Robots are everywhere at Manufactory 4.0

Published on Monday, 27 May 2019 19:51
Written by Karla Santos

@KarlaSantosNBH

HARTFORD - Stanley Black & Decker’s new Manufactory 4.0 center is incorporating the latest technologies while modeling simulation to make its manufacturing plants not only more efficient but also to avoid costly downtimes, errors and failures across the plants.

Manufactory 4.0, located at 1 Constitution Plaza, was the vision of Stanley’s CEO for multiple years. According to Mark Maybury, Stanley Black & Decker’s chief technology officer, the idea came at a time when the company had “dozens and dozens of plants around the world and all of them were experiencing a tremendous disruption in innovation,” and “all kinds of new technologies were occurring.” Maybury said that at the same time, the whole manufacturing sector was also experiencing a lack of workers. That’s how the vision of the center started to come along. It was made a reality in recognition of the legacy that Frederick Stanley left 176 years ago in the first industrial revolution, “which brought literally steam power,” Maybury said.

The 23,000-square-foot facility is recognized as a center of excellence of manufacturing for Stanley Black & Decker’s 119 manufacturing distribution centers around the world, Maybury said.

Manufactory 4.0 plans of emerging automation technology starts with having models of digital connectivity and then modeling simulation of what the machines are doing, where improvements can be made and where there might be opportunities to speed up.

“The digitization is a fundamental requirement but then on top of that there’s the automation and so that includes the addition of robotic and cobotic which are cooperative robots so that they can work hand in hand,” Maybury said.

Upscaling the talent is also an important piece of incorporating automation technologies in the manufacturing sector, he added. Modeling simulation is also important to make sure the robots are working correctly with a certain amount of people in a plant. According to Maybury, at one point, there were 90 people at Manuactory 4.0 with functioning robots going around.

“As those 90 people walked through this 23,000-square-foot facility, there were multiple robots going around, moving materials from one place in the Manufactory to the other, there were cobots that were attending CNC machines in the facility and it felt like you were in a modern environment.”

Part of the goal is to have a suite of advanced artificial intelligence to do analytics, to predict where problems are likely to occur and anticipate those so that plants can become more efficient.

“So it’s all of these technologies coming together to make the plant not only more optimal, more efficient, more productive, but also safer for the workers and better to the environment as well because you can track energy consumption,” Maybury said.

Another long-term project the company wants to achieve is that as they have a controlled situation display of each of the machines and of the factories to eventually do the same to the entire enterprise from Manufactory 4.0 in Hartford.

Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or ksantos@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Business, on Monday, 27 May 2019 19:51. Updated: Monday, 27 May 2019 19:54.