Friday, September 15, 2023

We asked people on the front lines of manufacturing about the latest trends: here's what they said

Industry Insiders Identify Industrial Engineering Trends

By Sandia Harrison, Director of Marketing, FPE Automation

You Asked: We Answered

As we approach a packed trade show season, it seemed to be ideal timing to ask several individuals at the front lines of automation what they believe to be the biggest emerging trends in manufacturing. Here are their thoughts. 

Barrett White
Murrelektronik, Inc.

Machine builders are relying on IO-Link more than ever before. At Murrelektronik, we pride ourselves in conveying the power of this technology to our customers. Not only are our customers gaining more data at the device level, but they are also starting to realize the cost savings from reduced/simplified wiring, quicker deployment of machines and overall reductions in hardware costs. It’s truly a win-win for all.

Barrett White is a regional sales manager for Murrelektronik in the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. In his role at Murrelektronik, he focuses on strengthening the connection between the control cabinet and the sensors and actuators in both machines and systems with proven concepts and technologies.

Daniel Kelly
Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR)

There is a new trend that was actually an old trend that didn’t really catch on before COVID. That is Robots as a Service (RaaS). Manufacturers are still dealing with workforce shortages. And economic conditions are putting an even tighter grip on their wallets. RaaS has never been more appealing. MiR offers a RaaS option for our customers through our financing partner to ease that initial financial hit to their capital budgets.

Dan Kelly had been working in automation for some time. Along the way, he says, it "sparked a new passion in me for robotics and sent me down an exciting path in this industry. I can't wait for all the new adventures headed my way." Dan is a midwestern-based Area Sales Manager for Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR).

Brittany Carroll
IRIS Factory Automation

A trend we have seen with our Manufacturing customers is that this new generation is moving away from labor-intensive roles. 

IRIS Factory Automation has developed Automation solutions to combat repetitive high-labor jobs. In this, we have designed an appealing and easy-to-use interface and system to attract and retain employees with a more fulfilling role.

Brittany Carroll has dedicated her career to creating long-lasting relationships with partners and clients. She is a content creator and the host of the Automation Happy Hour Podcast. Brittany is a Channel Partner Manager at IRIS Factory Automation

Scott Massie
FPE Automation

Two of the biggest trends I see in manufacturing are I/O Link and electric actuators. I see engineering teams moving away from older solutions toward both of these, and getting far better performance across the board. 

Mac Valves has recently released their MIO-Link product, which takes a stack of valves and communicates on the I/O Link network….saving wiring time and troubleshooting time.

PHD Inc. has a broad line of long life electric actuators that have solved a large number of difficult applications in the marketplace for us. 

Scott Massie is an experienced regional application expert with highly specialized product training in several key areas. Although he wears many hats, his official title is Sales Manager, FPE Automation

Michael Walchli
Universal Robots

Due to the shortage of welders in the industry, collaborative robots are rapidly growing into the welding space. Universal Robots have taken their knowledge and utilized their partner network to fill the void with collaborative automated welding solutions.

Michael Walchlii has developed an established career in the mechanical and industrial engineering industry. He is a Channel Development Manager in the midwestern USA for Universal Robots. Prior to that, he served as an infantryman in the US Army,

Additional Thoughts

I'll continue to reach out to others for their industry trend observations. Stay tuned for round two! 

Do you work in industrial automation? If so, you probably have your own ideas about where smart manufacturing is headed. Would you like to contribute next time? If so, feel free to reach out to me@sandiaharrison, with your brief, two or three-sentence statement and a lighthearted bio like the ones you see here. I'd enjoy hearing what you have to say! 

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