Connected Workshops meets Smart(er) Shops

Watch shops get smarter in less than ten minutes


What happens when essential components of typical manufacturing shops overflow, malfunction, or run dry? Operations cease. Workpieces are scrapped. Time, not to mention money, is lost.

Smart(er) Shop is a new show on IMTS+, developed in partnership with Autodesk, that applies affordable and easy-to-install digital solutions to common analog problems in small to medium-sized shops. The Technical Environments team at the Boston Technology Center joined up with the Association of Manufacturing Technology (AMT), who is also a part of the Outsight Network, to bring viewers smart shop solutions that don’t require months of planning, big budgets, an engineering degree, or even coding experience.

Inspiration for the solutions featured came in part from the Connected Workshops initiative, led by the Technical Environments team in collaboration with the Birmingham Technology Centre. The initiative is divided into three workstreams: Data Infrastructure, Data Capture, and Data Security and Network Infrastructure, and some of what’s been installed in the workshops addresses the problems often experienced by the Smart(er) Shop audience.

For example, episode one tackles the issue of dust (or material) collection. This episode was based on an incident in the Technology Center’s woodshop, where there was a major overflow of the dust collection system. To solve this problem, the team implemented a simple monitoring system with an edge device to tell them when their collection bins needed to be emptied. The episode shows viewers how they can set up a similar edge device to avoid dust or material collection mishaps.

These improvements highlight how the Connected Workshops are implementing essential fixes through data-informed decision making which, in turn, can help smaller shops. To find out more, be sure to tune into season one of Smart(er) Shop on IMTS+ to see innovative ideas in action.

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