As 2016 comes to a close, everyone is inevitably curious about what the new year will bring. Arnie Fulton, Pace's vice president of engineering, provided insight on manufacturing trends that will influence the company strategy in 2017.
- Automation Continues – Collaborative robots are a trend that has received a lot of attention in industry publications. The great thing about these robots is that they are designed to work alongside our associates. We have found they are easier to program and safer to use than conventional robots. Pace will continue to implement automatic equipment, and our main focus will be on the further utilization of collaborative robot applications.
- Larger 3-D Printing Presence – Pace dabbled in 3-D printing this year, but we really want to grow that over the next 12 months. The trials completed this past year have been quite successful. We’ve used 3D printing for both die components and machining fixtures, and we will be expanding to castings next.
- Focused on Thermal Control – One of our goals for 2017 is to delve even more into the process of controlling the die temperature for the purpose of improving the quality of die castings. Further understanding of the thermodynamic process will result in an improved consistency, which will lead to an improved product.
- Integration of Laser Manufacturing – Laser manufacturing is not new to Pace Industries, but there is opportunity for it to continue to evolve and become more integrated throughout our company over the next year. We are currently in the process of researching and developing its use within our facilities, and the goal is to complete that research in 2017 so we can begin implementation. As a company, we are eager to incorporate laser manufacturing into a variety of functions, including the repair of tooling and machine components, extending the life of casting dies and even fabricating new parts for increased performance.
Given that we pride ourselves on exceeding expectations with our work, it is no surprise that our 2017 objectives reflect constant improvement in areas we are familiar with. We are dedicated to achieving and excelling at these upcoming trends, and continuing to identify new areas for opportunity. That is how we will remain dedicated to providing uncommon solutions to our customers in 2017 and in the many years to follow.