How Drones Are Helping Keep Ford Workers Safe

A Ford manufacturing plant is using drones to inspect the facility’s machinery, roofing and other equipment to improve safety while saving money and time. 518536_v2_Ford_Drone

Before putting the drones to work, Ford’s maintenance team put up scaffolding and platforms for the inspections that took 12 hours to complete. It wasn’t just the time and work to put up the scaffolding that was costly. The platform and scaffolding construction made it necessary to close the facility during inspections.

Now, with feet firmly on the ground and controlling drones equipped with GoPro cameras, maintenance workers can thoroughly inspect each area in under 15 minutes. The entire manufacturing facility can be covered in a day, zoning in on hard-to-reach areas to ensure they are well-maintained and comply with rigorous safety standards.CWVAoXKWIAA3h33

“We’d joked about having a robot do the work when there was a lightbulb moment – use drones instead,” said Pat Manning, machining manager, Ford Dagenham Engine Plant. “We used to have to scale heights of up to 50 metres to do the necessary checks on the roof and machining areas. Now we can cover the entire plant in one day and without the risk of team members having to work at dangerous heights.”

Ford’s drones are also being utilized for inspecting pipework, locating air leaks and checking machinery. Ford is now evaluating the possibility of using this high-flying technology at other facilities.

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Power Skills in Business

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Business Experts Say “Soft Skills” Are “Power Skills”

Technology is impacting all kinds of business and changing the way we work. As more business operations and jobs are changing due to automation, there is a new emphasis on capabilities for business. Creativity and communication abilities are two of the skills differentiating humans from machines. For example, automation can input data for analysis, while collaboration and communication is needed to discover how the data can best be applied to the business.KOHGRXNXL0_meeting_sticky

For these reasons the “soft skills” including negotiation, interviewing and business writing are taking on a new importance. Working with executives from large and middle-market businesses, Kathy Osborn, the Executive Director of the St. Louis Regional Business Council, suggested changing the term “soft skills” to “power skills.”

A majority of business decision makers agree with Osborn’s assessment of soft skills as the real power skills. Researchers discovered 77% of employers surveyed believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills. It is one of the findings in “The Rise of Soft Skills and Why They Matter Now.”

These power skills are on the rise in many industries and for many different reasons. Diverse and positive workplaces demand good communication skills, collaboration and respect.LUBQRTO8JB_handshake

Mobile technology and social media increases an organization’s exposure every day. Employees who deal with the public need power skills of listening, empathy and negotiation to be the best business ambassadors or risk a customer’s frustration becoming a viral assault on your brand.

What power skills matter most? Online learning platform, Udemy looked at what more than 20 million individuals are studying to come up with a top ten list.

Manager Training

Emotional Intelligence

Business Writing

Focus Strategies

Personal Development

Presentation and Public Speaking

Negotiation

Stress Management

Customer Service

Interviewing Skills

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Dancing Machines Video – A Choreography of Two Thousand Robots Set to Music

“Rhythmic acrobatic… she’s a dynamite attraction,” these lines  the song, “Dancing Machine”,  are coming to life in a new video where 2,000 robots and 1,700 factory workers are moving in unison to build a car body in just over one minute.

The robot ballet takes place in a SEAT sheet metal workshop in Spain where several different types of dancing machines are featured in the mechanical performance. It isn’t just machines, the dancing robots join the efforts of the employees, and final verifications are carried out by the factory workers. People and machines together are able to put together one car body every 68 seconds!

 

 

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A Virtual Waiting Room Added to Services at the APA Adoption Center

IMG_20180417_004229 (1)Some visitors first stop is to see the dogs and cats looking for homes at the APA Adoption Center. It is fun, rivaling the birthday parties, pet showers, or some of the educational classes and workshops at the center.

My first stop at the center in Brentwood, Missouri near Saint Louis is usually the wellness clinic. One of the busiest areas of the adoption center, it serves over 10,000 pets each year.

IMG_20180214_123057The wellness clinic is where veterinary staff perform health screenings, vaccinate against disease and spay or neuter each pet prior to adoption. The APA wellness clinic is open to the public offering low-cost exams and vaccinations for pets.

I’ve found it to be a great place to meet adorable animals and great pet parents while they wait to see the veterinarian or pick up medication. The clinic reception area is a favorite hunting ground in my search for interesting stories about animal adoptions and the role pets play in their daily lives. Many owners like to share what makes their pet special. No matter how hectic life gets, our pets are there for us.

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I’ve seen fewer people and pets in the APA Wellness Clinic reception and intake area. It isn’t that there are fewer pets and people visiting, they just aren’t sitting and waiting as long anymore.

Technology is helping to take the wait and crowded waiting room out of the APA Wellness Clinic. Anyone can get in a virtual line to see a veterinarian.

It is easy to join the virtual queue from home, the office, or on the run using your phone. You’ll receive text updates and notifications on forecast wait times so you and your pet can wait where you want.photo-1423666639041-f56000c27a9a

The QLess platform in use now at the APA clinic helps people around the world every day to avoid wasting time in line at license offices, hospitals, and businesses.

“We give time back to millions of people who otherwise would have to waste time standing in line,” explains Dr. Alex Bäcker, CEO of Qless.

This technology makes it simple to get in line at the APA Wellness Clinic from home, the office or even on-the-go using your phone. The text notifications allow pet parents to stay updated about estimated wait times and when they are next in line.

“With the QLess App we’re always looking for ways to incorporate technology and improve customer service. By reducing time spent in our waiting room we can better serve people and their pets,” says Kim Brown, APA Director of Operations and Vice President.

unnamedIt is easy to join the line, just send a text message “APA Clinic” to 417-720-2235. APA clinic clients will receive a text confirming your place in the queue.

Or pet owners may join the line via a computer by visiting APA website and the virtual waiting room at https://apamo.org/pet-services/virtual-waiting-room/.

The QLess notification is not an appointment time or reservation, but a way to give APA Wellness Clinic clients freedom and flexibility to wait wherever they want.DrD

The clinic’s hours are 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday. The APA is centrally located in Saint Louis County at 1705 South Hanley Road with easy access to interstates 64 and 40.

Learn more about the many community programs at the APA Adoption Center or how to bring home a furry friend at https://apamo.org/

 

A Smart Car Window Displays View to Blind Passengers

gateway-arch-426492__340I live in a city filled with reminders of epic travelers from the historic journeys of Lewis and Clark to the cross country treks in automobiles along Route 66. There are still many icons around Saint Louis and across Missouri modern travelers can visit today.

From Missouri’s rolling hills and natural wonders explored by Lewis and Clark to the kitschy man-made attractions that helped make Route 66 a favorite for family road trips, the unique views make a Missouri road trip memorable.

For blind travelers, this is a part of the trip they miss. A new prototype smart car window aims to change the experience by enabling blind or partially-sighted people to visualize passing scenery through touch.

The smart car window named Feel the View takes pictures that are turned into high-contrast monochrome images. These images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs.

By touching the image, different shades of grey vibrate with a range of 255 intensities, allowing passengers to touch the scene and rebuild in their mind the landscape in front of them.

Feel the View was conceived and developed by Ford in Italy in collaboration with Aedo, a start-up that specializes in devices for the visually impaired.

“We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones,” explained Ford representative Mac Alù Saffi in a written statement.

See how Feel the View may give visually impaired travelers epic journeys in the future in this video:

The Expanding World of Robotics

More manufacturing operations have robots working on the line today. The army of robots is growing rapidly as 1.7 million new industrial robots are projected to be in operation by 2020.

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The automation of production is accelerating around the world: 74 robot units per 10,000 employees is the new average of global robot density in the manufacturing industries.

Robotics are no longer reserved for a few manufacturing applications. The International Federation of Robotics says between 2015 and 2016, the average number of robot workers globally increased from 66 units per 10,000 human workers to 74.

Robots are at work in a wide range of industries including transportation, retail, medicine, agriculture and much more. The nation with the most robots at work is South Korea with 631 robots per 10,000 human workers. The International Federation of Robotics says this is due to the large number of robots at work in automotive and electronics manufacturing.

Singapore follows, with 488 installed robots for every 10,000 people. About 90% of robots in Singapore are installed in the electronics industry according to the International Federation of Robotics.

Germany is Europe’s most automated country, ranking third worldwide. It has 309 robot workers per 10,000 people.

The newest robots and automation manufacturers from all over the world will be on display at automatica 2018 June 19th through the 22nd in Munich. You can delve into the world of automation and learn more about automatica 2018 online at https://automatica-munich.com/index-2.html

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Yesterday’s Science Fiction is Today’s Reality – Human Robot Collaboration at automatica 2018

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The way we work is rapidly changing. When I started working in television, there was an operator on every camera in the studio. That soon changed as robots moved into local television stations. Automation improved efficiency with one employee operating multiple robotic studio cameras. The technology rapidly spread into even small television operations. Broadcasters have been working aside robots for decades.

The interaction between humans and machines is on the rise in a wide array of industries. The future smart workplace will combine human dexterity with digital assistant systems to achieve a new level of performance.507552_Robot

“The combination of man and machine is particularly powerful. As a result, jobs become more ergonomic and more interesting than ever before,” explains Patrick Schwarzkopf, Managing Director, VDMA Robotics + Automation.

One event, automatica 2018, focuses on how people should be integrated into an ever-changing digital environment, what challenges have to be tackled and what opportunities this development will offer for current and future jobs.

The newest robots and automation manufacturers from all over the world will be on display at automatica 2018 June 19th through the 22nd in Munich. But you can get a preview now in this video with a father and son discovering some of the intelligent technology to be on display. After all, the upcoming generation will use smart machines intuitively. For these “digital natives,” robots are a matter of course, and operating them is child’s play.

You can delve into the world of automation and learn more about automatica 2018 online at https://automatica-munich.com/index-2.html

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