Reaping the benefits of lights-out machining

At the National Tooling and Machining Association Plant Managers Roundtable, held Feb. 8 in Phoenix, Jeff Estes, director of Partners in THINC at Okuma America Corp., Charlotte, N.C., discussed the advantages and challenges of shop-floor automation. Estes focused on technologies that support automation and make it effective, rather than on specific automation equipment, such as bar feeders, robots and flexible manufacturing systems (FMS).