How IKEA Uses Drones for Inventory Management

In my last post I went a bit into the theory of where drones in manufacturing may be applicable. They are not really for transport, but there is a possibility to use drones to gather data – provided you don’t need an expensive pilot and there are preferably no workers around on which a drone could crash. In this post I would like to show you the use of drones at IKEA. This is pretty much the only case I know that is not a mere trial, test, showcase, or example, but an actual beneficial implementation that receives a wide roll-out, with dozens of warehouses and stores either already having drones or planned to receive drones soon. Many thanks to Omid Maghazei for the information and details, see source below.

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Drones in Manufacturing

A discussion of fancy new technology would be incomplete without mentioning drones. A simple Google search for “drone and manufacturing” returns around 72 million results. There is definitely a lot of buzz on drones and manufacturing. However, you probably have not yet seen a drone in manufacturing. This is because there are indeed very few cases of drones in manufacturing, and most of them are trial runs that never make it into regular production. Let’s have a look at what this is all about!

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The Modern Way to Buy Screws

Screws, or more generally fasteners, are a main staple in most industries. Recently I visited a factory and saw a nice way to automate the procurement of screws and other fasteners. This Industry 4.0 solution is part of a vendor-managed inventory (VMI), where you not only buy the screw, but also the service of always having enough screws, and let the vendor manage the hassle of making sure there are enough screws. I found the example in this factory quite neat, and hence decided to tell you about it. Let me show you.

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The Problem of Industry 4.0: Data! – Part 2

In my last post I started to look at the difficulties of handling data in Industry 4.0. I looked especially at the complexity and the often underestimated problem of merging data from different sources or machines. This second post of this two-post series finishes up this topic and will look at the also important and often underestimated task of cleaning up the data.

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The Problem of Industry 4.0: Data! – Part 1

Industry 4.0 is still a hot topic, even over ten years after the term was coined. Unfortunately, very often I find it to be much more hype than content. The examples where it actually worked well are few and far between, and the examples where not much was hyped as groundbreaking are way too frequent. In my view, a large problem of Industry 4.0 is the data, especially the data structure and the problems with analyzing the data. Hence, (yet another) short series of post warning on the difficulties of Industry 4.0 with a focus on the data.

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AI in Manufacturing: Hype or Helpful?

There is a big hype on anything related to computers in manufacturing. I have written quite a few cautionary articles on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon. This post looks more in-depth into artificial intelligence (AI). I believe there are possible applications of AI in manufacturing, but at the moment these are still uncommon. In this post I would like to talk a bit about the hype, but also present a few examples of where it actually works. Let me show you:

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The Amazon Robotics Family: Kiva, Pegasus, Xanthus, and more…

Amazon Picking ProcessYou surely know this little orange robot at Amazon commonly known as Kiva, which powers many Amazon Fulfillment Centers. Turns out, there are more robots in use at Amazon, some for similar tasks, some for something completely different. In this post I would like to give you an overview of all the robots at Amazon (that I know of). There’s at least six different robots in action.

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