Automation

Ancient Automation

Automation is lauded as the key to moving businesses forward into a successful and profitable future. But have you ever paused to think about the origins of automation?

We tend to think of automation as a fairly modern phenomenon. The word automation, in the manufacturing sense, was coined by Ford Motor Co. Vice President Delmer S. Harder in 1948. However, automation can trace its roots back much further than that.

The word automate is derived from the Greek word αὐτόματον (automaton) meaning, “acting of one’s own will”. Arguably the earliest mention of automation is in Homer’s famed Iliad, written in 762 B.C. (give or take 50 years). At the end of book one, Homer presents the tale of Hephaestus. Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes. He was responsible for creating, in his workshop, all of the weaponry used by the gods of Mount Olympus. To help him in his workshop he crafted automatons. Automatons were self-operating machines or robots fashioned from metal. They aided Hephaestus in his work and helped make possible the production of the magnificent equipment of the gods as well as legendary tools utilized by ancient mortals such as Agamemnon's staff of office and Achilles' armor.

So the next time you look out onto your factory floor at the many machines that make your manufacturing processes possible, know that you are taking part in advancing an ancient tradition.


Ancient Automation was posted to Words in Motion - A blog created by Product Handling Concepts, your source for conveyor, conveyor equipment, and automation solutions.

Robots Dancing with Conveyors

Pick and place delta robots on a conveyor line.

On BBC.com, Veronique Greenwood has written a great article on her Taste of Tomorrow column about delta robots. These high speed pick and place robots are use throughout the food production industry. They are highly versatile, able to handle jobs only humans could do not long ago. PHC’s food grade conveyor systems are often integrated with delta robots.

Automation in the food industry has moved far beyond the simple labelling machines and conveyor belts you may be familiar with. Now intelligent robotic arms perform dazzling movements and expert feats of coordination, getting everything from frozen fish chunks to cookies swiftly into their packaging. It's not a side of processed foods you see that much, but it is everywhere.


Robots Dancing with Conveyors was posted to Words in Motion - A blog created by Product Handling Concepts, your source for conveyor, conveyor equipment, and automation solutions.

Even With Automation, Food Production Still Needs Skilled Workers

A stainless steel food production table top conveyor line.

More robots doing manual labor means less humans doing manual labor. However, there is still a need for skilled workers. One industry that is looking for the right help is food production.

Jason Smathers of the Sheboygan Press Media, posted to the Post Crescent:

The industry is still growing — albeit slower than metal fabrication — and the skills required for the jobs have changed. Increased automation and robotics in the processing and packaging of food materials means new hires in production are expected to be more attuned to maintenance of the machines and a focus on a more supervisory role — especially with looming retirements in some companies. A labor shortage in the industry may make it harder to fill those roles.

The article talks about one of Wisconsin’s largest food producers, Sargento. They are using automation to increase production instead of reduce workers. That increased production means they need more skilled workers, particularly those with knowledge of sanitation, safety, and quality control.

Automation can both kill and create jobs.


Even With Automation, Food Production Still Needs Skilled Workers was posted to Words in Motion - A blog created by Product Handling Concepts, your source for conveyor, conveyor equipment, and automation solutions.

What to do With Your Old Automation Equipment

Spare Modular Belt Conveyor Chain

Enthusiasm for tech on an individual level leaves a trail of old circuit boards and cracked screens in its wake.

The same thing probably happens at your plant. As new equipment comes in you have a pile up of old parts and supplies filling your maintenance departments or warehouses. Here are a few ideas on what to do with those old parts.

1. Spare parts for maintenance

2. Get more life from obsolete automation

3. Consider secondary function

4. Get concessions from the equipment supplier

5. Sell to a specialist dealer

6. Donate to education


What to do With Your Old Automation Equipment was posted to Words in Motion - A blog created by Product Handling Concepts, your source for conveyor, conveyor equipment, and automation solutions.

Thankful for Automation

Thankful for Automation

As we, in America, sit down to our annual Thanksgiving feasts, we give thanks for the parts of our lives that are truly important. Family. Community. Love. The things that will stay with us through the years. The things that we would truly miss

One thing that is never on the top of peoples minds when giving thanks is automation. Why should it be? While it is present in almost everyone's lives in one form or another, it is not in the spotlight. In fact, if it is good at what it does, automation is invisible. It should be lurking in the background, doing its tasks with no interaction from the outside.

So, PHC would like to give thanks to automation and all those who keep it running!


Thankful for Automation was posted to Words in Motion - A blog created by Product Handling Concepts, your source for conveyor, conveyor equipment, and automation solutions.