Industrial Engineer Engineering and Management Solutions at Work

June 2012    |    Volume: 44    |    Number: 6

The member magazine of the Institute of Industrial Engineers

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Emerging Technologies

Innovative tools of the trade

From here to eternity

Getting things from here to there smoothly and quickly is an inherent function of industrial engineering, and the products described below can help.

Adept Technology Inc. offers a range of intelligent, vision-guided robotics systems and services for material handling in industrial environments. The corporation’s material handling robot models can be applied in a variety of industries.

For example, Adept Technology’s Python Linear Modules offer flexibility, precision and performance. These robots incorporate specific design features, allowing them to be more robust for gantry or cantilever configurations. The customizable modules have a competitive delivery time while delivering on personal attention to detail.

Manufacturers interested in the Pythons can create 3-D modules of the system, view them, download them and use them in the company’s own design software. This lets potential Python owners customize their order to their needs before purchase even begins.

The Python Linear Modules can have from one to four axes. Available strokes range from 100 millimeters to 2,000 millimeters, although the 1,800-millimeter and 2,000-millimeter models are available only as a single-axis system. Its maximum speed is 1,450 millimeters per second with a payload up to 160 kilograms.

For the software side, Adept Technology’s point-to-point navigation software is available to original equipment manufacturers for addressing a variety of material handling requirements.

According to a report by IDS Packaging, Adept is the largest U.S.-based producer of industrial robots and has more than 50,000 robots installed worldwide.

Another player offering innovation is the Raymond Corp., which is ushering in a new age of forklifts. The company’s automated lift trucks are integrated with vision-guided technology that allows simple, flexible automation solutions with no system constraints.

The new design lift truck can be used manually with human interaction or operate in fully automated mode. The innovative trucks can be integrated into a warehouse or distribution center in only a few hours.

Furthermore, the new lift trucks “learn” patterns and individual steps of the operations they perform, such as moving a pallet of goods from one location to another. No lasers, tape or additional infrastructure are required, and the lift truck can learn up to 15 miles of routes in unlimited configurations. This is highly adaptable to nearly any warehouse or distribution center.

IEs have focused on increasing labor productivity for an eternity, and the Raymond automated lift truck lets facility managers redeploy resources and multiply the impact of their existing labor force. These automated lift trucks can replace manned vehicles in warehouse, distribution, manufacturing and process industries.

David Rossi is a supply chain engineer with Unilever North America and is a Young Professional Representative within IIE. He has a B.S. in industrial and systems engineering from The Ohio State University.