It’s time again to turn our attention to those innovations that have come out which are truly innovative game-changers for the manufacturing sector.

Augment Realty Is Not Just a Fantasy

First up is Augment Reality. Augmented Reality (AR) has had not a few fits and starts within the entertainment, gaming, and social media industries. So, is it ready to help manufacturing deliver better results faster? Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) think it is. They started to explore AR in 2007, and really started adopting it in 2012 to replace the giant and unwieldy drawings that were used for reference in the shipbuilding yard. Instead drawings could now be projected digitally, which helped reduce costs by 35% in the production of just one of their crafts. Since then they’ve looked for new ways to incorporate AR into their daily work. You can read more about how they and other companies have used Augmented Reality to innovate their processes here.

Static Electricity: Its Use Will Shock You

Static electricity, the same phenomenon that makes your hair stand on end is now being used to assemble shoes, of all things. Grabit produces robots which are now being used in several of Nike’s factories to assemble the “uppers” (the upper part of the shoe which goes across the top of the foot and your toes) of its shoes. Previously, these were only capable of being built by human hands because of the many parts which are held and then fused together to make one large piece.  The design of the robot is not built to mimic hands however, and in fact this robot is being used where robot hands cannot. It is truly a unique piece of equipment which will likely be used in many other manufacturing settings in years to come. You can read more about the technology and how it’s being used here.

Innovation as a Process

Usually you can point to one piece of equipment or technology that is an innovation. Sometimes, however, you see a process that is helping to make strides in automation and speed on a factory floor. One such innovation is the high-speed process that Romeo RIM is using to produce its injected molded parts. The idea started last year, but is just now starting to be built. The process utilizes several innovations in to work together in a cycle which cuts down production time on an object from 7-10 minutes to 60-120 seconds. You can read more about this ground-breaking process here.