Risk mitigation factors in the advanced manufacturing journey | So Good News


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Manufacturers hoping to gauge their level of technological maturity can be hard-pressed if they don’t know what they’re looking for.

For one, Advanced manufacturing does not define anything, but intensive R&D; a high percentage of the workforce employed in STEM-related occupations; Being on the cutting edge of design; Consensus is reached on a specification, including design fringes. Exhibiting productivity and higher than average capital expenditures.

If manufacturers are going to rate, the industry needs clarity on how it defines advanced manufacturing for specific situations, said Brendan Sweeney, managing director of the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing. This will not only help determine Ontario’s—and Canada’s—level of productivity, but also identify those industries that need more support.
At the very least, according to Sweeney, advanced manufacturing involves “achieving business objectives by developing, producing, or adopting new technologies.”

However, Standards are not a zero-sum game and amount. “It’s a lot more dynamic, and what’s advanced today may not be advanced tomorrow,” Sweeney said. “What is progressing in medicine is not progressing in space. Advances in furniture manufacturing cannot advance in machine building.”

Sweeney says technology can solve a specific problem, but it depends on the context. for example, in the manufacture of medical devices or robots; Although the product development process may not be automated, the medical device or product may be very advanced. Similarly, Some processes are highly advanced and highly automated; This is the case of a plastic bottle manufacturer that produces two billion plastic bottles a year.

According to the Trillium Network, ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices should be part of the definition. “If you’re really hurting the environment, you’re not ranked, and in a place like Ontario, if you don’t have an intention to diversify your workforce, you’re not ranked,” Sweeney said.

The criterion of contributing to society is what attracts high-level companies with a purpose beyond their own pockets. “This means we’re moving from an internal combustion engine to an electric vehicle that’s better for the environment,” Sweeney said. Other industrial examples include healthcare (vaccine manufacturing, PPE); Food security (“Can chickens be killed humanely”) or “Can we improve safety protocols to prevent workers from contracting COVID?”

For Sweeney, Adding a condition to pay workers decent wages is also fundamental. “Did you know the average hourly wage in Ontario is $30?” he asked. “I would like to quote St. Catharines, Ont. There’s a machine shop owner who says: ‘It’s your first day at the shop and you’re 18 and the job is only $18 an hour. But when you turn 30, I’ll pay you $30 an hour. Or else you will leave for my rival.’ So pay well.”

Consider the city of Mississauga.
Like Sweeney, Walter Garrison argues that the levels of engagement with emerging technologies are at every company; It points out that the overall understanding of technology with its managers is different.

As a former Advanced Manufacturing Integration Coordinator for the City of Mississauga Development Office, Garrison worked with manufacturers, He observed how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, struggle to adopt new technologies if they are not properly capitalized. “For one, they have to understand how to successfully research the technologies that are out there, how to test those technologies, and how to implement those technologies,” Garrison said.

In addition to a manufacturer’s own capabilities, understanding the local landscape and manufacturing ecosystem is critical, Garrison suggests.

“Companies that are headquartered elsewhere, but based in Mississauga, are competing with other jurisdictions for work packages,” he said. “If they can demonstrate excellence in workplace performance, that makes all the difference. As far as engaging with IIOT and Industry 4.0 is concerned, companies that are monitoring and paying attention to national trends are sure to get their guidance from the global HQ.”

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The relationship between location and competence
GTA Compared to Ontario and the rest of Canada, Mississauga has no shortage of auto manufacturing companies. “There are certainly examples in the world-class manufacturing capital where Industry 4.0 has been well adopted and companies continue to push the envelope.” “There seem to be more system integrators, in the Cambridge area and sometimes in Vaughan.”

Manufacturers with international customers need to stay on top of innovation and how efficient their manufacturing practices are, says Garrison. “We will see robotic arms operating, but we will see understanding and good thinking before integrating that process into complex industries like aerospace or defense,” he said.

There is no doubt that Mississauga’s growth is partly due to Toronto and its surroundings. At its northeastern tip, Malton is home to Toronto Pearson International Airport—Canada’s busiest airport—and the headquarters of many multinational corporations. Manufacturing companies are attracted to the area because of its location between Toronto and Waterloo, Ont. (The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is the largest tech cluster in North America outside of Silicon Valley.) Garrison describes the city as a hub for engineering talent.

“The idea that Mississauga is a bedroom city is a thing of the past,” Garrison said. “in fact, Immigration, which stopped in 2020, picks up again in 2021. Many of the people coming into the city are skilled and highly qualified.”

Advantage of small plants
Ben Whitney, president of Armo-Tool and Abuma Manufacturing, agrees that Canada has a talented and engaged workforce. He pointed out; But manufacturers in this country generally lag behind the US.
For Whitney, There is an opportunity to capitalize on SMEs. “With small plants, it’s hard to have the right people,” Whitney said. “But now is the time, with the labor shortage and the blessings of intelligent people, to spend less money and make people feel the right answer for us.”

The same potential applies to branching plants; He said there might be an opportunity to take on a project with corporate visions that are a little more risky. “We can devote resources to a small plant in Canada and turn it into a test site for some of them. [emergent] Technologies. Instead of lagging behind in some of these strategies, we can take the opportunity to go first.
and technologies.”

At Armo-Tool, London, Ont., Whitney has a unique advantage of being able to steer both technical and process innovation. privately owned The family-owned company was started in 1969 by Whitney’s father as a precision milling and coating shop. tools, especially for the automotive industry; Progressive and transfer have expanded over the years to include instrumentation and automation. In 2017, the company had a low Abuma, which specializes in high-quality steel and aluminum production, was acquired.

“We were able to bring Abuma’s stainless steel manufacturing expertise as well as Armo Tool’s robotic automation experience to some new industries,” said Whitney. “Traditionally, Armo-Tool has done a lot of automotive work. However, with some new capabilities, we’re food and beverage; It will allow us to diversify the assembly and packaging of consumer products.”

Still, Whitney admits that achieving a ‘true’ Industry 4.0 assembly line model in a factory characterized by ‘single machine automation level complexity’ can be difficult. “A lot of what we’re trying to do is get information directly into the hands of more people, which isn’t exactly Industry 4.0. Device data sharing. In our process, people are productivity machines, and the goal is to ensure they have the information they need at all times to make good decisions.”

Whitney said the company’s investments in recent years to educate the 180-member team and coordinate operations have hidden opportunities, especially when routines are disrupted by the pandemic. in the data. for example, Armo-Tool uses the services of FreePoint Technologies, a developer of machine monitoring software, to monitor its CNC machine tools. “By doing this, we can identify many of the root causes of wasted time, not wasted time,” Whitney said.

Appetite for machine monitoring is evident across the industry. “There’s always tons of data on the device; But no action can be taken,” Whitney said. “It doesn’t get into people’s hands in real time. Now we can reconnect the machine directly to the job, monitor the true cause of scraps, track the causes of machine downtime, and do all kinds of great analytics.”

A lesson in contrasts
Garrison, Sweeney and Whitney agree that today’s challenges can be overwhelming, especially for manufacturers who are hesitant to advance the technology’s potential.
The restraint is not as apparent when comparing Whitney’s underlying trends and behaviors to those of its American and Mexican customers—especially with respect to the level of technology required for solutions. “Canadian customers often want the same machine from 10 years ago with as few improvements as possible,” he said.

In contrast, Mexican customers, with a young technical workforce and less leadership, want new technology and tend to order the most expensive machine possible.
“For me, it’s really exciting and it strengthens the opportunities for them,” Whitney said. “In Canada, sometimes we do. However, I’m seeing a page of more interest in buying more automation in Canada. I think it’s because of the transition from baby boomers to a new generation of project managers and technical experts. With the labor shortage, I also think there’s more interest from our customers in Canada to do a more ambitious project.”


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