all stripes an opportunity to learn about these technologies that are reshaping the manufacturing landscape. Incorporating five events—PLAST-EX, PACKEX, Design & Manufacturing, ATX Automation Technology and Powder Bulk Solids—ADM includes an extensive lineup of sessions and panel discussions where experts in their respective fields offer insights into the various elements of the factory of the future. Here are some highlights.

Transformational technologies

So, what does the factory of the future actually look like? Collaborative robots? Check. Sensors everywhere? Check. Digitilization? Check. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. A couple of sessions will take a deep dive into the technologies that are transforming the way we make things and keep the ever-more demanding customer satisfied.

Ben Hope from Festo Automation will be joined by other panelists to sketch out what advanced manufacturing looks like today from the shop floor and how it might evolve in the years ahead. Join the conversation on June 5 at 1 PM at Centre Stage (booth 170).

Bosch Rexroth has been leading the charge on Industry 4.0, implementing more than 100 projects in its own plants. Business Development Manager Asvin Parsad at the company’s Canadian subsidiary will explain how the connected factory can manufacture serial and custom products independent of lot size to drive customer benefits on June 5 at 11:30 AM at the Tech Theatre (booth 127). Attendees will learn how to achieve maximum flexibility, connectivity and scalability by adopting the tenets of Industry 4.0, said Parsad.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way since Watson gave human contestants a run for their money on Jeopardy!. Hugues Foltz, Chief Strategy Officer at Québec-based Vooban will explain how AI can optimize supply chains, minimize downtime and improve performance on June 6 at 2 PM on Centre Stage (booth 170).

Automation is a pillar of the factory of the future, and the advent of collaborative robots has brought it within reach of even small manufacturers. According to one analyst, the sector is expected to achieve almost 50% CAGR through 2026! Panelists Joe Campbell of Universal Robots (UR) and Dave Lawson of Advanced Motion & Controls and moderator Jim Beretta from Customer Attraction Marketing will discuss best practices in integrating cobots into your manufacturing environment on June 4 at 1 PM on Centre Stage (booth 170).

Smart manufacturing and robotics companies also will be exhibiting their newest technologies on the show floor. Exhibitors include Kuka, Siemens, and Emerson, as well as Universal Robots and Sepro, which just signed an agreement to integrate Sepro’s Visual control system with UR cobots.

3D printing and blockchain

Initially created to ensure the integrity of digital currency–based transactions, blockchain technology has expanded into numerous potential applications that could benefit from open verifiable, permanent and tamperproof recordkeeping. Jack Heslin, Vice President, Business Development at Lazarus3D, will explain how blockchain can address current gaps in additive manufacturing and advance further widespread adoption of 3D printing in the production space. He is scheduled to speak at Centre Stage (booth 170) on June 5 at 10:30 AM.

Heslin also will moderate a panel of experts discussing current and emerging trends in 3D printing. The panel discussion, also at Centre Stage, on June 4 at 2 PM, includes James Janeteas, President of Additive Solutions Group, Cimetrix; Juan Schneider, CEO, Nanogrande; Joe Kiez of Objex Unlimited; and Tony Stewart from Stratasys.

On the show floor, a number of exhibitors, including Proto 3000, Emulate3D and Onshape, will demo the latest developments in 3D printing technology.

This is just a sampling of the learning opportunities that await attendees of PLAST-EX and ADM next month in Toronto. You can find a complete schedule of sessions and panel discussions, as well as an exhibitor list, at the event website.

And if you want to raise your smart manufacturing IQ ahead of the show, I recommend that you download a free e-book assembled by show organizer Informa Markets, which also produces PlasticsToday. It’s an informative, entertaining and very visual overview of all of these technologies that are transforming manufacturing.

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