The conference opened on Saturday, June 2 and concluded, Tuesday, June 5, with plant tours to NASA Glenn Research Center and Lincoln Electric.
On Monday morning, more than 800 engineers packed the ballroom at the Marriott Cleveland Downtown for an elegant breakfast buffet and the early-morning keynote presentation by James M. Free, Deputy Director of NASA GRC.
Free shared the many ways that NASA’s mission is continuing as the focus shifts from the Space Shuttle program to deep space exploration. He also highlighted the way NASA is transferring technology to manufacturing applications here on earth.
As a prime example of NASA’s terrestrial focus, Free gave a shout out to MAGNET and MAGNET’s President & CEO Dan Berry who was in the audience. That kind acknowledgement came as he presented the names of the nine Northeast Ohio companies that recently each won 40 hours of NASA expert technical consultation through the new Manufacturing Innovation Project sponsored by MAGNET, the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.
After Free’s keynote presentation, attendees had a chance to storm out into the lobby, grab a quick cup of coffee and view table-top presentations created by the participants in the SME’s first annual Student Competition.
Students from eight engineering schools entered the competition: Ohio Northern University, University of Colorado Denver, Northern Illinois University, University of Akron, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Punjab Engineering College, Oregon State University and Texas State University. The judging occurred Monday morning and competition winners were announced Monday evening.
Late morning, the SME members got down to the real nitty gritty in the General Session called “Industry Trends & Developments.” Seven speakers from SME’s Technical Communities each got 15 minutes to present the bleeding edge technology in each advanced manufacturing specialty:
Nearly 300 attendees at this session were wowed by these presentations. Particularly impressive were the astonishing advances presented in industrial lasers, and the game-changing possibilities that are just on the horizon of commercialization with additive manufacturing.
Monday afternoon’s presentations were split into three tracks, and MAGNET chose to attend “Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture.” This time, each presenter had around 50 minutes to present his research speciality in some detail. What an eye-opener!
S. Joe Qin, a researcher and professor at the University of Southern California, presented on “Model Predictive Control.” This complex analytic software has been developed over the last 30 years to help large petrochemical plants minutely control the myriad functions involved in processing petrochemical end products. Qin reviewed the future potential of the technology and discussed how it is already being implemented in other industries, including HVAC, energy optimization, medical devices and food production.
Scott Liu of SRL NANO Corporation described the advances being made in “Hyper-Carbide Cutting Tools.” By combining powdered carbide and powdered ceramics with special binders at very high temperatures and pressures, Liu and his team have created super-high hardness cutting tools with brand new properties. These tools can be used to cut and shape the new kinds of materials being created for automobile and aerospace applications. Liu said these hyper-carbide cutting tools are on the verge of commercialization.
Finally, Brian McHugh of AV&R Vision & Robotics, based in Montreal, used slides and videos to demonstrate the company’s unique robotic system that can profile jet turbine fan blades to virtual perfection. AV&R’s robot clasps a fan blade and presents it to a 2-D camera for an image. That image is digitally analyzed and the company’s software algorithm creates a set of unique instructions for the robot to profile the leading and trailing edges of that particular blade. After the profile is cut, the robot presents the blade to the camera again, and the finished blade is analyzed again to ensure it is within the tiny designated tolerances. McHugh stated that his company is the only one in North America currently making these custom robotic systems. He also stated that his company’s products are already being used in the new, fuel-efficient engines of the Boeing 737MAX and the Airbus A32x NEO which were recently launched on the market. And he added that AV&R is being approached by manufacturers in other industries who are hoping to adapt the company’s technology.
After such an intense day learning about the latest advanced manufacturing innovations, the SME attendees kicked back for a sumptuous awards dinner and after party celebrations. But they were up again early on Tuesday for another set of presentations on manufacturing innovations, before leaving in the afternoon to visit either NASA Glenn Research Center of Lincoln Electric.
Next year’s SME Annual Conference will be in sunny Orlando, Florida. Judging by the richness of this year’s presentations, it would be well worth the trip!
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or email@example.com
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for