Factory Automation Expert Witness

Factory Automation Expert

The basic principles of manufacturing have not changed for hundreds of years. Raw material enters the factory where it is moved, machined, and processed to transform it into a more valuable state. What has changed is the automation technology available for the processing. Modern factories may have very few people on the manufacturing floor. Robots handle materials, automated vehicles move the materials between "islands of automation" and a networked control room oversees it all. The need for higher levels of machine utilization, higher levels of productivity per person, consistency in quality and consistency in production rate has driven these changes. Some specific examples of factory automation include:

Industrial robots are perhaps the most recognized form of factory automation. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) defines and industrial robot as a "re-programmable multi-functional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks".  Joseph Engelberger, often called the father of industrial robots, is quoted as saying: "I can't define a robot, but I know one when I see one."

Automated cranes provide the ability to stack goods and products vertically for dense space utilization. These are often coupled with fork-lift type automatic guided vehicles that can store and retrieve pallets and containers completely autonomously.

Conveyor belts are another very recognizable form of factory automation. Conveyor belts can move at a very high rate of speed – 20 ft/second and even faster. While this makes them efficient, it also may make them dangerous. All the material on the belt becomes part of the belt’s mass. This large mass combined with speed can give the belts extremely high momentum.

The list of automated machines that can be part of a factory automation system is long and includes: presses, press brakes, shears, turning Machines, drilling, milling, boring, casting, injection molding, grinding, sawing, spline cutting, roll-forming,  plastic winding, tube bending, extruding, manufacturing cells, machining centers and transfer machines.

I have worked extensively with factory automation and factory automation software and can support your litigation efforts in that regard as a factory automation expert witness. My qualifications include numerous peer-reviewed publications and over thirty years of engineering experience with software, robotics, instrumentation, medical devices, computer-controlled machines and factory automation.

I accept a small number of litigation support engagements to complement my regular employment as a professional engineer designing factory automation systems.


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