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Material handling & robotics: Articulated robotic arm at packaging line in factory

Robotics in Material Handling

May 5, 2021

What to Expect?

  1. Benefits of Robotics in Material Handling/Why Use Robotics?
  2. Which Material Handling Robot Is for Your Business?
  3. Big and Small Material Handling
  4. Bin Picking
  5. The Future of Material Handling

Material Handling and Robotics go hand in hand, quite literally! The inclusion of tending systems and automated robots has become quite common in the industrial sector. It works with robotics arms moving the products on and off the conveyor belts during the material handling process.

In the increasingly competitive landscape, this allows you to streamline the repetitive tasks with the utmost ease. Anything needing shifted from Point A to Point B, programmable robotics can handle.

The market for robotics in material handling is set to touch the $39 billion mark by the end of 2022. The boom is largely accredited to the vast array of functions that can be moved into the robotics sector. Material tending, part transfer, palletizing, and pick and place applications are a few of the accepted ones.

Why Use Robotics in Material Handling?

The golden question that arrives when it comes to robotics: why should you invest in it in the first place?

Increased Uptime

Automated processes allow you to do more in less time. It also helps manage the tight delivery schedules through a radical shift in managing disruptions and reducing their overall potential.

Adaption and Flexibility

Instead of being driven by a web of wires, the technology can find efficient routes and change in line with the industries’ inventories and workforce—thus lending space for scalability and flexibility.

Controlled Outlay and Labor Management

Robotics doesn’t replace your labor; it makes them more efficient. The automated solutions make up for employee shortages, saving both time and money in the long run.

Adds to the quality

With the tasks being repetitive in nature, the space for scrap, rework, and human error is significantly reduced. Plus, when properly programmed, the robotics deliver a higher ROI and upgraded quality.

Which Material Handling Robot Is for Your Business?

The size and functions of the robot depend upon two factors – reach and payload. However, since reassignment allows you to capitalize on the investment, it is always prudent to over-specify these details.

Reach

While reach can be an issue depending upon the routing and handling belts, some unconventional options can never hurt. No rulebook makes a floor-mounted pedestal mandatory. You can get creative and select a wall or ceiling mount to go with your process as well.

Speed

Regarding picking and packing, you must take into consideration the speed and repeatability factors. For instance, in the case of a moving conveyor, swift actions with a sensory vision system could help with productivity and precision.

Big and Small Material Handling

The continuous growth and innovation in software, vision, and gripper technologies have given robotics the power to facilitate material handling at all ends. The machines are now faster and sturdier to handle a significant level of payloads. Big robots operating within work cells can even handle the larger materials. This has been possible with compact manipulators and prominently shaped grippers.

Some robots can hold and move around 3000 pounds. Automotive companies use them to pick up buses and tractor frames, transferring fully or partially assembled pieces across different lines. The robots pick the structures, flip them over, and set them back onto a carrier for further processing.

On the other hand, for smaller tasks, more intelligent networks are being built within the cell. For instance, all the low payload robots work in sync, finally passing the product to a larger lift assistant to manage the higher load capacity. Plus, smaller robots optimize floor space utilization while also giving a remarkable boost to efficiency.

For fragile parts like electronics and food products, manufacturers are employing one-kg payload delta robots with certified grippers to handle the food appropriately. Similarly, robotic food and biotech handling operations are also on the rise.

Bin Picking

Bin Picking must be one of the most tedious ordeals of material handling. Hence, creating a fully robotic system to handle the process is nothing short of a manufacturing unit’s boon. However, it is a rather complex method and needs the manipulators to act accordingly.

The first step is to deploy three-dimensional scanners, which can guide the grippers for a better hold. The scanner builds an array of light points using a structured pattern to complete the tasks efficiently. It also eliminates the need for sensor heads on a robot.

Additionally, the robots are designed to travel on a rail, speeding up the picking and packaging processes for material handling, distribution, and manufacturing operations.

Automated bin picking is further suitable for the general industry, appliance manufacturing, plastic and metal products, and much more.

The Future of Material Handling

Robotics might be growing slowly in the Industry 4.0 revolution, but it’s building with an upwards line for material handling. With rapidly changing software, faster speeds, and continually improving structures, it shall be the new normal for manufacturing and warehouse units worldwide.

More and more managers now realize how to leverage robotics to increase their demand, production, and efficiency. As a growing area for innovation, it may change material handling as we know it. Warehouses that previously were only used as a distribution are now becoming equipped to also handle order fulfillment due to the uptrend in robotic technology according to Forbes.

Where Johnson Electric Comes In

Our BTA line of solenoids only needs milliseconds to successfully divert a package to its appropriate location with minimal effort and zero downtime. Also, with the silent operation and long life, with over 100 million actuations per solenoid, it is a perfect solution for sorting applications. We also supply a variety of open frame solenoids for the robotics industry.

For more information please contact us.


Kia, Interior of modern car. Side door buttons under pink neon color: window, mirror adjustment buttons, door lock. Car interior.

How Solenoids Make Automotive Doors More Secure

April 7, 2021

How Solenoids Make Automotive Compartments and Door Locks More Secure

Solenoids are used in the automotive industry to make effective locks and latches. The solenoid’s plunger connects to a latch that locks or unlocks when the system is activated with an electric current. The electromagnets are turned on and off through the supply and withdrawal of current. The electromagnet pulls the plunger in to unlatch, and when removed, a fail-safe spring re-engages the lock.

How Solenoid Automotive Locks Work

Solenoid automotive locks use remote controls to release tough doors by just pushing a button. The door lock can be monostable or bistable, depending on its use. Monostable designs allow the door to lock when there is no power supply automatically. In the less popular bistable system, the door locks when the solenoid is energized or supplied with power. The solenoid will need to be re-energized to unlock the door.

Automotive solenoids are available in two types, either Pull or Push configuration. Pull-type solenoids generate a pulling force on a large diameter plunger when energized. A small diameter shaft is attached to the bottom of the plunger to achieve a pushing motion inside the coil, thus creating a pushing motion out of the coil’s opposite side while the plunger is pulled in. Both types of solenoids are constructed in the same way, with the only difference being in the spring location and the plunger’s design.

Advantages of Autolock Solenoids

  • Excellent for releasing sticky latches with minimal noise
  • Safer than manual lock systems because they lock automatically when the remote is pressed.
  • Advanced design minimizes the size and weight of the device.
  • Consumes small amounts of energy; no power is utilized when the door is locked
  • Durable and shockproof
  • Fully scalable and can be designed in various sizes to fit different applications.

Why Solenoids Are Effective

The locking mechanism of the solenoid door lock is similar to a key lock system. The only difference is that the solenoid uses a low-voltage electrical energy supplier instead of a key. The power supply triggers the latch to pull into the door when a remote is pressed. The latch will hold the door in place as long as it is in the locked mode. These types of locks are used in remote-controlled and automated car locks.

Solenoid door locks use electromagnetic energy and an adjustable piston or plunger as the lock and key system. The system often has a low-voltage DC power source, such as a battery. When the control is triggered by way of a control device or remote, electric power flows to the coil activating the electromagnet.

The strong magnet pulls the piston unlocking the door. In most systems, the latch or locking mechanism is attached to the plunger through an actuator arm that pulls the lock out of position. When the power supply to the solenoid is cut off, the plunger resets the latch making the door lock again.

The locking solenoids are very robust and have been proven to withstand over 100,000 lock and unlock events. Some designs can handle many more locking and unlocking cycles. These systems are energy efficient, often requiring electric power for a maximum of one minute.

Energy Saving Option

Some solenoids’ designs help users save power by using a permanent magnet to maintain a locked or unlocked status when the lock system is idle. The permanent magnet holds the internal component of the solenoid in place by countering the internal spring force. This enables it to maintain a locked or unlocked state without consuming power.

Of course, the permanent magnet design requires a power supply to actuate the solenoid coil. Supplying the system with power reverses the solenoid coil’s polarity to counteract the permanent magnet’s hold. This allows the internal spring to push the piston to a position where it either inhibits or allows the locking mechanism’s movement.

Johnson Electric is a leading manufacturer of solenoids used in car manufacturing. Contact us for a consultation about your custom product development projects.


Cardboard boxes on conveyor belt. Parcels transportation system, Conveyor system relying on solenoids

How Linear Solenoid Actuators Work in Package Distribution and Transport

March 3, 2021

In 2019, the conveyor system market was valued at $7.73 billion. It is expected to reach up to $10.07 billion by 2025. The growth behind conveyors is pushed by the growing need for manufacturers and industries in different fields to make smarter use of labor, technology, and equipment.

Various industries, including automotive, food processing manufacturing, paper and printing, pharmaceuticals, and even airports, rely heavily on the efficiency of conveyor systems for fast and safe transportation of packages and parts through the different stages of production and processing systems. With the growing demand for supply, it’s easy to see why manufacturers are turning to conveyor systems to streamline and speed up their processes.

Applications of Conveyor Systems

The functions of conveyors differ depending on the field and specialty of the manufacturer is using them:

Automotive

In the automotive industry, conveyors move parts down the assembly line. At times, the parts weigh several hundred pounds, which calls for a sound conveyor system and components capable of handling the weight. Most automotive facilities will have conveyors of several sizes to haul different parts.

Food processing

Food processors are large consumers of conveyor systems as well. Unlike the conveyor systems in the automotive industry where the primary function is moving heavy loads through the assembly points, in food processing, conveyors mainly help to speed up the production and make handling processes safer and hygienic.

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry also relies on conveyors to move products through the various production points in the factory. The systems move everything from the packaging to bottle tops along the line to ensure efficiency, speed, and accuracy.

Airports

In airports, the sole purpose of conveyors is to move the luggage from the cargo hold of the aircraft to the carousel. These conveyors consist of belts and rollers that keep the bags moving without breaking the items in your bag.

Paper and printing

Despite digital media, there’s still sufficient demand for print media. Conveyor systems are a staple here as well. They play a critical role in turning pulp into different types of paper, pressing out the moisture, and even feeding individual sheets into printing machines and moving the stacks through the facilities into the packaging station.

Pharmaceuticals

Conveyor systems also make up an essential part of pharmaceutical processes. Conveyor applications in this field include compressing pills, sorting, grouping, rejecting and transferring, high-speed bottle feeling, and blister packing.

The Driving Force behind Conveyor and Packaging Systems

There is more to conveyors and packaging systems in production lines than meets the eye. Rotary and linear solenoids make a critical part of the big conveyor belts and packaging machines you see.

Known for their adaptability and long-life, solenoids are the unsung heroes of every automated plant.

Solenoids for Packaging

Solenoid are mainly used in packaging to release, shut off, dose, distribute or mix products.

The use of solenoids in packaging allows for precise and quick measurements of various products. Two types of solenoid valves see routine use in packaging. Each one has unique features to match its environment and requirements.

Solenoids in Transportation

Solenoids form a crucial part in the movement of goods and parts mainly through conveyors. These intricate systems require simple solenoid solutions to transport cargo through various distances effectively.

  • Airline conveyors — Solenoids help airline linear conveyor belts correctly navigate luggage through the extensive system to the intended destination. The solenoids help in moving, stopping, and in the switching of the conveyors.
  • Warehouse conveyors — Like in airport conveyors, solenoids move the belts carrying cargo to various parts of the warehouse. They serve as clutches and actuate the gears while moving heavy equipment and machinery quickly and efficiently.

Solenoids work in different types of conveyors systems like linear, step, and spiral conveyors allowing manufacturers to bridge various conveyors, move products up or down, or load boxes and finished products into trucks.

Quality Solenoids for all Transport and Packaging Applications

Even though small, solenoids are a vital part of a more massive and more elaborate system that drives every factory. We offer a premium range of motion solenoids for different automation processes in various industries.

With our quality and diverse range of solenoids, you have reliable parts that not only simplify operations and handling but also help to cut costs without compromising efficiency.

For the best solenoid products, contact us today, and we will be more than willing to assist.


Exhaust duct and ventilation equipment in EVAP system outside of industrial building against blue sky background; role of solenoid valves in indoor air quality

How Solenoids Help Improve Indoor Air Quality

February 3, 2021

Solenoid valves are electronic devices used to control the flow of gases or liquid through a system. The electromagnetic device replaces manual valves and allows users to automate their system. Solenoid valves can be used in indoor condenser systems to control the temperature while cooking. More advanced solenoid valve systems provide reliable airflow while reducing the humidity levels. Solenoids are used to control the indoor air quality in other spaces such as bathroom exhaust fans and specific electronics in designer kitchens. All these applications leverage the ability of solenoid valves to work in a wide range of condenser systems.

Temperature Control in Evaporator Systems

Solenoid valves are used to control the flow of liquid in evaporator systems. They work together with a differential thermostat to control the temperature in indoor environments. The system works by placing a thermostat bulb where it controls the discharge or supply of air in the evaporator. The thermostat controls temperature swings through a differential. This type of solenoid valve can be used to control the temperature in single and multiple evaporator systems. It is especially useful in complex systems where evaporators operate at different temperatures.

Liquid Line Shut-Off

Sometimes, engineers may attempt to increase indoor air conditioning systems’ efficiency by installing a normally closed solenoid valve inside the liquid line adjacent to the furnace or air handler. The solenoid valve is parallel to the contractor circuit and often requires a large transformer to power the valve. An alternative method is placing a normally closed solenoid valve along the liquid line adjacent to the condensing unit and connecting it to the compressor motor terminal box. This installation improves system efficiency and keeps the refrigerant charge inside the condenser coil instead of allowing it to migrate. The solenoid valve is a fail-safe device that ensures the system runs all the time.

Split Evaporators

Split evaporators are used in systems where the air temperature in an indoor space is satisfactory, but the humidity amount is too high. The situation is corrected by using one half of the evaporator to remove moisture from the air without causing excessive cooling or adding extra heat. This objective is achieved by installing a normally open solenoid valve on the side of the evaporator that is controlled by the humidistat.

Heat Reclaim Systems

Heat reclaim systems come in two forms of parallel and series systems. In series systems, the discharge gas is cooled to a low temperature inside the condenser during normal operation. During the heating phase, the solenoid valve that is normally open closes to block gas flow from the condenser while the solenoid valve that is normally closed opens to allow the flow of gas towards the heat reclaim coil. In some heat reclaim systems, complete condensation may occur inside the heat reclaim coil. However, most manufacturers prefer to utilize all the heat available and some of the latent heat for complete condensation.

In contrast, parallel systems have two separate condensers. During the normal operation, the condenser condenses the discharge gas completely. During the heat reclaim phase, the heat reclaim coil condenses the discharge gas completely. This approach allows the system to make maximum use of both latent and sensible heat.

Solenoids in Defrost Pump Systems

Pump down solenoid valves are used in condenser units installed in low ambient environments such as rooftops in cold climates. In this case, the evaporator operates at a temperature that is slightly above the ambient temperature. The arrangement enables the system to maintain pressure control at a cut-out level of 1 or 2 psi. In contrast, the cut-in pressure is maintained below the corresponding pressure of the ambient temperature. The setup ensures that the condenser will restart after cooling down during the defrosting phase. Systems with a pump down solenoid valve require the use of a thermostat in a series while the defrost time clock controls the ambient temperature of the indoor air space.

Hot Gas Defrost Systems

Hot gas defrost systems are often used in place of air or electric defrost systems. In such systems, the hot gas discharged by the compressor is directed towards the evaporator’s outlet. The hot gas heats the evaporator and thaws all the frost that may have accumulated. The gas condenses into a liquid and joins the common liquid line to supply other evaporators. Solenoid check valves help the system to work correctly when they are installed to facilitate the flow of liquid around the expansion valves. Pressure reducing valves are used along the liquid line to create a pressure differential in the condensed refrigerant coming from the defrosting evaporator and the common liquid line.

Cool Gas Defrost Systems

Cool gas defrost systems work on the same principles as the hot gas defrost systems. However, the cool gas defrost system uses gas coming from the top of the receiver system to defrost the evaporators. Since the cool gas defrost system operates at a low temperature, the heat-induced expansion of the refrigeration lines is minimized. This setup eliminates the need for condensers to have special pipes. It also stops leaks that are caused by line connections due to excessive thermal stretching.

Capacity Control Systems

Solenoid valves are used to provide condenser unloading by linking the suction lines of the compressor with the discharge. The solenoid valve is controlled through a pressure control system, which reacts to suction pressure. When the switch is closed, the normally closed solenoid valve opens so that the discharge gas is directed towards the suction side of the compressor. The system prevents the compressor from overheating by installing a thermostatic expansion valve to cool the compressor suction gas.

Conclusion

Solenoid valves are advanced flow control devices that enhance the effectiveness of indoor air management systems. They help control the humidity levels in kitchens and bathrooms through liquid injection and gas-by-pass mechanisms.

Johnson Electric is a leader in making custom solenoids for engineering and manufacturing firms in the U.S. Contact us for more discussion about your solenoid valve requirements.


Woman regulating heating temperature with a modern wireless thermostat; solenoid valves creating modern homes

Top 13 Ways Solenoids are Creating the Modern Home

January 6, 2021

A solenoid is a mechanical device that converts electric energy into mechanical energy. It consists of a coil, a housing, and a moveable device called an armature or a piston. When the device is switched on, magnetic fields activate the coil enabling it to draw in the armature. When power flows through the coil, it induces a strong flux that pulls the piston. The use of electromagnets allows the device to be switched on and off. Electromagnetic solenoids are ideal for making automatic valves and switches. Solenoids have many modern home applications ranging from washing machines to dryers, stoves, and air purifiers.

Solenoid Starters

Electric solenoids are used for automobile ignition systems in motorable machines such as mowers. The starter solenoid functions as a relax that initiates contact to close the circuit. The starter solenoid gets an electric current during ignition. The magnetic field pulls the contacts and closes the circuit between the starter motor and the battery. Starter solenoids remain idle most of the time because an internal combustion system powers the engine.

Chime Door Bells

Solenoids are used in doorbells. In this case, the solenoid is activated by an electric current once the doorbell is pushed. The current pushes the piston to strike the tone bar. It is this strike that produces the audible chime, otherwise known as the knock.

Door Locks

Solenoids are used in automatic locking systems found in modern door locks. When the door is locked, the solenoid is static and does not consume power. However, the unlocking mechanism induces the coil with electrical energy that pulls the piston to unlock the door.

Gaming

Solenoids are a component of the joystick controls used on gaming devices that simulate driving. Most gaming devices use latching solenoids, which hold the controls in place without needing a power source. The piston remains in a latched position relying on a specific holding force. Power is required to release the piston. Latching solenoids use DC power and are more efficient than other solenoids that require a constant power source.

Automatic Sprinklers

Solenoid valves are used in irrigation equipment, such as the automatic sprinklers used to water lawns and gardens. The solenoid valve controls the flow of water and can be set to operate autonomously.

HVAC Systems

Solenoid valves regulate the flow of hot water used in the showers, kitchen faucets, and several other installations at home. They close and open automatically to regulate the flow of hot and cold water. Most HVAC systems use pilot operated solenoid valves because they have a high flow rate.

Refrigerators

Solenoid valves are used in most modern refrigeration systems. The valve opens and closes to regulate the passage of the refrigerant. Solenoids are also used in the compressor system of refrigerators. Typically, there is an electric motor that runs the compressor. The compressor takes in purified air, then compresses it, and sends it to the fridge. The compressor is powered by a solenoid valve which closes the circuit to keep the air under pressure. When the tank achieves the desired pressure reading, the pressure switch stops the power supply. This allows the solenoid valve to open and release excessive air.

Another common use of solenoids in refrigerators are for ice selection or ice diverting. A solenoid actuates a gate that allows your ice to pass through and out of the dispenser.

Automated Ironing Machines

Automated ironing machines use steam to iron clothes. The iron has a push button that controls the flow of steam on the clothes when pressed. A solenoid valve regulates the flow of steam to the iron when the user presses the control button. This valve allows the user to regulate the amount of steam that reaches the garment when ironing.

Solenoids in Dryers

Modern dryers have an air exchanger where incoming compressed air is cooled and dried by compressed air from the evaporator. The Freon then cools the freshly compressed air to the dew point. All these processes happen in the evaporator. The condensate resulting from the cooling process is isolated and disposed. The air-to-air heat exchanger then heats the newly compressed air before allowing it out of the system. The solenoid valve in the dryer regulates the evaporator’s temperature by preventing it from going too low and freezing the condensate.

Floor Cleaning Machines

Household cleaning machines have a rotating brush that rubs on the floor to remove dirt. The appliance contains water and a cleaning detergent. When the user presses a button, the machine releases a mixture of water and detergent. A solenoid valve regulates the flow of water and detergent from the dryer tank to the brush. The system is very efficient because the valve operates at very low pressure.

Thermo Electric Heaters

Thermoelectric heaters work by generating heat that warms the whole house through radiators located in different rooms. They also produce water for sanitary functions. You can also use them for baking or roasting food. The system generates heat by burning wood or gas to heat water for warming the house. They contain two solenoid valves connected to a hydraulic system. The first valve allows cold water into the circuit, where the thermoelectric heater heats it. The second valve regulates water flow and distributes it to different sanitary portals, such as the kitchen and the bathrooms.

Magnetic Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers regulate the flow of power in your home to reduce the risk of electric fires. Most modern circuit breakers use solenoid valves instead of fuses to prevent power overloads. When there is a power overload, the circuit breaker induces a mechanism that causes the solenoid to pull the piston, which disconnects the circuit.

If you are looking for a solenoid manufacturer who offers cutting edge technologies, Johnson Electric will make customized solenoids for you. Contact us for further consultations about your solenoid needs.


Open Frame Solenoids

Demystifying Open Frame Linear DC Solenoids

November 3, 2020

Comparing and contrasting open frame linear DC solenoids with other types of solenoids

Linear solenoids are an intricate part of our everyday life. They are used in locks, cars, vending machines, and most of the equipment and appliances we use daily.

There are several types of linear solenoids in the market, these include tubular solenoids, latch solenoids, and open frame linear solenoids.

Each is designed to better deliver on the needs and functions of different applications.

Open frame varieties are the least understood of the group and, in most cases, are confused with tubular solenoids, while they are a very different type of product.

Let’s have a closer look at open frame linear DC solenoids, their components, how they work, and how to realize their benefits.

What are Open Frame Linear DC Solenoids?

Open frame solenoids have the most straightforward design among the different types of linear solenoids. They are defined as a solenoid with a mechanically unprotected, visible, over-molded, or taped coil with a movable plunger at the center of the coil.

Because of their unique build, open frames are lightweight and more cost-effective than other types of linear solenoids.

Like most other linear solenoids, open frames generate force in a single direction, which can be a pull or a push when energized.

How are Open Frame Linear Solenoids Different from Tubular Solenoids?

It is best to compare solenoids based on the critical features you should consider when choosing a solenoid. This requires a clear understanding of the differences between the three types of solenoids.

Design

One of the differences is the structure. Only tubular solenoids have an enclosed design with the coil safely tucked away inside a metal casing. Open frames have the coil exposed on at least two sides. Magnetic latch solenoids can have the tubular or open frame design.

The general shape of both the latch and open frames is generally the same. Across the variations within these solenoid categories the shape and dimensions between the two can vary slightly.

Operation

All tubular, open frame, and magnetic latch solenoids come in push and pull varieties. In both tubular and open frames, the center plunger is movable without current and has a flexible duty cycle that can be continuous or intermittent depending on the requirements of the applications. In latch solenoids, the plunger is held in place by a permanent magnet, with no chance of a continuous cycle.

Stroke and holding force

Latch and open frame solenoids have very similar statistics in terms of holding force and stroke length. However, unlike open frames, magnetic latch solenoids do not require current in the end position.

Life expectancy

Open frame solenoids are typically benchmarked at 50 to 100 thousand cycles, while tubular varieties are more durable with a life expectancy of above 25 million cycles.

The above comparisons are meant to highlight the differences in how the various options will be optimized for the best performance given the operating environment and application.

Applications of Open Frame Linear Solenoids

Open frame solenoids have a vast range of applications in across different industries. Some of the most common applications include:

  • Vending machines
  • Residential and commercial locks
  • Card key locks (smart locks)
  • ATM machines
  • Battery operated locks
  • Cash drawer machines
  • Medical supply cabinets
  • Gaming machines

Matching the right part to the proper application is critical in ensuring the best performance and operation. At Johnson Electric, we have an expansive line of open frame linear DC solenoids in different sizes, force, and stroke options to best fit your applications. Contact us today and let us help you find the solenoid solution for your needs.


Porch Pirates during the pandemic; illustration of a pirate composed of cardboard box packages

Porch Pirates and the Pandemic

October 7, 2020

Following on from our previous article on porch pirates, we look at combatting a growing trend fueled by the problems of our modern world

A Follow-Up

With the current state of the world, such as social distancing and sheltering-in-place, e-commerce is more relevant than ever.

With the influx of online orders, big brands like Amazon and Walmart are stretching their logistical networks to the extreme to fill a demand typically forecasted during the holiday season.

Of course, with the increase in home deliveries, thieves are taking advantage of the situation to plunder more packages. In fact, in a span of 90 days, porch pirates have stolen packages from 25 million households, according to research conducted from May 17 – May 23, 2020 by Clutch.com.

As a response to this growing trend, state legislators have begun to place more focus on the growing crime rate of package theft.

In one example, Michigan increased fines and jail time for repeat offenders. In another, Tennessee legislators are working to pass a bill, making porch pirating a felony and punishable up to 12 years in prison.

Being Proactive

What can you do to prevent your packages from being stolen? Staying proactive with deliveries will reduce the likelihood of your next package being swiped before you get home.

Change your habits

Thieves are wising up when it comes to their sneaky craft. In fact, they are known to track delivery drivers as they make their rounds, then swipe the package minutes after it’s dropped.

When you place an order, it’s always best to be at home to receive the delivery. Otherwise, have a neighbor sign for the package; or leave specific instructions on where to place the package if you are not home. The back porch, storage shed, or other obscure locations will further deter prying eyes.

Create visual obstructions

Out of sight, out of mind. Create a visual obstruction from the road or sidewalk, like a large potted plant, decoration, or outdoor furniture.

Leave specific instructions for the delivery driver to place the packages around or behind them. It’s a quick and unassuming way to protect important packages.

Invest in new technology

With technology becoming more ubiquitous than ever, there are several ways to invest in technology.

  1. Install security cameras to deter potential thieves.

    Many options on the market feature home network connections and a live stream of the camera’s footage that can be viewed from a mobile device. One of the most popular items is the doorbell camera. This simple security measure doesn’t require wiring and is easy to install.

    Alternatively, dummy cameras make great scarecrows for porch pirates. If a camera is visible from the road or sidewalk, thieves are less likely to approach.

  2. Sign up for text or email alerts.

    Informed Delivery, service provided by the USPS, allows residential customers to sign up for email alerts to notify the homeowner on the mail items and packages to be delivered that day.

    Major online retailers also send out updates whenever a package is in transit and has been delivered, which is advantageous when scheduling deliveries.

  3. Invest in a mailbox with a smart locking system.

    A conventional delivery lock box is secured with a code only known to the homeowner and delivery person. When the delivery arrives, the package is placed inside the lock box and locked. Lock boxes are excellent methods to protect items from thieves and weather elements.

How Johnson Electric Plays a Role

b7 solenoid; porch pirates articleAs a leading provider of motion solutions, Johnson Electric has technology capable of supplying a solenoid to fit any locking system. Our new B7 solenoid can be a quick drop-in replacement without the need for added tools to install. Also, with its forward-thrusting nail head plunger design, it can eliminate the need for extra attachment hardware.

For more information, please visit us at www.johnsonelectric.com.


Smart industry robot arms for digital factory production technology; manufacturing trends 2020

Manufacturing Trends of 2020

September 2, 2020

There is a feeling of uncertainty in the manufacturing world right now. Both the intermediate and long-term future of the sector will revolve around one thing: the manufacturing trends happening in 2020. With that in mind, manufacturers need to pinpoint the kind of developments to look forward to this year.

Manufacturers we work with share that enhancing their operational efficiency is most critical during this time.

We look at the top manufacturing trends to keep track of in 2020. We will also cover expected challenges, and how you can run your manufacturing business in the most agile way possible.

Top Manufacturing Trends, 2020 and Beyond

1. Smart Manufacturing & 5G

2020 is the year that we are likely to see the full rollout of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 5G technology is going to happen on a much larger scale and will have a substantial impact on Smart Technology. Manufacturers will be able to boost speeds and reduce latency in massive proportions allowing their technologies to interact in real-time.

Smart factories are becoming popular in the manufacturing field. They depend on connected devices to support technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence. Typically, intelligent gadgets are also capable of sensing the environment. As specialized factories continue to emerge, manufacturers must be able to adapt the networks that interconnect them effectively.

Based on a recent article from AT&T, 5G provides manufacturers with an opportunity to create regular streams of income. The industry will also benefit from cost-effective energy and utility. As pinpointed in a study by Ericsson, “the projected market value in 2026 will be $113 Billion”. That alone depicts an impressive 7% revenue growth from the current figures.

2. Machine Learning & AI

Manufacturing is quite a complex industry. Changes take a lot of time to incorporate. However, the use of analytics, AI, and machine learning will reach new heights in the coming months.

These technologies are sure to improve manufacturing efficiency and raise revenues. The more complexities your firm faces, the higher the chances to use machine learning and AI technologies to get that competitive advantage you need to be on top.

Manufacturers can also implement such technologies to improve performance in other areas of the business. Whether it is in your customer relations, on your factory floor, or in the supply chain department, they will come in handy.

3. Wearable Technology

The sharp rise in the use of IoT (Internet of Things) has paved the way for wearable technology. Manufacturing firms of all sizes and types are exploring- and investing in- wearable gadgets with sensors that can help their workforce optimize production.

Features present in wearable devices enable manufacturers to monitor and raise workplace productivity, efficiency, and safety. Employers will also collect valuable information, offer customized experiences, and track all production stages seamlessly. Headsets with heads-up displays, smartwatches, and other wearables will provide essential data more quickly than ever.

4. Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a big concern for every sector, and manufacturing is no different. Connected devices will inevitably become the norm. And with this, vulnerability to cyber infiltration will grow.

As this manufacturing trend takes shape, manufacturers must be aware of cyber risks. They should streamline their processes to fit the requirements of today and the future.

5. AR & VR

The twin concepts of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are finally beginning to make imprints in the world of manufacturing. They are likely to impact the areas of machine maintenance and user training in several ways, including:

Remote support- Augmented Reality will enable maintenance personnel to carry out tasks from a remote location. As a result, firms will make strides towards bridging the skills gaps and boost overall efficiency.

“Hands-On” Training- Both employee training and testing can take place in a VR environment, thus yielding a low-risk process.

6. Greater Focus on Customer Service

Customer support has always been a top priority for most manufacturers. But with the consistent integration of technology, it is set to become even more crucial. As manufacturing tools of industry 4.0 become a standard feature, customers will have direct visibility into the manufacturing process. In the long run, there will be a concerted push for customer quality.

Manufacturing Challenges for 2020

As the new decade kicks in, manufacturers are already anticipating their fair share of challenges. One thing is for sure; industry 4.0 is here and evolving swiftly. While new technologies continue to unlock hidden value in multiple production processes, hurdles along the way are inevitable.

Here’s our pick for the top challenges manufacturers are likely to face.

  • Labor Shortage/Skills Gap

Deloitte estimates that nearly 4.6 million jobs will become available in this decade because of changing skillsets and retiring ‘baby boomers.’ Close to 2.6 million of those jobs, however, will remain vacant as the gap between job opportunities and the number of capable workers widens.

Even in the era of robotics and service automation, skilled employees are still crucial for their problem-solving knowledge, moreover, they can perform analytics and occupy managerial slots. To bridge the broadening skills gap, manufacturers will have to creatively train existing employees to cultivate a well-rounded workforce.

  • Ever-dynamic Technology

From cloud computing to robotics, the challenge for many manufacturers is to keep up with the frightening pace of technological growth. Often, there is a gap between understanding the need for device acquisition and the actual implementation. According to a recent Forbes study, 90% of firms understand the vital role that technology plays, yet only 40% feel that they are offering the best tools for success.

  • Supply Chain Collaboration

In the coming months, supply chain complexities will continue to trouble manufacturers and other stakeholders by creating persistent technical hitches and customer complaints. Human nature will once again become a top issue. There will be a lack of trust among key players, which will frustrate technology deployments and collaboration efforts even more. While experts continue to explore the reasons behind mistrust throughout the supply cycle, issues of pricing, data monetization, and data ownership will reign supreme.

Johnson Electric can help you achieve business agility in manufacturing through our top-of-the-line solenoid solutions. On the back of our core values, we endeavor to make our customers successful by providing reliable motion systems. You can expect the highest level of quality and performance. Whether you need microelectronics, relays, pumps, valves, or any other product in this specification, don’t hesitate to contact us today.


wearable medical device - insulin pump

Case Study: Wearable Medical Devices

August 5, 2020

Wearable Medical Devices – Explaining When to use Printed Circuits

Johnson Medtech developed a process to allow surface mount components to be applied to the polyester substrate to create a waterproof circuit, which resulted in an extremely thin and conformable product.

When making a medical wearable with a large surface area, printed circuits are the natural choice for three reasons:

  1. The ability to print instructional graphics on the surface gives it the impression of it being a finished medical product without extensive coverings.
  2. Printed circuits are an additive process, where silver ink is applied to the polyester substrate. The subtractive process of a copper flex circuit is extremely harsh on the environment; you end up etching off a lot of expensive copper.
  3. Printed electronic substrates are ten times more cost-effective than the cost of the copper foil that is etched away.

Considering all of this, it is not surprising that most medical companies will first try to use a printed electronic circuit; however, there are limitations:

  1. The resistance of the ink is about ten times stronger than copper. Therefore, they are not very useful for high power circuits. However, most wearables are made to house a sensor and are battery operated; it is unusual to have high current coursing through the system.
  2. The polyester substrate cannot usually withstand more than 160°C; therefore, typical reflow solder is out of the question.

Recently, a customer requested a completely waterproof, high-volume wearable circuit, and Johnson Medtech was ready to accept the challenge.

Because of the advantage of the SIP, we were able to place several circuits on one panel. Then, we applied the dielectric coating and encapsulant over the conductive pads, resulting in a completely waterproof, lightweight, and easily conformable product, along with a happy customer.

Vital Signs Wearable – Challenges with Electrodes

Wearable medical devices are becoming increasingly popular, even assisting the public in monitoring their health status and fitness level. Electrocardiograms (ECGs) are among the most common diagnostic tools in healthcare; these provide real-time data on the performance and function of the heart and other vital signs.

The revolution of wearable technology provides the necessary data to clinicians for more reliable diagnoses and to make informed decisions on treatment.

Through the continuous addition of technology, many of our customers were unsatisfied with bulky results and crucial challenges in functionality.

Johnson Medtech accepted the challenge to assist customers in manufacturing thinner and more conformable wearable patches, increasing the functionality of the most current technologies available.

The two main challenges were presented with the development of ECG electrodes:

  1. Electrodes must be defibrillation proof.

Whether a single- or multi-use product, electrodes must not interfere with the defibrillation energy; nor may they prevent the doctor from shocking the patient. Since that amount of energy is generally large, the resistors used to limit this energy are also large, resulting in bulky devices and reduced functionality.

Ideally, the resistors would be situated adjacent to the electrodes, which are then attached to the skin.

If not, the creepage and clearance must be maintained throughout the circuit until the resistor is in place. Again, this causes devices to be bulkier in design.

  1. Mounting the battery to the substrate of the electrode created a bulky and less conformable product.

Because of the concern of size, weight, and bulk, many previous solutions with battery mounts made the wearable medical device less conformable and thicker.

Johnson Electric considered attaching a battery holder to the device; but because lithium-ion batteries have a temperature threshold, this solution did not work. Additionally, the size and weight of the device were still too large.

To combat both of these challenges, Johnson Medtech created special conductive adhesives; these allowed mounting the batteries to the substrate at a temperature that did not damage the cells.

Additionally, Medtech engineers developed the ability to screen print a carbon resistor next to the electrode, allowing a sleek and compact sensor.

Optimizing Performance and Cost of Surgical Handles and Devices

As more surgical handles and wearable medical devices become single-use, it’s incredibly important to be able to control the costs.

Even though Johnson Electric has a proven history of producing cost-effective drive systems, optimizing cost is not done just by assembling inexpensive components, but by maximizing the performance of the product.

Recently, we had the opportunity to provide the motor gearbox along with the circuitry and software to control the device.

This provided us with the opportunity to integrate smart features into the device. During development, an essential smart feature is an ability for a device to be able to measure its own performance.

The data was provided to the engineering team, enabling them to understand the limits of the device and the balance between the mechanical weak points and the limits of the electromechanical performance.

Providing these smart features allowed optimization of the product that was not possible through testing the products with external test equipment. Also, the smart features can be integrated for production units as well for troubleshooting, and further device optimization.

Medication Delivery Wearable

Johnson Medtech has a deep background in providing drive systems for biologic dosing devices. As these devices move toward single-use wearables, cost and quality assurance have become a significant consideration for our customers and their patients.

Consider how in the automotive industry, the fit, form, and finish of a car provides that sense of high quality or luxury. The same could be said for the motor tone of a medical device.

Through countless development cycles and data analysis, our engineers perfected a quality motor tone using unique gear profiles and precise distance tolerances.

Because of our finite element analysis capabilities, our team presented quality assurance data in weeks instead of months; this proved the products and materials used during the manufacturing process are safe, even in the most challenging circumstances.

With these capabilities, we can provide compelling cost advantages through automation, efficiency, and innovative design.

For more information, please contact us.


Intensive Care Emergency Room With Artificial Lung Ventilation Monitor; Medical Devices and Diagnostic Equipment

Why Solenoids are Used in Medical Devices and Diagnostic Equipment

June 24, 2020

From securing hotel room locks to controlling airflow in medical devices, solenoids are found in almost every product we use daily. As technology evolved over the years, medical devices designed with solenoids became increasingly popular. Without this crucial design element, the functionality of medical and diagnostic equipment would be haphazard at best.

Below is a look at the factors driving the increase in these products and the key factors for device manufacturers to keep in mind when designing lifesaving equipment.

Lifesaving medical devices featuring solenoids

Many of the critical lifesaving devices used to diagnose and treat patients include solenoids in their design. They are essential devices found in most hospital intensive care units.

Here are a few examples of medical devices manufactured with solenoids:

  • Ventilators
  • Fluid Analyzers
  • Dialysis Machines
  • Centrifuges
  • Spine Adjusters
  • Tissue Punctures

Additionally, solenoids are also used within larger imaging devices, such as MRI machines.

Why do medical device manufacturers use solenoids?

Hospitals and medical centers are under growing pressure to keep up with the latest technology while remaining within budget. With their durable design, efficient operation, and affordable price tag, solenoid devices are an attractive option to help hospitals achieve both goals.

As automation-hungry healthcare organizations fill their diagnostic areas and intensive care units with solenoid-driven medical equipment, manufacturers are following suit.

Because solenoids are incredibly reliable, medical device manufacturers find that the number of device failures is minimized. As proven repeatedly, using a solenoid is the simplest way to implement quick, linear motion with a substantial amount of force over a small distance.

Why choose Johnson Electric?

Since 1959, Johnson Electric has provided a wide range of customized solenoids ranging from soft shift linear DC solenoids for medical fluid analyzers to smaller open frame linear solenoids for blood pressure monitors.

Our premium range of motion solenoids includes the following:

Contact Johnson Medtech to discover why medical device manufacturers across the globe turn to us for the highest quality solenoids. Whether you specialize in ventilators, patient monitors, or another type of diagnostic equipment, we have an extensive array of solenoids to fit your application. We look forward to becoming your long-term solenoid provider!


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