Manufacturers are under constant pressure to find faster and better ways of accomplishing repetitive tasks. Fortunately, the ever-changing landscape of technological change is constant as well. Indeed, we see technology moving very quickly as it affects all aspects of our lives, making everything we do simpler and faster to accomplish.
Let’s take computer technology as an example. We have watched as the PC evolved, first from the desktop to the laptop, and now to the tablet and other mobile devices. The latest tablets boast such features as full touch screens for faster and easier operations, and a plethora of apps to help organize your tasks and perform them faster than ever before. These features provide us with a more productive experience and, because of the portability factor, we find more opportunities to apply that productivity throughout the day. Smart phones are evolving to include similar functions, but in a much smaller package and with the additional capability of being able to communicate via voice. Recent developments in smart phone technology have made automating through voice commands a practical reality.
Today, there are voice-recognition apps available that can answer almost any verbalized question that can be asked of it. If you want to navigate to a searched location, there are GPS apps that will not only provide verbalized, turn-by-turn directions, but also let you know how long your trip should take. This is certainly a much faster and easier alternative to dialing information or searching in a directory and then consulting a map! Voice command represents a natural progression in technology for smartphones, given the need for users to accomplish tasks when their hands are not free for typing or employing search functions.
Modern machine controls have kept pace with developing interface technologies, and now incorporate full touch-screen capabilities that eliminate hard function buttons and mouse input devices. For press brakes, where the operators must use their hands to both hold a part during bending and operate their controls, moving up to voice command technology makes real sense. Too often operators are forced to put the bend parts down in order to free their hands to navigate the control device. Voice control for press brakes enables operators to continue holding a part while simultaneously controlling the machine with vocal commands. Relevant examples include: open or close clamping, skip to a bend sequence, make an angle correction, or load a program, to name just a few. A typical operator walks a distance approximately equivalent to one mile moving back and forth between the bending station and the control unit. Utilizing voice commands can dramatically reduce these non-productive times by automating these manual tasks, thus increasing the productivity that can be achieved with today’s computer controlled manufacturing equipment.
By Frank Arteaga, Head of Product Marketing, NAFTA Region
Bystronic Inc., Elgin, IL – Voice.firstname.lastname@example.org