Thomas R. Cutler’s picture

By: Thomas R. Cutler

The old picking methods of paper, pick-to-light, and voice-picking are almost impossible when employees must practice social distancing, use PPE (personal protective equipment), and avoid contact that could potentially exacerbate the spread of Covid-19. One viable solution is pick-by-vision, which both reduces potential contamination and dramatically increases productivity.

Even during the pandemic, the issues of product-picking accuracy and productivity does not magically evaporate. A pick-by-vision system simplifies the workflow and makes it more efficient. Benefits include saving time, reducing the error rate, creating a low-fatigue operation, and strict process control to optimize the picking processes.

Multiple Authors
By: Betsy Mason, Knowable Magazine


This story was originally published by Knowable Magazine.

Imagine a science textbook without images. No charts, no graphs, no illustrations or diagrams with arrows and labels. The science would be a lot harder to understand.

That's because humans are visual creatures by nature. People absorb information in graphic form that would elude them in words. Images are effective for all kinds of storytelling, especially when the story is complicated, as it so often is with science. Scientific visuals can be essential for analyzing data, communicating experimental results and even for making surprising discoveries.

Visualizations can reveal patterns, trends and connections in data that are difficult or impossible to find any other way, says Bang Wong, creative director of MIT's Broad Institute. "Plotting the data allows us to see the underlying structure of the data that you wouldn't otherwise see if you're looking at a table."

And yet few scientists take the same amount of care with visuals as they do with generating data or writing about it. The graphs and diagrams that accompany most scientific publications tend to be the last things researchers do, says data visualization scientist Seán O'Donoghue. "Visualization is seen as really just kind of an icing on the cake."

Del Williams’s picture

By: Del Williams

Approximately 48 million people in the United States (one in six) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Consequently, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is transforming the nation’s food safety system by shifting the focus from responding to foodborne illness to preventing it.

As part of the focus on preventing foodborne illness, 3-A Sanitary Standards, an independent, not-for-profit corporation for advancing hygienic equipment design for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, has recently updated its standards. The company, which maintains a large inventory of design criteria for equipment and processing systems developed to promote acceptance by USDA, FDA, and state regulatory authorities, no longer accepts “3-A compliant” as a legitimate claim.

EASE Inc.’s picture

By: EASE Inc.

According to the late quality guru Armand V. Feigenbaum, the hidden factory accounts for anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of an organization’s total capacity. Feigenbaum called the hidden factory, “that part of your organization that exists to do bad work—not because you want to do bad work, but because the whole process is such that you are driven into it.”

In essence, the hidden factory are those undocumented processes that work against quality and efficiency, creating invisible roadblocks to strategic goals while driving up costs.

Most troubling is the fact that the problems associated with the hidden factory go far beyond traditional quality costs.

In this article, we look at how these hidden processes affect manufacturing organizations, and how they can shine a light on unseen sources of variation and inefficiency.

Jason Chester’s picture

By: Jason Chester

For manufacturers—as for all of us—the past few months have been a blur of fast adaptations and long periods of waiting. At the start of the pandemic, many manufacturers did what they have always done in the face of disruption: adapt and find the fastest workaround for the challenge at hand.

Manufacturers already know that rapid adaptation is an accepted cost of doing business. Uncertainty, risk, and volatility are not new for these seasoned organizations. However, the universal nature of this crisis, and the fact that it’s far from over, have highlighted areas in which complex quality management systems and procedures stand in the way of agile responses and effective operational optimization.

Many manufacturers have taken advantage of the opportunity to examine their operations with a fresh perspective, seeking proactive changes that will pave the way forward in a post-Covid-19 world.

Carson MacPherson-Krutsky’s picture

By: Carson MacPherson-Krutsky

Since the days of painting on cave walls, people have been representing information through figures and images. Nowadays, data visualization experts know that presenting information visually helps people better understand complicated data. The problem is that data visualizations can also leave you with the wrong idea—whether the images are sloppily made or intentionally misleading.

Take, for example, the bar graph presented during an April 6, 2020, press briefing by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. It’s titled “COVID-19 testing in the U.S.” and illustrates almost 2 million coronavirus tests completed up to that point. President Trump used the graph to support his assertion that testing was “going up at a rapid rate.” Based on this graphic, many viewers likely took away the same conclusion—but it is incorrect.

Denrie Caila Perez’s picture

By: Denrie Caila Perez

With most industries shifting to remote work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies are looking at how they can innovate the work-from-home experience. Toyota’s Ann Harbor, Michigan, research and development team was set to complete the automaker’s newest generation of the Sienna in March 2020. However, after the state went under lockdown, the team was forced to complete the minivan from home.

According to the team, they were still able to see a production trial of the latest Sienna at Toyota’s Indiana plant prior to the lockdown. This gave the team enough ideas on what kind of changes they needed to make to the vehicle. The real challenge was how they were going to do it from home. Toyota Chief Engineer Monte Khaer shared that the later phase involved what they call “fit-and-finish optimization,” which can be difficult to accomplish by just relying on CAD.

Toyota Engineer Kyle Steinkamp works on the new Sienna minivan with his own tools from home. (Image courtesy of Toyota)

Tara García Mathewson’s picture

By: Tara García Mathewson

In October 2019, I shared the news that the classroom connectivity gap in U.S. schools is effectively closed. More than 99 percent of schools nationwide have access to speedy and reliable internet, making online learning an option for their students.

Only now it doesn’t matter. School buildings are closed because of the coronavirus, and the bandwidth that powered digital learning for kids is going unused. Now, the most important connectivity statistic is that more than 9 million students do not have internet access at home.

Multiple Authors
By: Antoine Tirard, Claire Harbour

As clients clamor for speedy results and headhunters increasingly rely on the latest data analytic tools, there is a danger of dull, predictable candidates being churned out for results that serve but do not shine.

At a recent panel on careers, a prominent headhunter said: “Search consultants, however naturally creative, find themselves stuck in a position of risk mitigation on behalf of their clients. More often than not, they end up placing the candidate who is the closest to being the carbon copy of the predecessor—minus whatever faults they were deemed to have.”

This damning statement did not sit well with us, however close it may be to reality. Although we don’t deny the importance of hiring based on skills and experience, we also believe that the potential and personality of candidates should greatly weigh on recruitment decisions. So we set out to identify audacious headhunters who have successfully advocated for outlier candidates. We hope these stories will inspire recruiters and companies alike. (Candidates’ and recruiters’ names are disguised.)

Matthew Martin’s picture

By: Matthew Martin

For more than 50 years, the benchmark for accuracy in measuring solid objects, whether machined, molded, die cast, welded, or forged, was the coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Typically using a solid, granite-base table along with a vertical, horizontal, gantry, or bridge-mounted arm and touch probe, measurements would be taken and compared in blocks to an engineering file, originally as 2D drawings and today as CAD files hosted in the cloud.

During the last two decades, however, a “new kid in town” has arrived on the scene, with power, size, point capability, and price value that are rapidly leaving the CMM technology in the dust. 

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