Recently, I was giving a tour of EAM to a family member, whom I must point out is not employed in the manufacturing sector whatsoever. He was completely amazed at what was going on with the size and complexity of some of the automation equipment currently being assembled on the shop floor. He commented that he was saddened by the future loss of workers at the hands of this automation, and that EAM was going to displace many jobs with this round of equipment and all future projects.
I introduced him to a few of the employees at EAM so that he could see we were not monsters out to ruin the economy of the US, but working folks that were very talented in their respective fields of engineering and technical expertise. I then gave him a tour of our new facility up the road. A major facelift is in process of our 67,000 square foot building where the two divisions of Prescott Metal and EAM will merge and grow later this summer. During this tour I also explained that if US companies were not competitive in today’s market, all of these products we are automating would be made overseas.
This family member walked away with a true appreciation of what we do, impressed with how and why we do it, and a level of respect for our company owner who has the vision to expand our facility, the business, and in the process, grow our family of employees with good paying jobs and benefits to help propel the Maine and US economy forward.
Why all the talk to automate factories today? While it appears on the surface that we may be throwing many workers out on the streets of America as we replace some with automation, the opposite may in fact be taking place before our very eyes. We as a country have lost many thousands of factory positions in the past few years. Companies relocated overseas, mainly for cheaper labor costs. Those lost jobs are coming back, and coming back fast! Companies are bringing jobs back within our borders, with a new focus on automation.
Automation is so much more than replacing factory workers of yesteryear. Automation at some point feeds us valuable information that will allow for improvements in the speed, quality and essentially the cost of a product or process. This data will enable manufacturing to compete on a global level while maintaining a manufacturing operation within our own borders, thereby insuring longevity and security to the workers of today. Jobs will surely change for the people performing the work, but these jobs will pay better wages with improved benefits as companies profit from the benefits of automation.
We at EAM are experiencing this demand for automation from companies around the country. We are growing fast to keep up with this demand. It is very comforting to see job growth, as opposed to more news of yet another company leaving America and taking jobs away from our workers.
Here we go with the acronyms again. Do you know what RFID is? Radio Frequency Identification can be thought of as bar code information that is scanned or received over the air instead of visibly off printed material. Where a bar code is presented to you by way of a printed mark on a package or label, RFID information is carried by a small device, usually a chip.
If you’re interested, you can find a more detailed definition here.
You may not be familiar with what this technology is, or what it’s called but you probably already use it in many parts of your everyday life.
You may already be an RFID Power User if:
You have a transponder in your car for the toll roads you use
You use a key card at work that you only have to touch on a pad
You have one of those fancy new credit cards that let you just tap a touch pad at your favorite fast food place (go on! admit it! somebody is still eating at those places!)
You’ve had your pet chipped
Well, you get the idea. With the four previous examples in mind, you can probably think of several other ways you are already using RFID.
This short video clip can also help you understand why EAM comes into the RFID picture, and what’s great about this clip explaining this technology is that they’ve decided to go low-tech with their teaching aids; paper cut-outs!
Now you know why you’ll be hearing from EAM a lot more in the future as RFID use expands. Engineered Automation’s Delta Applicators are now being used in RFID projects. There was a time when major manufacturers of CD’s, batteries, cameras, and later DVD’s were applying EAS (anti-theft tags) manually and then the folks at EAM developed machinery specifically designed to apply them at high volumes. We’re sure you think fondly of those anti-theft tags as the ones that sometimes set off alarms at Wal-Mart and other major retailers. Yep! Those are EAM’s machines putting those tags in your merchandise. You can see a clip here:
But hey! The EAM guys are just doing their jobs! And quite well!
The point is that, as you saw in the earlier clip, RFID tags are working their way through the distribution chains and more of them will be used at “Item Level” or, in other words, one unique tag on each of a particular item on the shelf.
EAM has already completed several projects for item-level RFID tag application. You can see one here:
So you should definitely keep an eye on EAM as they delve deeper and deeper into the wild-and-wonderful-world of RFID!
3. Visit our Youtube channel and subscribe for all upcoming videos.
And, if that hasn’t kept you busy enough, here’s another assignment; if you’ve encountered interesting uses for RFID technology you think the folks at EAM might not have heard about, Contact Us and let us know and we’ll make sure your information gets posted.