Automation is bringing about transformation to today’s manufacturing in many shapes and forms. Giants like McDonald’s are having a revival in productivity (and profits) thanks to smarter food handling systems. Similarly, renewal projects of power plants across the US employ automation to slash the number of employees considerably. Flexibility and performance find a match in Fraunhofer Institute’s new SelfPaint system, which enables factories to automate painting of individual objects.
Automation key to McDonald’s revival
Fast food giant McDonald’s has seen a significant rise in second quarter profits. This is being put down to new ways of working and automation, leading to increased productivity. McDonald’s net income leapt by 28% to $1.4B in the second quarter, Business Times reports. This predicted increase in growth is attributed to a continuation of technology designed to aid manufacturing automation and with McDonald’s further application of digital technology to automate the customer experience.
Read the full story at Digital Journal.
SelfPaint tech automates painting of one-off objects
German and Swedish scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute are developing a system known as SelfPaint, which will allow robots to figure out how to paint individual objects. It could reportedly reduce paint use by 2%, energy consumption by 15%and production time by 5%. First of all, a 3D scan of the item is performed. Next, the path that the robot will travel while painting is mapped out. The painting process itself then takes place, followed by an inspection to check that the coating of paint is thick enough.
Read all about SelfPaint at NewAtlas.
Automation Is Engineering the Jobs Out of Power Plants
Gone are many of the mechanics, millwrights, and welders who once held high paying jobs to keep coal-fired power plants operating. […] the extensive use of analytics and automation within natural gas-fired power plants means that staffing levels can be cut to a fraction of what they were a decade ago. On August 1, Michigan-based DTE Energy revealed plans to spend almost $1B to build a 1,100-MW gas-fired power plant. When the station enters service in 2022, it will replace 3 existing coal-fired units that currently employ more than 500 people. Job openings at the new gas-fired plant? 35 full-time employees, says a DTE spokesperson.
Check out the full analysis on IEEE Spectrum.