[VIDEO] Stanley Black & Decker Introduces the Internet of Things to its Factory
Toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker has outfitted its manufacturing center in Reynosa, Mexico with sensors that have the ability to detect issues or delays in the production line. The company says the effort has led to significant improvement in production, despite some initial teething problems.
The initiative was introduced by Stanley’s CIO in 2012 and since has increased tool production by 10 percent and labor productivity by 12 percent. The sensors are able to detect problems along the product line a lot faster than a human could. This saves time and negates the need for managers to walk the factory floor all day.
Stanley Black & Decker is not the only multi-national corporation to tap into the Internet of Things to help with production – General Electric (GE) and Honeywell have also used the system to boost efficiency.
Introducing RFID Technology
In Reynosa – the manufacturing hub for Stanley Black & Decker’s DeWALT range – RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags and monitoring software provides managers with real-time feedback from the assembly lines. This feedback helps to measure how each section of the production line is performing.
The RFID tags wirelessly relay data to the plants computer network. They measure product time stamps, the number of products created and the level of quality among other things. If the software detects a problem it will alert the site manager via a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Workers can also alert supervisors of any concerns using the push of a button.
Significant Time Saving
Before the Internet of Things, the discovery of defects was a manual exercise and one that was left to managers walking the production floor. Considering the scales of many of these plants, it goes without saying that automating the process is a huge time saver, not to mention that fact that any defects are identified quickly, saving cost and reducing waste. Stanley Black & Decker has plans to roll out the Internet of Things to seven of its manufacturing facilities around the world.
CIO, Gary Frederick talking about RFID technology at Stanley Black & Decker's Mexico plant:
Ultium Cells LLC/Li-Cycle: Sustainable Battery Manufacturing
Ultium Cells LLC - a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solutions - has announced its latest collaboration with Li-Cycle. Joining forces the two have set ambitions to expand recycling in North America, recycling up to 100% of the scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing
What is Ultium Cells LLC?
Announcing their partnership in December 2019, General Motors (GM) and LG Energy Solutions established Ultium Cells LLC with a mission to “ensure excellence of Battery Cell Manufacturing through implementation of best practices from each company to contribute [to the] expansion of a Zero Emission propulsion on a global scale.”
Who is Li-Cycle?
Founded in 2016, Li-Cycle leverages innovative solutions to address emerging and urgent challenges around the world.
As the use of Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in automotive, industrial energy storage, and consumer electronic applications rises, Li-Cycle believes that “the world needs improved technology and supply chain innovations to better recycle these batteries, while also meeting the rapidly growing demand for critical and scarce battery-grade materials.”
Why are Ultium Cells LLC and Li-Cycle join forces?
By joining forces to expand the recycling of scrap materials in battery cell manufacturing in North America, the new recycling process will allow Ultium Cells LLC to recycle cobalt, nickel, lithium, graphite, copper, manganese and aluminum.
“95% of these materials can be used in the production of new batteries or for adjacent industries,” says GM, who explains that the new hydrometallurgical process emits 30% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) than traditional processes, minimising the environmental impact. Use of this process will begin later in the year (2021).
"Our combined efforts with Ultium Cells will be instrumental in redirecting battery manufacturing scrap from landfills and returning a substantial amount of valuable battery-grade materials back into the battery supply chain. This partnership is a critical step forward in advancing our proven lithium-ion resource recovery technology as a more sustainable alternative to mining, " said Ajay Kochhar, President, CEO and co-founder of Li-Cycle.
"GM's zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90% of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025. Now, we're going to work closely with Ultium Cells and Li-Cycle to help the industry get even better use out of the materials,” added Ken Morris, Vice President of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles, GM.
Since 2013, GM has recycled or reused 100% of the battery packs it has received from customers, with most current GM EVs repaired with refurbished packs.
"We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended. This is a crucial step in improving the sustainability of our components and manufacturing processes,” concluded Thomas Gallagher, Chief Operating Officer, Ultium Cells LLC.