Augmented Reality Tool Assists Manual Assembly Processes

Augmented Reality Tool Assists Manual Assembly Processes

Humans are still essential for many manufacturing processes. Especially for assembly. But assuring the correct parts go in the assembly in the correct orientation is essential. Enter an augmented reality (AR) tool to help.

Light Guide Systems partnered with information technology company HP Inc. to release a tech tool an augmented reality (AR) dubbed Light Guide Stratus. Leveraging Sprout Pro computing platform by HP, Light Guide Stratus provides a flexible, adaptable benchtop platform for assembly processes.

Light Guide Stratus builds on the company’s initial product Light Guide Systems Pro, which launched in 2016. The Stratus system integrates the Sprout Pro directly into a bench structure to increase the display surface area and free up critical space on the workstation. This expanded workspace can be used to integrate new types of applications and tools for a particular assembly sequence.

“The launch of Light Guide Stratus is a testament to the growing demand for flexible and powerful AR guidance systems,” said Paul Ryznar, OPS Solutions founder, president and CEO. “We knew that Light Guide Systems Pro brought a critical level of functionality and flexibility to improve outcomes for nearly any industry. We expect Light Guide Stratus to address even more applications and become an integral part of assembly and manufacturing operations for companies in every space, from medical to auto to aerospace and energy.”

Light Guide Systems projects a digital operating “canvas” onto virtually any work surface to provide audio and visual prompts, guidance, pacing, and direction. Light Guide Systems Pro takes the tool to the next level by incorporating its proprietary software into the Sprout Pro PC platform. Light Guide Stratus takes user experience into account with a flexible and repeatable design that opens up the workspace.

“HP’s Sprout Pro with Light Guide Systems reduces training time and improves quality in manufacturing assembly through projection and scanning in an augmented reality platform,” said Louis Kim, vice president and general manager of Immersive Computing, HP Inc. “Light Guide Stratus demonstrates the flexibility of the Sprout Pro platform combined with Light Guide’s innovation and leadership.”

Three Dangerous Ideas From Ray Kurzweil

Three Dangerous Ideas From Ray Kurzweil

Peter Diamandis, entrepreneur and founder of Singularity University and XPRIZE among many other things, interviewed his friend Ray Kurzweil at the Googleplex for a 90-minute (live) webinar on disruptive and dangerous ideas.

Diamandis promotes what he calls Abundance Thinking. He says, “By consuming and considering a steady diet of ‘crazy ideas,’ you train yourself to think bigger and bolder… a critical requirement for making impact. As humans, we are linear and scarcity-minded. As entrepreneurs, we must think exponentially and abundantly. At the end of the day, the formula for a true breakthrough is equal to ‘having a crazy idea’ you believe in, plus the passion to pursue that idea against all naysayers and obstacles.”

Kurzweil is Co-founder and Chancellor of Singularity University. He is also an XPRIZE Trustee, the Director of Engineering at Google, and “one of the best predictors of our exponential future.”

Diamandis and Kurzweil recorded a 90-minute conversation recorded on the YouTube video linked above. Here are 3 compelling ideas that came from the conversation as reported by Diamandis and sent in his newsletter. If you haven’t run across him, I recommend subscribing and having your mind blown.

The Nation-State Will Soon Be Irrelevant

Historically, we humans don’t like change. We like waking up in the morning and knowing that that the world is the same as the night before.

That’s one reason why government institutions exist: to stabilize society.

But how will this change in 20 or 30 years? What role will stabilizing institutions play in a world of continuous, accelerating change?

“Institutions stick around, but they change their role in our lives,” Ray explained. “They already have. The nation-state is not as profound as it was. Religion used to direct every aspect of your life, minute to minute. It’s still important in some ways, but it’s much less important, much less pervasive. [It] plays a much smaller role in most people’s lives than it did, and the same is true for governments.”

Ray continues: “We are fantastically interconnected already. Nation-states are not islands anymore. So we’re already much more of a global community. The generation growing up today really feels like world citizens much more than ever before, because they’re talking to people all over the world and it’s not a novelty.”

(Diamandis) previously shared (his) belief that national borders have become extremely porous, with ideas, people, capital and technology rapidly flowing between nations. In decades past, your cultural identity was tied to your birthplace. In the decades ahead, your identify is more a function of many other external factors. If you love space, you’ll be connected with fellow space-cadets around the globe more than you’ll be tied to someone born next door.

We’ll hit longevity escape velocity before we realize we’ve hit it

Ray and I share a passion for extending the healthy human lifespan.

I frequently discuss Ray’s concept of “longevity escape velocity” — the point at which, for every year that you’re alive, science is able to extend your life for more than a year.

Scientists are continually extending the human lifespan, helping us cure heart disease, cancer, and eventually neurodegenerative disease. This will keep accelerating as technology improves.

During my discussion with Ray, I asked him when he expects we’ll reach “escape velocity…”

His answer? “I predict it’s likely just another 10 to 12 years before the general public will hit longevity escape velocity.”

“At that point, biotechnology is going to have taken over medicine,” Ray added. “The next decade is going to be a profound revolution.”

From there, Ray predicts that nanorobots will “basically finish the job of the immune system,” with the ability to seek and destroy cancerous cells and repair damaged organs.

As we head into this sci-fi-like future, your most important job for the next 15 years is to stay alive. “Wear your seatbelt until we get the self-driving cars going,” Ray jokes.

The implications to society will be profound. While the scarcity-minded in government will react saying, “Social Security will be destroyed,” the more abundance-minded will realize that extending a person’s productive earning lifespace from 65 to 75 or 85 years old would be a massive boom to the GDP.

Technology will help us define and actualize human freedoms

The third dangerous idea from my conversation with Ray is about how technology will enhance our humanity, not detract from it.

You may have heard critics complain that technology is making us less human, and increasingly disconnected.

Ray and I share a slightly different viewpoint: that technology enables us to tap into the very essence of what it means to be human.

“I don’t think humans even have to be biological,” explained Ray. “I think humans are the species that changes who we are.”

Ray argues that this began when humans developed the earliest technologies — fire and stone tools. These tools gave people new capabilities, and became extensions of our physical bodies.

At its base level, technology is the means by which we change our environment, and change ourselves. This will continue, even as the technologies themselves evolve.

“People say, ‘Well, do I really want to become part machine?’ You’re not even going to notice it,” says Ray, “because it’s going to be a sensible thing to do at each point.”

Today, we take medicine to fight disease and maintain good health, and would likely consider it irresponsible if someone refused to take a proven, life-saving medicine.

In the future, this will still happen — except the medicine might have nanobots that can target disease, or will also improve your memory so you can recall things more easily.

And because this new medicine works so well for so many, public perception will change. Eventually, it will become the norm… as ubiquitous as penicillin and ibuprofen are today.

In this way, ingesting nanorobots, uploading your brain to the cloud, and using devices like smart contact lenses can help humans become, well, better at being human.

Ray sums it up: “We are the species that changes who we are to become smarter and more profound, more beautiful, more creative, more musical, funnier, sexier.”

My Take

I began studying international relations 50 years ago under an interesting professor. He was well up the chain at the CIA, Colonel in US Army Intelligence, PhD from Georgetown. Also, he was sort of a rebel. He took a liking to a somewhat rebellious kid from the farmlands.

It’s evident that the nation-state is in its death-throes. Trump and Xi and Putin are all trying to find ways to reassert power over a society and businesses that are increasingly global. Yes, there are emotional loyalties. But take a big step back and look at the sweep of history of the past 150 years. Think about what you see.

Technology throughout the entire history of humans has been both good and bad. But overall, it has benefitted humans. We eat better (well within our power of choice—don’t choose Doritos), live longer, have better housing and clothing, travel faster. We also have machines to help with backbreaking and dangerous labor.

As Diamandis says, think abundance rather than scarcity.

Podcast 178 What Problem Are You Solving

Podcast 178 What Problem Are You Solving

Podcast 178 What Problem Are You Solving

It has been said that computers are great at generating questions. They just can’t figure out the right question. Engineers are problem solvers. That is 99% of their education. Thing is—are they solving the right problem?

Businesses have adopted the open office architecture for many years. It solves a business cost problem—get more people per square foot. They publicly justify it, though, as solving the people collaboration problem. But they create a people productivity problem. The signal v noise blog from BaseCamp called Library Rules
[https://m.signalvnoise.com/library-rules-how-to-make-an-open-office-plan-work-f9f6d69a2d4c] proposes an interesting solution. The open office has existed for centuries. And it works fantastically. It’s called a library. Check out library rules for your open office dilemma.

My grandkids naturally collaborate on iPads with Minecraft.

Solving technology problems is a lot of fun for engineers. They look at everything as a technology problem. But then there are problems that are not technology. Such as people problems. Take a look at Facebook’s problems right now. They are not technology; they are ethical.

A generation of engineers have worked hard at solving process control problems. I reflect on a chat I had with Schneider Electric process automation leaders Gary Freburger and Peter Martin about solving business problems in addition to technology problems.

 

 

Digitalization and Largest Electric Motor Test Bed Top Siemens Motor News

Digitalization and Largest Electric Motor Test Bed Top Siemens Motor News

There are electric motors and then there are electric motors. On my recent trip about an hour south to the Siemens electric motor manufacturing plant in Norwood, OH (a suburb of Cincinnati) I was often thinking about the line from Crocodile Dundee when the main character pulled out that child of a sword and Bowie knife and said, “Knife? That ain’t no knife. This is a knife.” When we start talking Medium Voltage motors at greater than 10,000 HP, that’s a motor.

Note: the one in red is a motor under test. Note the size versus the size of the person.

I’ve visited the plant a time or two before but wrote the news for magazines. Only a mention on my blog. When I was there in 2012, they talked about the transformation of the plant from a traditional old-school heavy manufacturing plant to a modern, lean, clean place to work putting out quality products.

The occasion for this visit was to view results of some significant investments by Siemens in maintaining Norwood as a state-of-the-art motor manufacturing plant. There are several new machines for precision machining of large parts. The pièce de résistance however was a new test bed and “Test Center Observatory” where customers can witness the testing of their motors in comfort with a dedicated Ethernet connection so that they can continue working during downtimes in the test process. A complete test regimen can last for several hours or even longer. Some customers come from other countries. Speaking as someone with experience traveling to witness tests on my products for certification, I’d have really appreciated this facility back in the day.

Before I get to the test bed, a brief discussion of digitalization and vibration.

Siemens has developed a digitalization methodology for motors called Drive Train Analytics. They are sensoring more and more in order to monitor and analyze a more complete virtual picture of the motor. Not surprisingly, they use Siemens Mindsphere sending data to the cloud using a variety of analysis tools. Customers have access to these tools in the observatory. Actually, customers could receive a complete virtual runoff of their motor back home. But engineers being engineers, they love to see the hardware in person. So they get both.

Aside from heat, the main killer of motors is vibration. Siemens has taken steps both to reduce vibration in the motor and to reduce ambient vibrations in the test process so that more accurate readings of the motor itself.

Working with customers who provide feedback from their use cases, Siemens developed a new shaft requiring new machining techniques. Some of the advantages of the new shaft include:

  • Eliminates variation due to fabrication and spider bar tolerances
  • Reduces required balance weight applied during rotor balance
  • Removes heat-treatment process
  • Improves rotor thermal stability
  • More predictable rotor lateral stiffness
  • Reduces stress concentration of weldment

The News-Test Observatory

With its celebration of more than 120 years of innovation, market and product leadership, technology and quality, Siemens’ Norwood Motor Manufacturing plant recently opened a new Test Observatory.

Opened in 1898, the Norwood facility has undergone a century of change, as the process to manufacture motors and the technology behind them has improved. Norwood has stood the test of time through three industrial revolutions and is one of the longest continuously operating Siemens’ plants globally. With Industry 4.0 upon us, the mechanical motor of old is now a connected device, a valuable plant floor asset capable of providing vast amounts of data with preventative and predictive analytics to ensure more productivity, efficiency and uptime.

With the largest motor test base in North America, Siemens can combine its century of industry leadership in motor manufacturing with an enhanced customer experience.  The new equipment extends Norwood’s testing range from 10,000 horsepower (HP) to 20,000 HP at frequencies from 10 Hz to 300 Hz, thus addressing the market’s increased use of variable frequency drives.  The new test observatory, akin to an executive suite, allows customers to participate by observing testing through bay windows, direct cameras and mirroring computers, which display real time critical data being gathered by sensors attached to their motor.

The project, which began in 2016, required the removal of 550 tons of soil and concrete from the site, excavating a 13-foot deep hole, driving 114 pilings for stability and building a huge concrete vault to securely support a fully loaded test stand.  The test stand weighs 360 tons and rests on a self-leveling air spring system designed to support 500 tons when loaded with motors and drives.

The testing equipment includes two Sinamics Perfect Harmony GH180 drives and two dynamometers.  Generating power to test a 20,000 HP motor requires significant amounts of electricity, and by recycling power to the grid, the new equipment reduces power loss by 90 percent.

“At Norwood, we test every motor that we produce or repair – some 30 to 50 tests per week – and these new facilities give us the ability to conduct as many as five motor tests at a time.” said Tim Bleidorn, Manager, Manufacturing Excellence. “We expect the customer witness tests to average two to three per week and as many as 120 per year.”

In addition to the new test base and observatory, the multi-million dollar investment in Norwood also includes WFL high-precision shaft making equipment and a high-speed balancer, key for two-pole applications at higher speeds and the ability to balance a rotor at up to 12,000 rpm.

“It’s exciting and I’m proud that Siemens is investing in the North American market. We have the No. 1 market share in AboveNEMA motors right now and these new capabilities send a strong signal to our customers and competitors that we intend to maintain that position,” says Ryan Maynus, AboveNEMA Product Manager.

With more than 100 patents, the 350,000 square-foot facility is a cornerstone to Siemens AboveNEMA motors.  The ISO-9001 certified plant has produced more than 150,000 high voltage motors since 1898. The Norwood plant produces horizontal AC induction motors up to 20,000 horsepower and voltage ranges from 460 to 13,200 volts. The plant also manufactures a complete line of large AC vertical motors up to 8,000 horsepower.

Gaining Business Benefits Through IoT and Edge Computing in Industry

Gaining Business Benefits Through IoT and Edge Computing in Industry

Fourth in the series of posts as I digest all of the information I gathered at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Discover 2018 in Las Vegas. This post focuses on use cases. Yes, people, there are people some in manufacturing and some not who are using HPE IoT and Edge computing for fun and profit.

First off, a panel assembled by Tom Bradicich, VP and GM IoT and Edge and Ph.D. entitled Intelligence at the Edge.

Nathalie Elad of Comcast- We are an aggregator of data from homes sending this data from local server to cloud. He is working with HPE on virtualization. No, it doesn’t collect individual family usage to sell to others (yes, it came up). But the company does need data to know how to channel bandwidth. The challenge-“we double bits every 18 months and need to flex up and down during the day.” Interesting stat—there used to be 3.3 devices per house, now may be 20 or even 30.

Tim Thai, Tesla- OT—IT is still a challenge. “The Edge is dynamic, wherever business sets up shop.” Regarding IoT, there are “Things” in manufacturing-control and sensors. They incorporate sensors in testing of technology in cars. Not to mention “there are a ton of sensors in a car.”

Philip Rostle, Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 racing, discussed F1 race car as the edge. There are lots of channels coming off the car during a race. They measure performance versus predicted. You think you have connection problems, he described connection in race as “variable”. Every car has a GPS. They track all cars in the race trying to predict status of the other cars. They run scenarios, analytics, quickly at the edge during a race to help determine strategy. Took “moonshot” server power to the edge so that they get maximum performance within the rules of F1.

In a special breakfast session, we talked with the CTO of the Ryder Cup and European PGA Tour. Think you know golf? Ever wonder about some of the stats that the TV announcers can quote during an event? Well, the tour requires a lot of data. And to get that data, they need connectivity. Golf is also an entertainment event. There are 50,000 spectators at the Ryder Cup. They all expect WiFi to access real-time information about the tournament.

First the data. Every shot has a dozen parameters to capture for every golfer. These are logged on the course. To connect, they use Aruba wireless networking devices. There are 30 switches and 700 access points. They collect 20K data points for scoring; 140K data points for other shot information. “Data drives insights that leads to performance for golfers.” They can track each golfer and also track spectator traffic patterns. An untold story, they lay 18km of fiber cable each tournament; ready to go for Wednesday morning and tear down beginning Sunday evening.

Mike Orr, director of digital transformation at Murphy Oil, uses Edgeline on oil platforms. He noted that his biggest hurdle was working with IT mostly due to its legacy software systems. He made this technology economics point—when oil went from $140 to $20, company laid off many workers. The only way he could get his work done was with technology.

I’ve already discussed the Texmark Chemicals “Refinery of the Future” use case, but I learned a few additional points at this conference.

Intel supplied streaming video analytics—used for physical security/monitoring, open gate for railway access allowed humans and critters into the site, monitored for exception to alert operators.

Deloitte is developing an IoT practice. It assembled an ecosystem including NI, Allied, ThingWorx, OSIsoft, SparkCognition AI for pumps. It also developed the operator dashboards for the project.

All together there were 12 partners in the ecosystem that completed the project that included predictive maintenance for two critical pumps and the video surveillance system.

HPE coordinated the entire project.

The insurance company was impetus to do something to upgrade the technology. Texmark kicked off the project by renting a party bus and taking 15 employees to the HPE IoT lab in Houston. They saw a demo of a pump with FlowServe monitoring and analytics. Employees discussed and picked the initial project targets—two critical pumps in the process plus the “video as a sensor” for the railway access. Getting early employee involvement was the key factor for successful implementation.

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