Welcome to Manufacturing Matters, a new podcast from TECH B2B that takes an in-depth look at automation technologies and their critical role in the manufacturing industry. Our series will reveal how companies are adopting advanced automation technologies such as robotics, AI and deep learning, and embedded vision to address the ongoing labor shortage, as well as increase productivity; enhance efficiency; and, ultimately, drive revenue. For more than two decades, the writers, editors, and marketing professionals behind TECH B2B have been reporting on the important trends informing the manufacturing technology space. Our expertise will help your business cut through the hype prevalent in this sector to bring you the reality of how advanced automation technologies offer integrated, advanced solutions that add value for you and your customers.
Winn Hardin: [00:00:00] Hello everybody. It’s Winn Hardin.
Jimmy Carroll: [00:00:02] I’m Jimmy Carroll.
Winn Hardin: [00:00:03] We’re here to talk about Manufacturing Matters, a new podcast that hopes to get to the heart of automation technology and how it plays into the manufacturing industry. When folks ask us why we’re interested in doing Manufacturing Matters right now, the answer really comes in three parts. The first one is: Why manufacturing? So in the most recent government statistics, it came out that 22% of all new jobs that we’re adding in the United States of America were in manufacturing. It also remains one of the industries that’s most under pressure in terms of labor gaps right now. So manufacturing, a lot of manufacturing, was returning to North America. We’ve got the great resignation going on. We’ve got post-COVID. We still have supply chain snarls that are going on. And a big part of that solution is going to be automation.
Jimmy Carroll: [00:00:47] Yeah. So advanced automation technologies, things like robotics, autonomous mobile robots, machine vision, AI, motion control — the whole range of different products and technologies you’ll find in the automation space — they’ve never been more important than they are today. If you look at the numbers from A3, deployment of robotics and machine vision are at an all-time high. And part of that is because businesses and manufacturers have faced an all-time level of volatility, at least in the modern age, when it comes to the labor gap. And these businesses really need to find ways to increase productivity, enhance efficiency, and ultimately drive revenue.
Winn Hardin: [00:01:22] Yeah, automation is going to be the lifeline to the manufacturing industry in North America and across the developed countries. So the next question is: Why us? Well, Jimmy, myself, and the rest of the team here at Tech B2B, we’ve been monitoring and reporting and documenting the manufacturing industry and automation technologies for more than two decades.
Jimmy Carroll: [00:01:44] Yeah, exactly. For sure. Not only is it something that we do for a living, but it’s something that’s very interesting. I mean, this is a place where you get to talk about AI and robotics, and you go to trade shows and you get to see them in person and see how businesses are using them in finding ways to add value to their to their bottom line ultimately.
Winn Hardin: [00:01:59] Yes, and from our past positions as editors, as well as marketers in this field, we’ve been lucky enough to be inside those boardrooms when folks are having discussions about product roadmaps, technology integration, interoperability, so that we feel that we really can bring some of the ground truth that is so desperately needed to cut through the hype that’s surrounding so many technologies, especially deep learning, artificial intelligence, lights-out manufacturing.
Jimmy Carroll: [00:02:23] Right, exactly. And that’s one of the things that we’re aiming to do with this series is get to the heart of how are people really using these technologies. It was 2016 or maybe even before that — it was one of the Vision Shows over in Stuttgart — and deep learning came out, and it was being hyped as this product that would solve all problems. Years later, we’re finding that it’s an excellent tool to have in the tool belt, but it’s part of the tool belt.
Winn Hardin: [00:02:49] Now is the question is: Why now? We’re doing Manufacturing Matters because of our backgrounds, because of our access. We’re hoping to cut through some of the hype in the manufacturing technology space and help the companies that we work with to provide better integrated, advanced solutions, because that’s where we’re going, right? As we talk about lights-out manufacturing, which we talk about in the end, depalletizing, and automated storage retrieval systems, these are complex systems that require all kinds of different disciplines in engineering. So it’s never been more critical that folks have a true understanding of the capabilities of each type of technology: what is working together, what isn’t working together, which are the true capabilities? Because as we all know, just fielding a solution isn’t what’s going to win your business. You need repeat business, and for that you need a solution that’s going to work today and it’s going to work tomorrow. And it can grow as the manufacturing industry grows.
Jimmy Carroll: [00:03:43] Yeah. And so with this series, Manufacturing Matters, we’ll take a look at some of these so-called hot topics and trends in the industry and in the marketplace: deep learning and AI, motion control, AMRs, HGV cameras getting smaller, easier to use, cheaper, lighter weight — things like that. Embedded vision, of course, has been a hot topic for years now as well. And now we’re starting to see what exactly embedded vision means to the end user and the systems integrators and OEMs. And that’s kind of the idea behind all of this — to see how these people are actually using these technologies to add value to their companies or for their customers.
Winn Hardin: [00:04:17] Absolutely. So as Jimmy just said, it’s not just about plant floor solutions. It’s just not about warehousing solutions. Machine vision, robotics, PLCs, motion control, AI — all these solutions are coming and they’re spreading beyond the plant floor. So what we’re talking about today in the solutions coming out today, they’re going to impact how we manufacture our products here in North America and across the world. But they’re also going to impact more and more, every year, autonomous vehicles, consumer goods. The technologies that we’re working on today are going to be mainstream in the very, very near future. So it’s never been more important that we can get to the heart of the matter, and that’s why we’re doing Manufacturing Matters. Thanks for joining us on Manufacturing Matters today. We hope you learned something. If you’ve got any ideas or comments about future shows, I hope you reach out to us. Jimmy, how can people reach us?
Jimmy Carroll: [00:05:01] Yeah, we hope that you will. Feel free to reach out at techB2B.com or find us on LinkedIn and comment, like, share, and all that. We’d like to find out from you why you think manufacturing matters.