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Consumer Products Industry Newsletter – May 2024

The Essentials of Integrating a Robot into your Process

The reasons for automating manual processes are well known at this point. For tasks that are the 4D’s – dull, dirty, dangerous or difficult to fill – a robot or other automation solution makes sense from a financial, quality and efficiency standpoint. You could almost say that robots are commonplace these days! However, choosing the right robot and integrating it into your process is anything but easy.

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There are many different types of robots on the market – industrial, collaborative, SCARA, mobile and more – each suited for different tasks. In addition, there are many different brands of robots out there, each with their own specialties, their own software and their own quirks. It’s important to work with a company which looks at your automation project based on the task needed, rather than shoe-horning a particular robot into it.

And don’t forget, automation is much more than a robot. Sometimes a custom precision motion control solution will work better for your application than a robot or will have a better ROI.

But choosing the right motion component is only the first step.

Unless you have a large team of automation engineers on staff (and sometimes when you do), integrating your new automation project into your existing process requires specialist knowledge. From the hardware to the software to the safety systems and peripherals, each component must be tied together and communicating seamlessly to achieve the desired result.

Get ready for lightning season!

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Warmer weather signals the run up to lightning season, so now is the time to make sure your rail and truck scales are prepared. A single lightning strike, or one nearby, can short out the load cells, wires, junction boxes and accessories on your heavy capacity scale. And, let’s face it, with today’s increasingly unpredictable weather, it’s not IF there’s a lightning strike, it’s when.

Since your scale is likely the heart of your operation, either inbound or outbound, it’s important to make sure you’re ready for the worst weather or you may face downtime or lost revenue if something happens. Remember, it only takes one strike to take down your entire scale system.


Did You Know?

Need help with parts inspection? Consider Cross's onsite inspection

We see it all the time: customers who have more parts to be inspected than resources to perform the inspection. Whether you’re short a person or don’t have enough equipment to use, that growing backlog can be stressful and costly. Cross’s onsite inspection capability can help. We bring our own portable CMM to your facility at a time convenient for you and stay as long as you need us. We can also help with first article inspections (FAI), 3D scanning, fixture certification and more. Learn more

What's New at Cross

X-Ray and CT Scanning from Cross Testing

If you are making parts with complex interior stuctures or mating parts, it can be difficult to check they are up to spec without destroying the part itself. Cross can help you to reduce the risk of selling componets with interior flaws. Our testing lab offers both X-ray and CT scanning so you can inspect your parts without destroying them.

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Cross Provides Tangible Value for You

Raise Quality

Need someone to train your team to use a Faro portable CMM or Polyworks? Contact the inspection team at Cross. As you can see from the article above, our inspection experts work with Faro arms daily and would be glad to train your team on the basics of using them.

Polyworks is fast becoming the industry standard for inspection software. It’s tremendously powerful and once you know how to use it, pretty intuitive. If your team needs training on Polyworks, we can help with that, too!

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Reducing Risk

Pneumatic rotary actuators play a pivotal role in the world of automation, bringing a blend of high torque and robust construction packaged in a cost-effective, compact component.

While the external controls are very simple, consisting primarily of a directional control valve, getting good performance from these actuators requires careful attention to some details. Cross supplier Rotomation outlines six main factors to consider.

Improve Efficiency

Schunk’s new BSWS-R allows the jaws of a gripper on a robot or axis gantry to be changed automatically which is much faster than changing the entire gripper. This increases flexibility, as a single gripper can be used for various applications and saves time when converting between them, as different workpieces can be handled by simply changing the gripper fingers. It also has a PGN-plus-P fingerprint, making it fully compatible with a wide range of other Schunk grippers for retrofits.

See how our team can help improve quality, increase efficiency, and reduce risk

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In the meantime, enjoy these fun facts…

Did you know… Cross Company is an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). Our ESOP started in 1979 and as of 2006, we are 100% employee-owned! Learn more about our ESOP and how that benefits both team members and our customers.
Did you know... the precision measurement group at Cross was founded in 1939 by our current CEO's grandfather, Jim King. That's a whole lot of calibration!
Did you know... A fingerprint weighs about 50 micrograms. We know, we weighed it! The residue left from a finger can actually make a difference in weight results which is why we wear gloves when we calibrate weights. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 4.5 grams, that’s 4.5 million micrograms.
Did you know… Cross Company has grown significantly since our start in 1954. Over the years we've acquired 26 companies! Today, our five groups have expertise in everything from industrial automation to precision measurement, and industry knowledge going all the way back to 1939.