Advanced manufacturing: what’s next?

By Control Engineering Staff May 1, 2006

Just in case you were wondering, “What’s Next in Advanced Manufacturing?” there’s a keynote panel discussion on that topic at the AM Expo, on Wednesday, May 17, 9 a.m., in Greenville, S.C.

According to the description for the session, “Challenges for implementers of advanced manufacturing solutions never end. Productivity, flexibility, upgradeability, quick return on investment, and more are always on the minds of engineers and managers who seek better solutions, not just new technology. There is a steady stream of innovations in manufacturing equipment and systems, control software, integration engineering, and manufacturing management.” But application success depends on many technical and business factors.

Panelists are expected to share their expectations for “new technologies targeting advanced manufacturing, covering emerging software technologies for industrial automation and instrumentation and embedded systems, the growing importance of RFID in manufacturing control systems and supply chain systems, the rapidly changing system integration technologies for industrial automation, and the expectations of users and implementers of new manufacturing technologies and strategies.” An opportunity for questions and answers will follow.

Panelists are:

Gary Foster, general manager, Automation Engineering Corp.;

Bob Yenkner, director Americas lean operations, Celestica Corp.;

Marcia Gadbois, vice president– business development & marketing, Indusoft; and

Matt Ream, senior manager for RFID Systems, Zebra Technologies.

Panel will be moderated by Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering .

The conference is May 15-17. An accompanying exhibition runs May 16 and 17. Process engineers, design engineers, production engineers, plant engineers, will gather to learn about advanced manufacturing and productivity solutions. The event features new products and technologies from more than 240 leading suppliers, say organizers, along with the multi-track technical conference, free keynote presentations, and networking opportunities. Several half day pre-conference workshops will be held on Monday, May 15.

“Greenville, South Carolina is home to many major manufacturing companies, including General Electric, Michelin, Hitachi, Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Caterpillar, Perrigo and many others. These companies need to invest in the newest, most efficient technologies to retain their competitive advantage,” says Kelvin Marsden-Kish, Industry vice president of event producer Reed Exhibitions. “AM Expo brings a convenient, comprehensive showcase of the newest assembly equipment and related technologies to the southeast region. Equipment buyers and specifiers will have the opportunity to see and touch new products from a wide range of leading suppliers without the disruption of an extended time away from their facility.”

The region’s most comprehensive showcase of manufacturing productivity solutionsManufacturing plants in the southern region plan to make significant investments in new equipment in 2006, increasing equipment expenditures by as much as 40%. Exhibitors include Beckhoff Automation; Canon USA Inc.; Epson Robots; FedEx Freight; Hitachi America, Ltd.; Ingersoll-Rand; Invensys; Lanco Assembly Systems; Makita USA Inc.; Panduit Corporation; Siemens Energy and Automation, as well as suppliers and representatives for firms such as Advanced Material Handling; Custom Equipment Company, Inc.; Heritage/ServiCon Sales; Ingersoll-Rand; Lanco Assembly Systems; Lumberg, Inc.; Pilz Automation Safety.; Wago Corp.; Wieland Electric Inc. and others.

The 9 a.m. Tuesday keynote is by Charles Jenckes, engine development director for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Entitled “Quality and Innovation in a NASCAR Nextel Cup Engine Development,” the presentation will include a virtual tour of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. engine shop, where 60 engines are fabricated and tested for the company’s racing teams each year.

Conferees can select from more than (number) cutting-edge technical sessions organized into five tracks: Advanced Manufacturing Techniques; Design and Manufacturing; Lean Implementation; Advanced Manufacturing Support and Supply Chain Management. Details are available online at AM Expo is organized by Reed Exhibitions, a sister company to Control Engineering. (Automation Engineering)