How Robotics and Automation Will Change The Horticulture Industry in 2020

The Horticulture Industry is one that depends on the constant production of crops to plant, grow and harvest produce. Demand continues to increase as populations grow. Automation solutions can help with production challenges that manufacturers and producers face today and will continue to challenge their methods of scaling in 2020. Canadian agricultural producers must navigate a future in which a strong production outlook and a growing need for labor coincide with a shrinking domestic labor pool and rising costs. Automation can create more efficient greenhouses due to decreased spacing and optimal space configurations as well as 24-hour harvesting schedules.

BP Automation, an Automation and engineering company in Edmonton, AB specializes in automation and robotics solutions to create more efficient production channels and reduce labor costs. This also reduces the number of errors created from manual and repetitive labor in the horticulture and agriculture industry. Click Here to read about Vertical Farming Benefits and Technology. https://www.wired.com/story/the-hydroponic-robotic-future-of-farming-in-greenhouses-at-iron-ox/>

Advantages of Robots in Horticulture

The latest article from Greenhouse Canada explains the sectors challenges for production. There are challenges when it comes to running robots and automation technology in a greenhouse environment, especially the humid environment that must be taken into consideration.

Types of Systems in the Horticulture Industry

Material handling systems allow for less manual labor and handling. Types of these systems include Cultivating robotics, harvesting robotics, and Spacing robotics.

Automated Cultivation systems allow robotics to help fertilize, water and move plants. Many of these systems allow users to manage their greenhouse from anywhere as well as view data. Iron Ox uses a robotic arm with cameras to transplant plants as they outgrow their current space. This arm has stereo cameras to detect the plants and then grabs the plants with a gripper that is custom-designed to fit the pods. The arm sits between two trays of different densities and eyeballs the plants, moving them from one tray and to another. They are also developing a machine with learning algorithms that will automatically detect diseased plants and boot them out of the system before the sickness spreads.

Harvesting robotics reduces the amount of manual labor needed when crops and plants becoming ready for harvest. Harvesting robots are able to go move down greenhouse aisles and identify ripe versus unripe plants, harvest them and place them in on-board boxing systems. They can also remove unwanted crops from the pack. The spread of disease can wipe out many healthy plants within the vicinity of the diseased ones.

Even tedious jobs such as spacing plants correctly when it comes to planting and seeding are now taken care of in the hands of spacing robotics. Certain crops require much more or less space than others. These repetitive tasks are the most and cannot provide the accuracy that a spacing robot can provide

Robotics will continue to play a large part in the next decade in the horticulture industry, especially vertical farming as well as the agriculture industry. If you are interested in learning more about automation or robotic technology contact us at BP Automation for all of your needs.

Flying Cuttoff Saw Manufacturing

Flying cut-off saw or cut-offs are used to cut various types of steel, panels, tube or any types of completed shapes into a predetermined length. They repetitively cut on the fly and provide continuous cutting in motion to provide continuous and increased production.

At BP Automation we design and manufacture fully automated flying cutoff saws that will allow you to cut material at a desired length and point without stopping material. Some of the features of our automated cutting machines, like flying cutoff saw, are high speed, flexibility, and accuracy.

Investing in a flying cutt off saw can save time and cost for businesses. Especially when it comes to quality cuts as there is less destroyed material or changes that need to be made due to jagged edges or other imperfections.

Here is one of the saws we use at BP Automation:

Flying Cuttoff saw, with a 34 inch blade.

flying cutt off saw  tube cutting services Edmonton

Read More – Countertop Cutting Machines

BP Automation strives to produce automated machines that are customized, highly efficient and affordable, making it easier for you to automate your production processes.

We like to think about our machines as “putting the brains into the steel.” For more information about automation solutions contact us today.

Laser Tube Cutting | Video

When it comes to Laser Cutting precision levels and edge quality are much higher than traditional cutting methods. The laser beam will not wear during the laser cutting process. Laser tube cutting also gives the flexibility and freedom to create innovative tubular product designs, something that we do here at BP Automation in Edmonton, AB

Watch Below – Laser Cutting Metal Tube:

A Brief Introduction to Robotic Welding

robotic-welding-arm

Robotic welding refers to the use of programmable devices to perform welding operations in high production applications. It was the automotive industry which employs robots for spot welding purposes for the very first time in the 1980s. A total of 31,464 industrial robots valued at $1.8 billion were ordered from North American companies during 2015.

In the modern manufacturing and fabrication processes, results are measured in terms of consistency, productivity, and adaptability. Companies have to continuously improve production output and minimize errors while maintaining the costs to an acceptable level. Robotic welding systems can help businesses, both small and large, achieve these goals. However, serious planning is required in order to make a maximum use of automated industrial machines.

The initial cost of automating a production process is generally high and manufacturers have to train the employees so that they can understand the functionality of a brand new technology. However, taking into account the long-term benefits of automation, robotic welding cells provide a cost-effective solution to achieve enhanced repeatability, accuracy, and throughput. Following are some of the factors that will help you understand how to make a good use of your robotic welding units.

Parts design and additional equipment

It is of great importance to have repeatable and accurate part designs in order to bring about the desired results. Poor joint access or gaps can make it really hard for an automated welding device to produce the quality weld. Moreover, integration of certain additional equipment can enhance the performance of a robotic welding system. These additional equipment include spatter cleaner, neck alignment, and wire cutter.

Return on investment

Automation technology has the potential to payback quickly. When it comes to the welding technology, payback is measured in form of superior quality welds and a dramatic increase in productivity. Some of the other paybacks include decreased labor, efficient use of materials, and low energy costs. One of the disadvantages of using a manual machine is overwelding that can be avoided with robotic welds. Therefore, companies should not be worried about the upfront cost of getting automated welding solutions.

Properly trained operators

Trained professionals are absolutely important when it comes to the maintenance and supervision of welding robots. Which means companies should make sure that they have skilled and experienced operators before bringing in the automated devices. A well-trained and experienced operator can troubleshoot and operate the device with ease. In addition, preventive maintenance can help reduce the downtime and keep the robotic welding system is good shape. Conclusively speaking, considerate planning, equipment selection, and skilled labor can help you make the most out of your investment.

About us

BP Automation has been providing economically viable and profitable automation solutions to the manufacturing industry in Canada for many years. We build custom machines to fix your unique and complex manufacturing problems. We also provide technical assistance and retrofit expertise. Reach us now to know more about our products and services.

How Automated Inspection Systems Improve Manufacturing Productivity

Inspection-Systems

The term inspection refers to the analysis pursuing the prevention of products that do not meet the quality standards. In other words, inspection is a process of examining products, its parts, sub-assemblies; and to determine whether or not they are up to the design specifications. Inspection is an essential component of any modern manufacturing system. It is a technique to filter nonconformities and assure quality.

Innovative technologies have upgraded inspection mechanism to help overcome issues with traditional inspection or quality control processes. The manual approach to inspecting products is labor-intensive that leads to increased production costs and manufacturing lead time. The increasing number of products that don’t comply with specific standards add to additional cost of scrap and rework.

Principle types of automated inspection and gauging system

There are four principal types of inspection and gauging systems that a manufacturer can deploy to carry out quality control (QC) activities effectively. Precision laser measurement sensors or machine vision is the basic form of a QC system that can be integrated into a company’s exiting process. Engineering companies usually offer technical assistance to manufacturers that have simple QC requirements. Some applications demand complex programming and support.

Entry-level automated QC systems refer to sensors or machine vision cameras that can be installed inside of enclosures with a project device, light guarding, and controls to filter products. Turnkey quality control systems are built with multiple cameras and lasers to examine a single batch of parts or family of parts. These highly customized machines can operate for days unattended. In robotic inspection systems, robots move the part or the inspection device to carry out the inspection on complex parts.

The significance of automated QC systems

Over the past few years, sensor and computer technology have witnessed an unprecedented growth resulting in a growing acceptance of automated inspection tools across industries. Following the benefits of implementing automated technology for the maintenance of strict quality standards, manufacturers are now exploring innovative manufacturing methods that can drive accuracy and speed. So far as the manual quality control systems are concerned, they require time and expertise to inspect parts with respect to various dimensions and attributes. Some dimensions are critical in terms of function or assembly of a product.

Manufacturers operating in a competitive environment cannot afford to produce low-quality products as their profitability depends directly on producing products that meet market expectations. This is why manual production techniques are largely replaced by smart sensors as automation reduces errors to a great extent. However, a business has to justify the implementation of automated inspection. Economic justification of an automation solution depends on whether the reduced labor cost and improvement in product quality are more than the investment.

With the increase in complexity of production means, the error rate tends to escalate. Some inspection tasks are too complicated to be handled manually. Automated quality control, measurement, and inspection systems operate with high accuracy and produce incredible results.

About us

BP Automation is a growing engineering company in Canada where we design and manufacture state-of-the-art inspection and QC solutions for a wide range of industries. Discuss your inspection and measurement needs with us and see how we can help you improve the quality of your manufacturing processes.

A Brief Introduction to Prototype Development

Prototype Development

Prototype development is a key process to develop and create a successful product. It is a challenging task to create profitable and economically viable manufacturing solutions in a competitive global market environment. In order to remain competitive, a manufacturer needs high-quality and inexpensive machines that can facilitate customers changing needs and requirements. A successful company has to manufacture a line of good value products with great speed, precision and consistency. Therefore, the fine execution of the critical tasks in the production-definition stage is of paramount significance.

The production definition stage is not all about defining a product, the actual developmental activities deal with a number of critical product attributes. In other words, the concurrent engineering of various steps in the initial stage from acquiring customer requirements, problem statement, conceptual design, design for assembly, design for manufacturing, and product prototyping to validate the concept, etc. To develop a spot-on product, it is important that design is validated through developing several prototypes. As a manufacturer, it is important to consider that prototype development can be an expensive and time-consuming venture.

Prototype manufacturing

Prototype manufacturing is often referred to as prototype development. A prototype design is the first product to be fabricated considering the original idea. During the fabrication process, tools such as jigs, dies, and fixtures are not specially made for mass production. Machinists often utilize whatever tools they have to make things happen. Prototype manufacturing, as mentioned earlier, is a time-consuming process for every stage of it is like a first-time trial as there is no pre-established technique or process. Besides, engineers have to deal with errors, trials, and mistakes throughout the production process.

In the manufacturing industry, engineering companies take prototype development as a business contract and go through the process of setting up all the equipment required to accomplish the project.

Rapid prototyping

A variety of industries use the term rapid prototyping to refer to the process of rapidly developing a product before the final release. Software engineers often use the term to explain the process of developing software solutions in steps so that stakeholders can provide their feedback during the developmental process.

Although all industrial prototypes are developed for clients, these prototypes are not often sold by these clients. Instead, they are employed to study the dynamics of a newly created solution. They are thoroughly tested in order to determine their performance against established specifications. Engineers also use these prototypes to figure out changes that could improve the overall quality of the product.

BP Automation is an automation engineering company which provides cost-effective prototype development services to a wide range of industries in Canada. We focus on designing and manufacturing highly practical and profitable machines that bring efficiency to shop floors. You can reach us to know more about our process and how we can improve the operational efficiency of your production processes.

Advantages and Types of Industrial Automation

Industrial-Automation-Advantages

The word automation was first coined by the automobile industry in the US. It indicates the automatic handling of various phases in a production process. 3D technology and modern computers have extended the scope of automation. Robotics, CNC machines, and other computer-controlled devices are the best examples of the modern day industrial automation tools. The capabilities of automated devices are not limited to controlling sequence of events. Advanced industrial robots are capable of making critical decisions during production processes. Some of the examples of automated industrial processes are:

  • Packaging and material handling
  • Quality control and inspection
  • Metal fabrication; machining, welding, cutting, cladding etc.
  • Food and beverage processing
  • Planning and decision making

Advantages of industrial automation

Automation enables manufacturing companies to achieve a rapid increase in productivity by exploiting the potential of automation technologies. When we think of automated manufacturing systems, the first thing that strikes our minds is robots. As mentioned earlier, the automotive industry was the first to adopt robotics. Following the technological advancements in the last couple of decades, small businesses can now afford to automate their production systems and improve operational efficiency. Some of the benefits of automating manufacturing processes are:

  • Dramatic increase in output
  • Low production costs
  • Improved environment for employees
  • Unprecedented control over product quality
  • Uniformity and consistency in repetitive tasks
  • Convenience in performing hazardous tasks

Related: Industrial Automation: A Path to Flexibility and Competitiveness

Types of industrial automation

  • Rigid or hard automation: Rigid automatic systems are special equipment use to streamline specific processes. In hard automation, it is hardly possible to facilitate the modifications in product design. Industries which have to produce stable and sustainable product designs for a long period of time go for rigid automated systems.
  • Programmable automation: This type of technology is used to produce products in batches. A production system has to be reprogrammed in order to get a new batch of products with different specifications. Programmable automated devices are designed to facilitate product changeover. The process to reprogram a production machine, however, is time-consuming.
  • Flexible automation: It is a more sophisticated and refined form of programmable automation. Unlike programmable automation, flexible or soft automation allows to automatically and quickly changeover the equipment. A mixture of different products can be produced consistently without wasting time.

The initial cost of automating a facility, production plant, or factory can be high. However, automation technology is inevitable for industries that need to increase productivity and meet the growing market demands.

BP Automation is a reputable automation engineering company in Canada where we solve complex manufacturing problems and develop economically viable machines and control systems for companies of varying sizes. Feel free to discuss your project with us!

4 Proven Techniques To Bring Efficiency To Your Shop Floor

How To Deal With Roadside Emergencies

Increasingly growing competition and plant productivity have been a big concern for business owners and plant managers. Regardless of the nature or size of your business, improving productivity and operational efficiency is essential to maintaining competitiveness and increasing gross profit. A careful examination of current manufacturing practices will help you make necessary adjustments to your production system. Before you go ahead and bring about changes to your system, analyze your existing equipment, output levels, and skill level of your employees. What follows are 4 simple and recommended techniques to develop a more successful and productive manufacturing shop floor:

1. Identify pain points

The most important step is to identify pain points in your current workflow. You should be able to analyze the technology, people, communication tools, available resources, and procedures required for production. From machine downtime and parts rejection to nonconforming materials, identify and monitor projects for process improvement. A considerate approach will enable you to redesign your strategy and record how changes can bring improvements to your overall system.

2. Invest in maintenance

The cost associated with downtime is directly linked to the resources invested in preventive maintenance and system upgradation. There is no denying that new industrial technologies can improve manufacturing productivity. A well-thought-out maintenance program can ensure that your machines continue working at an optimum level. People working on your shop floor must know how to troubleshoot instances of system downtime so that errors can be fixed efficiently. It is not always advisable to blame the equipment for production problems; pay attention to your process, material, blueprint, etc. Hire a reputable engineering company that can take good care of your maintenance initiatives.

3. Implement smart tools

In the manufacturing industry, an operator is as efficient as his tool or machine. Modern automation solutions such as robotic welding cells, automated metal fabrication, and smart sensor technology will surely bring efficiency to your shop floor. Companies which operate in a competitive environment cannot achieve sustainable growth without implementing automation and smart technologies. Most of the manufacturers are of the opinion that automating an existing production system and upgrading machines help them remain competitive and profitable in a demanding market.

Related: Industrial Automation: A Path to Flexibility and Competitiveness

4. Reduce work in progress

Work in progress (WIP) can affect various areas in your manufacturing process; for example, labor productivity and line efficiency. Reducing manufacturing work in progress leads to better cash flow, improved customer service, and higher liquidity. A company can gain large benefits by reducing WIP and improving throughput. You can reduce WIP by employing lean manufacturing.

About us

BP Automation is an engineering company in Canada where we provide impeccable manufacturing solutions to a wide range of industries and help them bring efficiency to their shop floors. Let us design and build economically viable solutions for your complex manufacturing problems. Give us a quick call and discuss your project!

4 Proven Techniques To Increase Manufacturing Throughput

4 Proven Techniques To Increase Manufacturing Throughput

For manufacturers, falling behind on manufacturing throughput simply means delayed deliveries, which drives customers to find suppliers that deliver in a timely manner. Your success in the manufacturing industry relies largely on your ability to find ways to increase throughput and satisfy your customers. Before delving into techniques to improve manufacturing throughput, it is important to understand the difference between throughput and output.

The output refers to the total production: quantity produced or completed including rejections, scrap, and stockpiled items. In other words, the output is considered as a measure of the productive capacity of an industry, machine, factory, or an individual. On the other hand, throughput only counts parts that are delivered and accepted by customers. Throughput is also defined as the rate at which something is processed or produced. Considering the difference between these two terms, let’s move forward and discuss 4 proven ways to increase manufacturing throughput:

1. Use of factory automation

Manual production systems do not work when it comes to meeting tight production tolerances. Even the most dedicated and skilled employees get exhausted after a few hours of heavy labor. The appropriate use of factory automation can dramatically increase the manufacturing throughput. Automated production systems outsmart humans in terms of precision and the ability to perform repetitive tasks at a great speed. In the presence of smart machines, operators can focus on planning, programming, and implementation. Modern industrial technology makes it possible for us to produce a large number of products while meeting the stringent quality control requirements. The right automated machines on the floor can have a great impact on your overall productivity.

2. Reduce rejection rate

In some cases, manufacturers have a high output, but fail to meet throughput objectives due to high rejection rate. If a system produces 2000 parts per hour, but has a 20% rejection rate, 400 parts will be wasted in an hour. Reducing rejection rate by half will lead to increase in throughput by 200 parts per hour. By doing so, a manufacturer can meet production goals and reduce resources wasted on rework or reprocessing. One way to reduce rejection rate is to identify and eliminate production processes that damage parts.

3. Hire skilled labor

The frontline operators taking care of the production line have a considerable impact on product quality and manufacturing cycle efficiency. When your workers lack skills and the required training, they will not be able to perform efficiently. Undertrained operators can cause delays as they do not understand the entirety of the production process. Hiring skilled labor and training them so that they can make well-informed changes is key to maximizing throughput.

4. Reduce equipment downtime

An effective maintenance management system is necessary if a manufacturer wants to reduce equipment downtime and improve throughput. One-stop engineering companies do provide maintenance and support services to the manufacturing industry. Choose a solution with real-time visibility where you can request and receive quick assistance.

BP Automation is one of the leading engineering companies in Canada where we solve complex manufacturing problems and offer economically viable solutions. We focus on designing and developing machines and control systems that enable you to optimize your existing assets and increase manufacturing throughput. Feel free to discuss your project with us!

Elements and Benefits of A CNC System

Elements and Benefits of A CNC System

The development of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines is a tremendous contribution to the manufacturing industry. Simply put, a CNC system receives and interprets the data and then controls certain actions accordingly. The CNC systems, a versatile form of soft automation, are mostly used in the lathe machine, milling machine, laser machine, sheet metal process, etc. The concept was originally developed to control operation and motion of machine tools.

The CNC is a computer-based electronic equipment, as mentioned earlier, which receives information in digital form from input devices, as well as positional information of certain elements of the machine. Then it interprets the digital data as requirements for new positions of the machine elements and gives appropriate commands of direction.

Components of a CNC system

Numerical control is described as a technique to control various functions of a machine tool with an input. CNC is a microprocessor-based system, the heart and brain of a CNC machine. Following are some of the components of a CNC system:

  • Central processing unit (CPU)
  • Input devices
  • Machine control panel
  • Programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • Servo-control unit
  • Display unit

A serial communication port is often utilized to transfer data from a computer to a CNC machine. There are international standards established for serial communications.

The CPU is where a CNC system is controlled. It receives the data stored in the memory as part program. The data is then decoded and modified into position control and velocity control signals. It oversees the movement of the spindle or control axis. An action is rectified if it does not match with the programmed data. Speed control unit works in a harmonious way with the CPU for the movement of the machine axes.

Industrial applications

CNC systems can be applied to a broad range of industrial applications. Following are some of the industries where CNC machining is used:

  • Metal fabrication
  • Electrical discharge machining
  • Automotive
  • Manufacturing
  • Electronics
  • Agriculture

Advantages of CNC machining

The manufacturing industry relies heavily on CNC machining. Following are some of the advantages of CNC machining:

  • Higher flexibility and repeatability
  • Reduced indirect costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Consistent quantity
  • Reliable operation
  • Reduced non-productive time
  • Higher accuracy
  • Reduced lead time
  • Automatic material handling

Improved automation is the first benefit offered by almost all types of CNC machine tools. The manufacturer can reduce or completely eliminate the human intervention in a production process. Operators can work on other tasks because many CNC machines can operate unattended. There are also some side benefits which include reduced human errors, reduced operator fatigue, predictable machining time, etc.

At BP Automation, we design and manufacture custom machines to tackle complex manufacturing problems and offer unique solutions to your automation problems. We also build specific mechanical hardware and software solutions for a number of industrial applications. You can contact us to know more about our CNC machining and other automation solutions.