At the Pacific Design & Manufacturing show, there are two educational opportunities offering more than 70 hours of conferences: the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit and MD&M West Medtech Conference. The conferences cover a wide range of topics from machine learning, fenceless robots, sensor technologies, data collection, medtech design innovation, and product development. Here are some of our choices for conferences not to be missed at this year’s show.

Advances in 3D Machine Vision for Robotic Manipulation, Product Handling, and Quality Control
Speaker: David Dechow, Intelligent Robotics & Machine Vision Engineer, FANUC America
Location:  210D
Date:  Tuesday, February 7
Time:  2:30pm - 3:00pm
Conference Track: Smart Manufacturing

The conference hosted by Fanuc focuses on the advances of “2D and 3D perception to create faster cycle times for new tasks without the need for machine learning.” The standard for object recognition, perception, and adaption has been 2D sensing and machine vision but the use of 3D sensors and computing will lead to upcoming revolution on how robots perceive their surroundings.

Getting the Most Out of Human Factors Engineering
Speakers: Matt Gottschalk , Business Development Manager, Worrell and  Kimberly Fogel, Human Factors Design Engineer, Medtronic
Location:  210B
Date:  Tuesday, February 7
Time:  2:30pm - 3:00pm
Conference Track: Medical: Design

Human Factors Engineering (HFE) is also known as Ergonomics Engineering which is the study of the human physiology and psychology characteristics in regards to the design of devices and systems. The design considerations of our bodies are key for industrial and consumer products. The success of these products hinge on whether or not they can be easily operated. The conference will explore the following topics:

  • Exploring how a smart HFE process can save you time and money
  • Discussing HFE items that are worth the extra investment 
  • Measuring the return of investment of human factors and how to express its value proposition
  • Addressing common misconceptions and objections about HF engineering
  • Comments on how emerging technologies can be leveraged to increase the quality of HFE activities

Rising Star Engineer: “Engineering for Good: How Sharing Design Know-how Can Change the World”
Speaker: Lindsay Craig, Founder (Technologist, Educator, Consultant, Artist), QuestBotics
Location:  Center Stage- Booth# 455
Date:  Wednesday, February 8
Time:  1:15pm - 1:45pm
Conference Track: Center Stage (Free)

Linz Craig is not just an engineer but a consultant, educator, technologist, and an artist. He has been teaching for 15 years at some of the highest institutions of learning including New York University, M.I.T., and Riddle Aeronautical University, at various U.S. museums, and the U.S.A. Science & Engineering Festival just to name a few. He is currently working on further technology education in foreign countries like East Africa. His specialties include programming, animation, game design, video and sound editing, soldering, sensors, actuators, microcontrollers and wireless networks as well as educational and technological skill. It is no wonder then that the focus of his talk is centered around sharing design information and providing equal access to the technologies that enable learning. This sharing of knowledge brings about better innovation to the world because “the more people that understand the levers and gears behind the miracles we find and even create, the better our chances for creating even more constructive wonder and solving the problems that arise as life on earth.”

The Reality of What's Possible with Collaborative Robots and What's Still in the Works in 2017
Matt Fitzgerald, Vice President of Customer Experience, Rethink Robotics
Location:  210D
Date:  Tuesday, February 7
Time:  8:30am - 9:00am
Conference Track: Smart Manufacturing

Collaborative robots are a rising trend for 2017 and are predicted to be the most used robot in automation until 2025. As previously reported on Machine Design, robots will complete 25% of all labor tasks and sale of cobots will increase by 13%. In this conference, Matt Fitzgerald from Rethink Robotics will highlight the ever growing trend of cobots and their role in the future of automation. The conference will explore the following topics:

  • Developments in newer, lighter, and stronger robotic materials and technology to drive down production costs
  • The current capabilities and limitations of robotics on the market and in development
  • Maximizing the potential for lower-volume, higher-mix applications in an expanded market while simultaneously maintaining low inventory in the warehouse
  • Case Study: Meet Baxter, a success story in collaborative robotic deployment among the human workforce

Safety First: Working on a Team with "Fenceless" Robots
Roberta Nelson Shea, Global Technical Compliance Officer, Universal Robots
Location:  210D
Date:  Tuesday, February 7
Time:  9:00am - 9:30am
Conference Track: Smart Manufacturing

Implementation of stationary industrial robots requires several safety procedures including fences, light safety curtains, and immediate shut down procedures. The benefit of collaborative robots is the built in safety they offer. The robots from Universal Robots are designed with safety built in order to eliminate the cages between humans and robots. The conference will cover the safest way to implement robots. As more fixed and mobile robots begin working outside of a cage, safety becomes a bigger concern for employees and products in a manufacturing facility. This session will discuss the following topics:

  • Best practices for working "hand in hand" with smart robots
  • Developments in sensors that allow robots to be more aware of surroundings and environments
  • Standards, including risk assessments, to know for implementing a collaborative robot installation

Co-Presentation: Overcoming Limitations in Sensor Technology
Tom Craven, Vice President of Product Strategy, RRAMAC Connected Systems
Steve Kaminski, Business Development Manager - Wireless Products, Banner Engineering
Location:  210D
Date:  Wednesday, February 8
Time:  9:00am - 9:30am
Conference Track: Smart Manufacturing

The Industrial Internet of Things is becoming more and more tangible every day. The idea of having sensors and data has evolved from idealistic conversations to reality. This presentation will cover how sensors are the most critical parts of enabling connected and smart manufacturing processes. Collecting data through visual, thermal, vibratory, and position sensors will help cut costs, reduce downtime, and bring forth the connected wireless devices.

Legacy vs. New Equipment: Recognizing the Right Time to Say "Out with the Old, In with the New"
Steve Mustard, Cybersecurity Chair, Automation Federation
Location:  210D
Date:  Thursday, February 9
Time:  9:30am - 10:00am
Conference Track: Smart Manufacturing

Converting a manufacturing plant to modern systems is a daunting task. To decide whether or not replacing older equipment with new equipment brings up a list of questions such as will my new equipment work with my old equipment; how much will the upfront cost be; and do I have to completely overhaul my entire plant. The session will help answer these questions along with discussing:

  • How to test IoT technology compatibility with legacy equipment before making an investment
  • Recognizing the potential downside of maintaining legacy equipment and hybridizing a factory floor
  • How companies can employ legacy equipment in a system while deploying smart manufacturing processes and strategies are being scaled up over time
  • What are the security implications of connecting old equipment to new systems?