What is your vision of tomorrow’s manufacturing?
Ideally, machines would never break, never need new parts, or if that if is not possible they could fix themselves. With planned obsolescence from OEM, utilization of sensitive, light, non durable components, electronic systems, with natural disasters or just seasonal weather stresses, excessive highs and lows temperatures, contaminants from smog or fires in the filtration systems, won’t we always need maintenance technicians on staff or at least a team of contractors or suppliers to help stay operational?
However, to help ensure more reliability and assure more efficiency gains, new technology is being developed and created daily. The latest gadget soon to emerge in the consumer market is Google Glass. http://www.businessinsider.com/the-end-of-the-smartphone-era-is-coming-2012-11
What if that was developed for industrial applications, In the not to distant future we may have ability to have computerized glasses available to display equipment schematics, run set up programs, issue work orders, provide videos and record videos, perhaps at some point provide information via infrared sensors as to hot spots and or machine wear. Maybe have acoustic ultrasonic sensors that can pick up leaks and steam trap problems, and other sensors built into the goggles. Also telephony is included, you would be able to conduct conference calls with OEMs, operations staff, and top executives so that all can see firsthand the conditions of inner bowels of the factory at a moment’s notice. Give immediate input on the machines performance, diagnose and solve problems all from your shades. Who knows Lincoln Electric or some other major industrial firm may help develop technologies that will xray test new welds just by walking around. Also 3d scanners may be worn an add-on to a hat so that instant analysis of the equipment could be compared to original cad drawings and wear patterns and faults could be discovered.
Although not here yet but available now for around $300 USD you can acquire handheld video camera from NIKON, Canon and others with built in lcd projectors. Understand Samsung and Iphone are in process of installing in future versions of their phones. So perhaps the future glasses will have projectors built in so you can project information for others to see from your glasses too.
Eventually we may be able to have computer chips and install in our staff instead of sending them to extensive training classes but until then, the future is coming at you now, are you getting ready?