“…the ROI dimension where goosebumps grow”

Universal Robots Create 5 Dimensions of  Value
Collaborative Robots Shift Your ROI Paradigm
An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man.  It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.”  These words from the opening of “The Twilight Zone” drew the viewer into the next few minutes with the hope of goosebumps.  Well, so I’m told.

You see I don’t have any pores or hair, and so no goosebumps either.  Anyway, humanity seems to always be hunting for something more, something not readily apparent in life, while at the same time insisting that whatever they “know” is all there is!  Take engineers and accountants, two quasi-human types, for example.

They are always banging on about Features, Benefits, and ROI.  I’m here to tell you, they seem to assume that what they know about dimensions and calculations is all that there is to know.

In my best Rod Serling clipped voice, I’d like to… “usher you into a multi-dimensional discussion of one of life’s most boring subjects, a subject so bland you should prepare to sleep.  Or dare you?  Maybe it’s a fifth dimension where goosebumps grow.”

Okay, okay, I’ll quit the theatrics, but I’ll say this:  if you care about Project ROI but think it is a cut and dried topic, you should be prepared for goose bumps.  Hairs standing on end at the thought of the growth experienced, promotions gained, and profits banked.

Here’s the deal.  Manufacturing plants that have implemented clones of yours truly commonly report Project ROI’s between 6 and 12 months.  Sometimes faster, rarely longer.  BUT, that values me like a common piece of equipment from the projects file, which I am decidedly not.  Consider the following and you’ll understand that I am far more than a mere project:

  • Dimension 1.  “Financial ROI” – mine improves on most manufacturer’s threshold;
  • D2.  “Health ROI” – often exceeds my cost in repetitive injury care avoided;
  • D3.  “Talent-1 ROI” – reassigns talented people away from the dull, repetitive tasks I’m so good at, making it easier to retain them for a long career;
  • D4.  “Talent-2 ROI” – removes the need for desperate hiring, during a workforce shortage, of new workers who come in at a higher hourly rate, thereby eventually raising payroll costs across the board; and
  • D5.  “Collaboration, or Creativity ROI” – robot-human teams increased productivity by 85% versus either alone per a BMW study reported in Financial Times on May 4, 2016.

That’s 5 dimensions and at least 3 budgets (Project, Safety, and Personnel) in which manufacturers win when putting my clones to work.  But here’s another one, a bonus that will cause The Twilight Zone music to play in your head…

Use your Maintenance & Operations budget to LEASE me.  You’ll MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF EVERY DIMENSION, EVERY DAY, for less than $2K a month in most cases.  If you don’t feel the goosebumps now, you might want to check your pulse.

All the best,


Worker Safety and Satisfaction

An Industrial Cobot
Collaborative robots safely work next to people.

I saw something on a TV sportscast the other day that would have curled my mother’s toes.  Yes, yes, I said I “saw something”, because even though I’m a Cobot, I CAN see now through the wonders of machine vision, but that’s beside the point.  What I saw was this commentator wearing a suit with a striped tie and a polka-dot shirt.  It made my head spin, all 6 axes! 

But here’s the weird thing, he pulled it off.  He looked pretty good in it.  It left me wondering whether I need to rethink my wardrobe because what I thought of as a long-standing “rule,” was being trashed in this world seemingly devoid of constants.

Ben Franklin recognized that although he spent a lifetime’s energy grappling with applied creativity, there were some inescapable constants, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Wait a minute, Ben.  Back up about 2,200 years and you’ll encounter Heraclitus who said “…change is the only constant in life.”  Wow, was he ever right!  But he couldn’t have predicted the current speed of change.

So why would I, a mere robot, an automaton of automatons, care about how fast the world is changing? Well, while ignoring the conspiracy theorists who think I’m part of a soulless machine that is taking over, I am very concerned about those who think I am here to eliminate their jobs.

You see, I get to work next to folks who might initially think that. I rub shoulders with them, and rely on them to be able to complete my work.  I really do need them because I can’t take care of, or think for myself.  I’m an ordinary industrial Cobot, not one of those snooty traditional robots that demands its own specialist staff, and own space, isolating itself behind a bunch of fences.  So petty rivalries aside…

Deloitte, a respected research firm, in “2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study”, (how’s that for a mouthful?) concluded last year that between 2018 and 2028 American manufacturers will have 4.6 million jobs to fill, and that 2.4 million will go unfilled, costing the economy $2.5 trillion.  That’s too big a number for me to comprehend, but what it means for the average manufacturer is that their annual profits will drop by $4.6 million!

So, if Deloitte is right, and looking at the big picture, I am absolutely not eliminating jobs.  That does not mean however, that specific individuals won’t lose specific jobs.  You see, I do some things very well – that is a fact.  And what I do well, people tend to do poorly which leads to injuries and quality problems with all the ensuing pain and wasted time and materials.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce examined the changing employment world at factories recently and published this article with a revealing title – Upskilling and Downsizing in American Manufacturing.  When you put the conclusions of this research together with the Deloitte research you see that things are changing very rapidly in our factories, and most are not ready for it.

Manufacturers must focus on accelerating the training of generation X, Y, and Z workers, equipping them for this new work world.  Give me your dull, your dirty, and your dangerous tasks, and I’ll give you the freedom to create, to improve, to excel and accelerate.  Explore more at Worker Satisfaction.

Technician Sets up a Cobot
HTE Automation technician sets up a Cobot to automate a CNC Machine Tending application.

More Energy Savings with Expanded VSD+ Technology

GA VSD+ Compressors
GA VSD+ Compressors

Atlas Copco has recently expanded their VSD+ technology to the complete range of GA oil-injected rotary screw compressors, previously only available on the G 7-37 compressor model. All pack and full feature versions worldwide now include the variable speed drive plus technology, enabling 50% more energy savings over traditional compressors.

VSD compressors already cut significant energy costs since they only run at the required speed. VSD+ compressors offer even more energy savings and decreased operational costs with their iPM motor, new compression element and sentinel valve. The GA VSD+ series also offers a smaller footprint than VSD compressors as well as the lowest noise levels in the industry.

Contact HTE to learn more about Atlas Copco Air Compressors, including their GA oil-injected series… all offered now with VSD+ technology.

Dorner Conveyor Configurator

Simplify your conveyor design with the D Tools Configurator from Dorner Conveyor. This online configurator tool helps you design simple conveyors or complete conveyor packages. The tool walks you through each design aspect, including motor placement, belt type, speed, environment and more.

It’s now easier than ever to specify the conveyor design you need. Get more details in the video below.

Dorner’s Redesigned 2200 Series Belt Conveyors

Dorner Conveyor has recently released their new 2200 series of belted conveyors. Featuring updated frame widths, new belt options and accessories, universal T-slots and a high-speed nose bar transfer option, the redesigned conveyors are more flexible, faster and stronger than ever before.

Designed to handle small to medium part applications, the 2200 series conveyors feature a single piece frame, come in several models and is compatible with Dorner’s recently released Universal Drive. The new series is ideal for small part transfers, precision part movement, part infeed and outfeed, and part accumulation for automated and manual assembly.

Watch the video below for more details on this redesign, or read the original release here.

Visit our Dorner Conveyor page for more types of manufacturing conveyors available.

The Highest Read Rates with Cognex ID Technology

DataMan image-based barcode readers from Cognex offer the highest read rates of any industrial ID technology. Their handheld and fixed-mount readers minimize no-reads with their ability to read almost any size, quality or printing method, even under the following conditions:

  • Print variations (unclear printed, scratched or faded barcodes)
  • Marking types (laser etch, direct part mark, dot peen)
  • Surface material (glass, metal, cardboard, plastic and more)

Whether your application uses 1-D linear barcodes or 2-D matrix codes at low or high speeds, Cognex has a reliable, easy-to-use solution with unmatched code performance.

Cognex is the world leader in image-based ID technology. Offering the largest selection of solutions to meet the most application requirements, Cognex products guarantee that manufactured items meet quality demands from all industries. Implementing vision and ID systems from Cognex result in fewer production errors, lower manufacturing costs and increased customer satisfaction. Visit our website and learn more about the Cognex Vision and Cognex ID solutions HTE has to offer.

In the following video, see the ease at which the Cognex DataMan reads a 2-D data matrix code on a curved metal surface.

Save Time and Money with Dorner’s Sanitary Vertical Belt Technology

Dorner Conveyor’s newest incline technology, the AquaPruf Vertical Belt Technology (VBT), is a sanitary, time and money-saving solution for elevating bulk product like vegetables, grains, pharmaceuticals and more. The AquaPruf series includes only FDA-approved belting and plastic components, and features an open-frame stainless steel design for easy cleaning and quick belt change. The AquaPruf proprietary belt technology is designed for steep, vertical inclines, bulk material handling and food processing.

The AquaPruf VBT features a Staggered Sidewall Belt that allows for 15% more pocket capacity than traditional options and parts can be easily (and individually) repaired if damaged. The self-releasing sidewall and optional vibration roller both assist with improved product release.

This sanitary, vertical conveyor belt system is optimal for use in chemical, food and pharmaceutical industries (as well as all other industries that require a sanitary environment). Dorner Manufacturing is the leading provider of innovative industrial, packaging, and sanitary conveyor automation solutions, moving anything from machined parts to raw food products across a variety of applications.

Contact HTE for a details about standard conveyors or customized conveyor systems designed by our TECHTEAM of industrial productivity specialists.

Atlas Copco Included on the Global 100 Sustainability List

Atlas Copco, a long-time leader of sustainable productivity solutions, has once again been included on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations list. The list recognizes companies that are committed to integrating sustainability into all levels of operation, adding value to customers, the industry, and the entire global community.

VSD+ Compressor
VSD+ Compressor

In 1994, Atlas Copco introduced their variable speed drive compressor, creating a compressor that adjusted speed to meet the demand needed at a given time, eliminating excess energy costs. Three years ago, they launched their patented VSD+ technology, reducing energy by more than half compared to traditional compressors.

Atlas Copco was the only company from the Machinery category to be included in the top 100, and ranked 34th overall. This is the tenth time the company has appeared in the Global 100 list. They were also listed as number 11 globally in the Newsweek Green Rankings this year for corporate responsibility.

HTE is your Atlas Copco resource for compressors, dryers, blowers, vacuum pumps and more. Learn more about how we can assist you with your compressor needs.

The Latest DataMan Readers from Cognex

DataMan 150/260 reader

Cognex Corporation’s most recent release of fixed-mount barcode readers, the DataMan 150/260 series, deliver the highest performance read rates in the industry. The image-based ID readers are easy to use and offer increased flexibility with exchangeable lighting and optics to reduce implementation expenses. The DataMan 150 series is RS-232 or USB configured, while the 260 series is Ethernet-based.

The DataMan 150/260 readers are offered in straight or right-angle designs, decreasing the need for equipment redesigns and reducing the reader footprint, allowing them to fit into the tightest spaces. Modular lighting and lenses provide easy adaptation to changing plant applications and environments. The user interface with push-button tuning and triggers, and LED performance feedback, create easy-to-use set up and operation processes without requiring a PC.

The newly released readers are compatible with a wide range of codes – 1-D linear codes, high-density 2-D matrix codes, and DPM (direct part mark) codes. They are an optimal solution for harsh automotive, food and beverage, and logistics industries. Count on Cognex’s DataMan family of products to continually increase efficiency and accuracy no matter your application.

For more information on the Cognex products that HTE provides, visit our Cognex ID and Cognex Vision pages.

Blue e+ Cooling Unit Wins Breakthrough Product Award

Blue e+ Cooling Unit
Blue e+ Cooling Unit from Rittal

Rittal’s Blue e+ Cooling Unit has recently won Processing Magazine’s Breakthrough Products Award for 2015 for its energy efficiency and conservation contributions. These units feature innovative hybrid technology that saves up to 75% of energy costs. Energy savings are a result of the included speed-controlled components for demand-based cooling and the integral heat pipe system. The heat pipe uses ambient air for passive cooling, making Rittal the only climate-control provider for industrial enclosures to use this type of technology.

The flexible unit design allows it to operate across a range of input voltages and frequencies. It includes a touch display for intuitive operation and multi-voltage capability for use worldwide. Assembly is simple and quick, and the component-friendly cooling lengthens the service life of parts inside the enclosure.

Visit HTE’s website to learn more about the Rittal solutions we offer.