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Batch Processing Desk

July 29, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
The 100-year-old company's first foray into robotics involved installation of a robotic retort tray loader for their packaging line. Says the project engineer, “This experience really changed our mindset regarding automation.”

“Our plant was not very automated. We were very much a manual operation, and we knew we needed some automation.” Many food processing facilities have said the same. And once they make the leap to automated systems, including robots, many food processors wonder why they waited so long.

In Automation World’s sister publication, Packaging World, Anne Marie Mohan, tells the story of Bell Carter Foods, Inc. a fourth-generation, family-owned company that has been in operation for more than 100 years in Lafayette, Calif., producing table olives for retail and foodservice sale. They went from zero to 10 robots in 2.5 years, with no regrets.

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July 28, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Roka Bioscience is a manufacturer of food safety diagnostic systems
The manufacturing IT staff of food-safety test-system manufacturer Roka Bioscience increased efficiencies and compliance by choosing a metadata-based integration platform to pull together Oracle ERP, PLM and third-party systems data.

The work of information technology (IT) managers for food, chemical and life science product manufacturers seems to take on an added urgency given all the data gathering and reporting required for regulatory compliance. To handle the need, manual systems given way to digitized systems that then often reach into other systems—sometimes peacefully coexisting and sometimes making their users’ lives miserable. The goal of a single enterprise-level system that handles everything seamlessly is often only a mirage—despite the impressive intentions of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems

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July 18, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
Quality management of Eli Lilly medical devices got faster and more accurate with the use of an advanced vision system incorporating a 5 Megapixel camera and telecentric lens that inspects at the point of assembly.

For many industries and applications, implementing inspection at the point of assembly improves quality of the supply chain while reducing the impact of downstream detection of defects. Eliminating non-compliant material from entering final assembly increases yield, decreases factory losses, and has the potential to increase revenue. But doing accurate inspection at production speeds can be a challenge.

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July 11, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
A packaging problem led to the voluntary recall of 96,000 pounds of hot dogs across the U.S. in April. The Apriso software addresses such a problem.
Through its Delmia Apriso manufacturing operations management software, Dassault Systèmes is addressing packaging accuracy and better access to more detailed traceability metrics. The new application delivers KPI and other data to smartphones and tablets for quicker decision-making.

When attendees to The Automation Conference 2013 attended Tom Braydich’s session, they learned how Campbell Soup Co. spent about 13 years using and optimizing an automated data collection and review system to create a centralized mobile workforce and decision support system that maximizes real-time visibility into the performance of manufacturing assets.

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July 11, 2014 | By Renee R. Bassett
National Instruments' VirtualBench is being used in TechShop locations.
New VirtualBench hardware and an NI Electronics Lab within some TechShop locations provide opportunity for learning, exploring and creating electronic components.

Automation pros have a proud history of do-it-yourself creativity and innovation. They’ll build their own programming tool if the one they’re envisioning doesn’t exist. They invent new machines and processes for their companies and customers.  But even do-it-yourselfers don’t go it totally alone—they want access to good tools and other creative minds.

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