Design Engineering

DEX/MRO 2021 Expo sessions available online

By DE Staff   

Automation Machine Building

Speakers explore the value of machine data, practical AI for manufacturing and the power of commercialization, the “dark side” of innovation.

The DEX/MRO 2021 Expo may have wrapped up late last week, but those who missed the lineup of the digital tradeshow’s high profile speakers can still register and view the content-dense presentations in full. Each session is available online for viewing at any time.

The event kicked off with the morning keynote, The Collection and Value of Machine Generated Data, delivered by Steve Loftus, President of Innovative Automation. Best known for their custom machine building and automation engineering, the company made headlines in 2020 for the development of the TidalPump ventilator.

For his presentation, however, Loftus focused on the collection of traditional and nontraditional manufacturing data to improve manufacturing processes and reduce production overhead costs.

“With AI, the machine can analyze the process and make adjustments so that we’re optimizing what we’re producing,” he said. “I truly believe this will have biggest impact going forward.”


Building on that theme, Eigen Innovations co-founder and CEO, Scott Everett presented Practical AI for Manufacturing, during which he explored the latest studies around unlocking the true value of AI in manufacturing and shared some of his key finding from delivering solutions on the factory floor.

Everett’s Fredricton, N.B.-based firm specializes in machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled vision solution to enhance quality control.

“Artificial Intelligence is becoming dominant in so many articles no matter what the field,” he said. “But, often times, the hype of AI doesn’t match up to what it’s accomplishing in the field. Here, I want to explore the practicality of AI and lay out the critical components for success, that we’ve learned from working with customers.”

The second half of the full day tradeshow began with Commercialization: Welcome to the Dark Side of Innovation, the afternoon keynote address presented by Peng-Sang Cau, Vice President Sales, Emerging Markets and Symphoni at ATS Automation.

Prior to its acquisition by ATS, Ms. Cau co-founded and led Transformix Engineering, a Kingston Ontario-based machine building firm that invented, patented and successfully commercialized a modular high-speed automated assembly technology called Symphoni.

Drawing on that experience, she laid out the pitfalls that many innovative Canadian companies fall prey to as well as strategies for how to avoid them.

“Most technology companies started by engineers or researchers believe that if they create a great technology, everyone will want it and that the market will be infinite. That’s an absolute fallacy,” she said. Instead, she asserted that poor commercialization is more often responsible for failures than poor engineering or financial management.

Rounding out the day, Sandro Quintero, Product Manager, Festo North America presented Simple Tools for Engineers in a Fast-Paced Market. During his session, Quintero demonstrated online tools that mechanical engineers can add to their toolbox to help them speed up time to market while keeping the overall solution simple.

“To design an application, engineers commonly have to refer to multiple data sheets to make sure the components satisfy various parameters, including dimensions, moments of inertia, control system performance, etc.,” he said. “As an automation company, we at Festo been through this repetitive process many times, so we’ve come up with online tools that simplify and streamline these processes.”

In the near future, we hope to return to the in-person Design Engineering Expo (DEX) events that Design Engineering magazine has hosted across Canada. In the meantime, be sure to check out the above, and other presentations by registering for the DEX/MRO 2021 Expo.


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