Click image to enlarge

Wednesday, October 12 is a day that will stay with me for many years.

Why? It was the day Shop Metalworking Technology's web site was set to go live.

It was also the day that email and text messages on Blackberry devices in North America stopped functioning and I lost internet and phone service. I was dumbfounded and temporarily shocked by my lack of ability to complete the task at hand.

Like many who experienced sudden digital technology losses, I realized how dependent I was on technology and how without it, I could do very little.

It also made me think of the smart technology that many manufacturers are now incorporating into their operations - e.g. MT Connect/Partners in THINC machine-to-machine communication, remote machine monitoring and lights-out automation - and what impact the loss of such technologies would have on a manufacturing environment.

Aside from the obvious costly and possibly disastrous production interruptions, once we become reliant on technology to do the work for us, we tend to forget the manual steps to do the same work if that same technology fails. In short, our ability to respond to production emergencies of this nature is hindered by our dependency on the technology that does the work.

Of course, such disasters are, thankfully, rare. The point is, we should always remind ourselves that smart technology, albeit the right direction to take for manufacturers to become more competitive in the global marketplace - is smart until it's not and we should have a backup plan for when things go wrong.

As for my temporary digital technology loss, it all worked out. The little red light on my Blackberry began to flash again, my internet and telephone service came back and once again I became immersed in my work.

I applaud smart technology and over the years, I have commented about the importance of it for manufacturers. We simply need to ensure that smart technology doesn't make us stupid.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Editor, Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine

See more editorial comments from the Shop Metalworking Technology Magazine team.


Mark it up

Shop Metalworking Technology discusses laser marking with Thomas Burdel, national sales manager for TRUMPF Inc., Farmington, CT.

A murky picture

by Mary Scianna

7 future cool gadgets and inventions that really exist

Check out how some manufacturers are creating innovative gadgets of the future.

FIELD NOTES: GAA-500-90 automatic up-cut circular saw

supplier: Scotchman Industries

end user: Motis Inc.

Punch Press Vs Laser: A Business Case

by Peter Visser

Buying a Laser? Have you also considered a CNC punch press?

A medical fix

Growing medical device market may be good for the health of your manufacturing business

by Tim Wilson

To get a handle on Canada's medical industry, it is important to know that Canada has four classes of medical devices.

Job Shops in Canada 2017: Manufacturing Support

by Andrew Brooks

Gauging the pulse of Canada’s job shops and their critical role in manufacturing

Robotic/AI lab opens in China’s manufacturing hub

Chinese social media giant Tencent has announced plans to open a manufacturing-oriented robotics/AI development lab in Shenzhen.

Automated positioning with Lincoln Electric’s Smart Positioner

Lincoln Electric’s Smart Positioner combines automated part positioning with step-by-step weld verification for control of large, complex weld assemblies.

New generation turret punch press

Prima Power's Punch Genius is a new generation of servo-electric punching systems with numerically controlled, servo-electric axes.

Pulsing Arc

by Nestor Gula

Getting a grip on pulsed TIG welding

Selling Your Family Business

Selling a family business is a major decision that some might be considering as the economy transitions from recession to recovery.

Deciphering Code

by Todd Drane

What's best, conversational or G-code programming?

CNC crash fails

It’s a bit easier to watch when it’s not happening to you. Watch these classic confrontations between metal and machine.

The thinking robot

In the 2015 British science fiction thriller Ex Machina, a programmer who works for the world’s most popular search engine is asked by the company’s eccentric CEO to administer the Turing test to a humanoid robot he has created, called Ava.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn