Considerations of Integrated Industrial Automation

Automation software is the brain behind the brawn of today’s integrated manufacturing operations. Powerful robotic arms and speeding conveyor belts tend to get most of the attention, yet the ones and zeroes of computerized automation programming are what makes the efficiency of modern industrialization possible. On the other hand, good old fashioned human intelligence is sometimes the best answer to solving manufacturing challenges. Often, it’s a combination of both that’s best, a mix of automated and manual operations.Industrial-Automation

How do contemporary captains of industry choose the ideal strategy for their industrial niche?

They call on the professional automation consultants here at Steiner Electric. Our automation consultants know how to combine a company’s passion for bringing a product to market with the best industrial technologies and practices for manufacturing that product. Every situation is unique, which is why a specialized consultation is the only way to be sure all the bases are covered. That said, there are a few considerations common to any business interested in exploring integrated manufacturing options.

The primary question for anyone who wants to explore integrated industrial automation is: Why?

What are the goals you hope to achieve through integrated manufacturing? The answers should be clear, as the initial investment is considerable. However, with the right strategy and the right product, the long term benefits are undeniable. That’s because automation can provide significant cost reductions that compound over time, offering permanent RobotWare-Machinereturns on the initial investment. Labor costs are the most obvious reductions most people notice when considering automation. Direct labor costs such as wages, health insurance, and holiday pay are expenses that automation can negate. Not as obvious, however, are the indirect labor costs that are avoided, such as reduced part waste due to operator error, improved product quality thanks to automation accuracy, and improved manufacturing time as shift changes, break times, and training sessions are virtually eliminated.

Other than the occasional need for mechanical and software engineers to troubleshoot a rare problem, automated systems operate tirelessly year after year once they are up and running.industrial-Automation

Besides reduced costs, there are other benefits of automation to consider. For example, inventory stores can usually be significantly reduced because the manufacturing process flows easily from one station to another, rather than accumulating parts in batches, only to sit idle as they wait for the next operation. Additionally, quality can be inspected in an ongoing manner. Piece part rejects are eliminated because the automation software is able to detect if any individual part fails to meet the necessary standards to continue along the manufacturing chain. The subjective judgment of human operators is avoided in favor of the precision that automation provides. Finally, all of this information can be accumulated by the automation software for later analysis.

Every integrated industrial automation system should include ongoing support and analysis.

Our automation and information technology experts at Steiner Electric provide exactly the ongoing support and analysis that every automated manufacturing process requires in order to prolong the life of the system. We make sure that everyone is properly trained on the system’s operations. And we alert our clients to advances in technology and practices that may improve a given process or operation. From the initial consideration of an automated manufacturing system to the end of a product’s run, our automation specialists are always just a phone call away.Industrial-Automation

 

Manufacturing Innovations

The Wisconsin Manufacturing and Technology Show is coming to Milwaukee from October 6-8, 2015. Since 1989, this 3-day conference has been the Midwest’s premier machine tool show, where the industry gathers to showcase the latest innovations in manufacturing and industrial metalworking. Featured events sprinkled over the length of the conference offer insights on various aspects of the industry strategies for incorporating 3D printing in both established and upcoming manufacturing environments.

However, it’s the dozens of exhibits on display that are the real stars of the show, including an exhibit featuring CribTrack

Visit us during the conference at booth #0538 to see our new CribTrack industrial CribTrackvending machine. This amazing yet simple tool tracking and storage system offers unprecedented security and efficiency in one cost-effective, easily maintained system. Inventory tracking and distribution of the items needed for workers to complete their daily assignments has never been easier.

CribTrack offers cameras for security, cameras that record every transaction and can be accessed from anywhere through a simple web-based interface. That kind of accountability will ensure reduced supply shrinkage. And because CribTrack has no motors or other moving parts to wear out, its energy efficient design is built for dependable, long-lasting service.CribTrack-Steiner

While you are at our CribTrack booth, don’t forget to spin the prize wheel for a chance to win a fun gift – including a shot at The Huffy Green Machine!huffy-green-machine

Steiner Electric representatives will also be stationed at booth #0135, where we will be on hand to exhibit how our Metalworking and Industrial Supply services can help reduce operating costs and maximize output efficiencies. Stop by to explore how we support the entire machine tool process. Our approach integrates the industry’s leading manufacturers and top products, which helps enable maximum productivity for our clients through process improvements and cost reductions. You’ll also find Castrol representatives at the booth with us to discuss the latest in industrial lubrication technology, and you can meet our friends from Memex, who will be offering demonstrations on Operating Equipment Effectiveness.metalworking-Steiner

We look forward to seeing you this week at the Wisconsin Expo Center in Milwaukee’s State Fair Park.

If you can’t make it, contact us for more information about our CribTrack industrial vending machine, including pricing and availability. Or find us at steinersupply.com in order to see how we can help with all of your industrial metalworking and supply needs.

Before Their Shift Begins, Hug A Janitor!

In honor of National Custodian Worker’s Day on October 2, take a moment to appreciate the people who take care of the spaces around you. After all, even a city can be brought to its knees without efficient sanitation workers. They are as crucial as first responders to ensuring a livable city. The custodians who take care of building interiors and grounds are just as important. Our environments, large and small, will become intolerable rather quickly without regular maintenance.

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janitorial-cleaning-supplies Continue reading “Before Their Shift Begins, Hug A Janitor!”

Supporting the Kids

Schools are open and kids are back in the classrooms…much to the joy of parents all over the country. For Steiner Rockford, the start of the school year kicks off something very special that lasts the whole year.

Last year, Steiner’s Rockford office started something small for a local school that has now become a yearly event for our employees that means a lot to them, to the community and to the kids. Following in the tradition of our Elk Grove office and its “Fill the Backpacks” campaign every year, Steiner Rockford adopted a school and has been raising funds for donating basic supplies. Continue reading “Supporting the Kids”

Trust Your Network

Structured Cabling” is a term that describes the infrastructure of cables and hardware that is used to distribute communications and data services throughout a facility. Facilities that rely on structured cabling include hospitals, university campuses, industrial complexes and the like.cabling-infrastructure

While the primary focus of a structured cabling system is usually telecommunications – distributing voice, internet, and video services throughout a facility – structured cabling systems additionally include other low-voltage cabling needs. This includes video surveillance; sound, paging, and intercom services; and the access controls and interfaces necessary to engage with those systems.pagingsurveillance

Thanks to industry standards that have been established both by internationally recognized third parties and by the industry’s own self-regulation, structured cabling systems are not device dependent. That said, there are a host of variations that necessitate a unique approach to each and every structured cabling system. At Steiner Electric, we understand the importance of an in-depth consultation that is personalized to the needs of our clients. In fact, a professional information systems consultation is essential, not only to be sure that all of the environmental conditions are properly assessed, but also to ensure the system’s compatibility with both legacy products and products on the horizon.structured-cabling

For example, Mohawk’s Armorlite Industrial Armored Cables are a cost-effective fiber optic solution for standard and rugged installation environments alike, providing the benefits of a fiber optic connection in mine shafts, industrial parks, and college classrooms. They can interface with old and new products, with options that include exterior installations, and are defended by a crush resistant housing that also protects against rodents and cutting. That kind of durability obviates a traditional – and higher cost – innerduct installation.

Whether it’s a retrofit, an upgrade, or a fresh installation in a new build, we have the products and expertise to service any structured cabling, sound, security, and access control project. Contact Steiner Electric for all of your device and cabling needs.fiber-optic

The Difference Between HID and LED

Physics is fun. Sure, it’s complex, full of formulas and jargon, but it’s important to know that without an understanding of quantum mechanics, we might still be at the mercy of the dark in the night. Quantum physics endeavors to explain the motion of things at the smallest of scales. No one has ever even seen an electron. Yet, experiments in quantum physics bear fruit. It explains how everyday objects function, objects that we usually take for granted, such as the technologies we use to light up our homes and communities.
Continue reading “The Difference Between HID and LED”

Precision in Automation

Automation systems are completely Automation_Systemsdependent upon sensor technology to function. In order to achieve the benefits of an automation system, such as resource conservation and predictable quality, sensors provide measurement signals that can be read by people and instruments. Because of their integrated nature, automation and sensor technologies have evolved together over time. Continue reading “Precision in Automation”

The Skyscraper as a Small Town

Chicago_SkylineSeptember 3rd is Skyscraper Day, a date chosen in honor of Louis H. Sullivan, who is considered the father of skyscrapers. The first skyscraper was built in Chicago in 1885. It was a metal framed structure that reached a dizzying 10 stories into the sky. This was a time when most structures still relied on stone support and they worried that a human’s face would peel off if a train reached 60mph. Some continue to define a skyscraper as any building that reaches 10 stories, though most reserve the term for buildings that are at least 100 stories. Continue reading “The Skyscraper as a Small Town”

When it’s Time to Retrofit Your Lighting

Commercial-LightingA lighting retrofit can significantly impact any household, business, or municipality budget. In fact, many major retrofit projects pay for themselves in less than five years. That’s because older ballasts gulp energy in order to power bulbs that channel most of that energy into unwanted heat. All those heat sources mean your HVAC system has to work harder to cool the air in the summer months. Continue reading “When it’s Time to Retrofit Your Lighting”

LED’s for the Future

philips farmingThe future of lighting is Solid State Lighting (SSL). While other artificial light sources aren’t quite obsolete, SSL technologies such as LEDs are at the forefront of innovations in quality, efficiency, and application. For example, last month Philips Lighting opened its GrowWise Center research farm in the Netherlands. Its goal is to investigate the expansion of artificial lighting for indoor gardening, with applications that extend to industrial-level city gardening to raising crops on other worlds.

Studies in SSL for farming are welcomed news for horticultural scientists at Purdue University. Researchers there have published work on using LED lighting to grow fresh food under conditions likely to be experienced during space travel. For a crew to make it to Mars and back, they will require more food and water than they can carry. Growing their own food will be essential, and such technology could make extended stays on Mars and the moon a reality.LED Growing

With this kind of interest from industry and academia, the possibilities for SSL are endless.

And even though we don’t have a colony on the moon yet, today’s technology shows us that the future is already here. We have entered the era of the “internet of things,” which refers to all the interconnected devices that share space with us online. From HVAC systems to kitchen appliances, devices in virtually every environment are connecting to the internet. SSL is a natural fit for centralized connectivity.

led lightsPhilips has already helped Los Angeles move towards a more efficient lighting system. The second largest city in the country became the first use Philips CityTouch system which lets the city control everything through mobile and cloud-based tech. The city’s Bureau of Street lighting says the LED solution will save energy, reduce maintenance and make for safer streets.

SSL technologies are changing the way we light up the dark.

Talk to the lighting experts from Steiner Electric’s Energy Solutions team to bring your lighting future into the present. Whether it’s a municipality, industrial complex, or your own home, our consultants will help you save time and money on all of your lighting needs.

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