Proud to Be An Exclusive FANUC Authorized System Integrator

PRE-TEC Exclusive FANUC Authorized System Integrator

FANUC, a global leader in automation for manufacturing, is home to the industry’s largest and most trusted network of industrial robot system integrators. PRE-TEC, a division of the Willamette Valley Company, is part of this elite group of robotic system integrators, known as the FANUC Authorized System Integrator (ASI) Network for automation systems. 

PRE-TEC has been designing and building Flexible Automated Solutions using six-axis robots as the cornerstone of its turn-key systems for more than thirty years. By focusing on producing solutions that are designed around the customer’s specific production needs like dispensing, material handling (load/unload functions), material finishing (deburring, polishing), and wood product applications (painting, tagging, and wrapping), PRE-TEC has evolved into FANUC’s largest integrator in the Western United States.

Take a look at this Robotic Spray Booth System, the first of its kind in North America. Using PRE-TEC’s previously proven components in conjunction with a six-axis robotic arm, the booths have greatly increased paint transfer efficiency and dispensing system reliability.

Being an exclusive FANUC Authorized System Integrator has also enabled the company to produce game-changing turnkey material handling solutions like their FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells.

Take a look at PRE-TEC’s FASWeld 1 which integrates the FANUC ARC Mate 100iD 6-axis robot, FANUC R-30iB+ Robot Controller with Touch Pad iPendant and FANUC ARCtool software. FASWeld 1 is ideal for companies new to automation that want to develop their in-house robotic welding abilities. 

Our PRE-TEC division is ready to analyze your system requirements and provide a robotic solution that will improve quality, throughput, and productivity to give you the return on investment you are looking for. Our systems combine multi-axis robot arms, custom end-of-arm tooling, conveyance systems, and safety hardware to address, resolve and optimize the most challenging manufacturing applications. Click here to get in touch with one of their engineers today! 

How Robots & Automation Are Helping to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

covid-19-coronavirus-covid-cell-pandemic-corona-virus-1608807-pxhere.com

As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms healthcare systems and devastates economies all over the world, there has never been a greater need for advances in science and technology. As a leading automation systems integrator, we’re following these developments with great interest. Scientists and engineers around the world propose that robots could be an essential support for humans in fighting the virus by performing tasks that would otherwise put human workers at risk, speed up the production of test kits, and other critical supplies through automation. 

MIT roboticist Kate Darling notes that machines helping humans do their jobs has plenty of precedent in this piece published recently on Wired.com. “ATMs allowed banks to expand teller services,” she says. “Bomb disposal robots let soldiers keep more distance between themselves and danger.”

The COVID-19 crisis is not the first time scientists have recognized the potential role robotics could have in combating infectious diseases. According to ScienceRobotics, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation identified three areas where robotics can make a difference during the 2015 Ebola outbreak: clinical care, logistics, and reconnaissance (monitoring compliance with voluntary quarantines).

Some countries and organizations have already embraced the technology to overcome the massive challenges caused by the pandemic. Here are just a few examples of how automation and robots could be used to fight COVID-19 by reducing the workload of overburdened essential workers and help prevent the spread of the virus.  

⎹ Collecting patient samples and automating lab tests.
⎹ Allow doctors and nurses to treat patients remotely.
⎹ Enable experts all over the world to perform medical tasks and contribute to research without having to travel.
⎹ Using automation to make  COVID-19 testing more efficient. 
⎹ Automate cleaning and food preparation jobs that are currently put humans at risk. 
Disinfect potentially contaminated surfaces in healthcare facilities and public spaces either using UV light that kills bugs or by repurposing agricultural robots and drones to spray disinfectant. 

Click here to see more ways robots are being used to minimize the spread of COVID-19 around the world. 

In addition to fighting the pandemic, robots are being utilized around the world to help keep the economy and infrastructure intact by tackling the many logistical challenges created by the crisis and carrying out crucial deliveries of food and medication without exposing humans while some grocery stores are beginning to use robots to keep shelves stocked

While robotics and automation cannot replace the advanced skills and the quick life-or-death decision making required from health care workers, scientists and engineers around the globe believe that the technology can go a long way to help human workers stay safe and fight the virus. See some additional resources below to learn more about the important role robotics and automation will play in this crisis.

Combating COVID-19—The role of robotics in managing public health and infectious diseases

COVID-19 pandemic prompts more robot usage worldwide

The Covid-19 Pandemic Is a Crisis That Robots Were Built For

This robot could make COVID-19 testing faster and safer 

How Robots Are Helping Grocery Stores During The Coronavirus Outbreak

Robots to the Rescue: How They Can Help During Coronavirus (and Future Pandemics)

How China, the US, and Europe are using robots to replace and help humans fight coronavirus by delivering groceries, sanitizing hospitals, and monitoring patients

Robots And Drones Are Now Used To Fight COVID-19

Pre-Tec

PRE-TEC, a division of WVCO, is a leading automation systems integrator specializing in turn-key material handling solutions. For more than thirty years, we have been building Flexible Automated Solutions designed around our customer’s specific production needs. The PRE-TEC engineers can provide more information about our services and custom robotic technologies. Contact us today for an engineering review of your needs.

How WVCO’s PRE-TEC Division Partners Through Service


Willamette Valley Company is more than just products and solutions. We partner with our customers to support their business in every way possible and ensure that we are contributing to their ongoing prosperity and success. WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has prepared hundreds of robotic systems and is currently the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast but some say that the legendary service provided by our technicians is our greatest asset. 

WVCO Service

Partnering through service means one-on-one interaction with each customer to develop the most appropriate, affordable, and reliable solutions for your service needs. PRE-TEC offers support in areas of training, programming, spare parts, and preventive maintenance. Here’s what one can expect when they engage the services of our PRE-TEC division.  

*One of our Service Applications Engineers will work directly with your company to provide support in training, programming, spare parts, and maintenance.

*We provide training before installation, and follow-up as needed to assure trouble-free operation.

*PRE-TEC offers a Preventive Maintenance (PM) program to assure you achieve the maximum utilization after the purchase of your new robotic system. Pre-scheduled PM visits can be scheduled annually, quarterly, or any other defined period, according to your specific needs.

*Customers are encouraged to visit our full-service machine shop in Eugene, Oregon at any time during the design and manufacturing process to view their project as it is being built.

*Our design engineers partner with your project manager to develop solutions specific to your thermal or material handling requirements. 

*Replacement parts can be ordered by calling (800) 205-9826. Our order desk can inform you whether or not the parts are in stock, current price, and approximate shipping time.

Our qualified service personnel are here to make your production easier, faster, cleaner, and worry-free.  Service can be scheduled in advance by contacting Mike Fling at PRE-TEC at +1 (541) 984-4816. Visit pre-tec.com to learn more?

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

“We are excited to bring to market an affordable, expandable, and easy-to-use robotic weld cell system that enhances the capabilities of companies as they first turn to automation and beyond.” – Pre-Tec General Manager, Stan Reynolds

Even though Willamette Valley Company’s Pre‐Tec Division has engineered more than 370 robotic systems and has become one of the largest integrators of robotic systems in the western region of North America, we are always searching for new ways to offer effective solutions through robotic automation.

One of our latest expamples of this is Pre-Tec’s unique line-up of FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells, built for companies using automation for the first time, as well as customers looking to expand their robotic automation capabilities. Each system is developed using the highest quality industrial components.

The small footprint through single-piece platforms allows for rapid delivery and installation time through pre-engineered solutions that are affordable and simple to use. The robotic experts at Pre-Tec have designed solutions that enhance load and unload time through dual-zone systems with room for customization as needs change or expand.

PRE-TEC Enhances Robotic Weld Cell Automation With FASWeld Standard Robotic Weld Cells

Careful planning went into each solution with the presence of forklift pockets for quick transport within the facility with leveling functions to ensure accuracy. Safety is at the forefront with the presence of modular fencing, welding flash curtains, push button operator controls, and service access doors.

Pre-Tec Robotic Automation

PRE-TEC, by expanding their material handling capabilities, continues the problem solving tradition by producing custom robotic operation solutions for other companies’ manufacturing challenges. Learn more about our robotic weld cells by going to www.pre-tec.com or download more information here.

PRE-TEC Moves to New Location- Stays Committed to Innovation

Pre-Tec's New Home

PRE-TEC’s new building located at 990 Owen Loop North, in Eugene Oregon

PRE-TEC, the robotics division of Willamette Valley Company, has moved! The company relocated from its 38,000 sg ft. facility at 675 McKinley Street, to a new 110,000 sg ft. building with over 60,000 sg ft. of manufacturing space.
PRE-TEC Moves into New space

General Manager, Stan Reynolds commented, “ By more than doubling our manufacturing base, we are able to better serve our customers, and have room for future growth.” In addition to the PRE-TEC Division, all the groups at the corporate headquarters on Arrowsmith Street are now also in the Owen Loop building.

Founded more than 25 years ago, PRE-TEC is the largest custom robotic integrator on the West Coast. Known also for superior chemical metering products, PRE-TEC has prepared more than 165 robotic systems in the last decade alone.

Click here for the full report.

How Is Automation and Robotics Good for the American Workforce?

PRE-TEC Robotics Willamette Valley Company

“The overwhelming conclusion of industry experts is that automation doesn’t spell the end of gainful employment for humans, but rather, the improvement of employment opportunities.”

– From How Robotic Automation is Changing the Job Market

As industrial automation technology continues to develop and evolve, our PRE-TEC team is here to help businesses all over the country prepare for the future by developing innovative custom manufacturing solutions to help businesses grow. Since the 1990s, WVCO’s PRE-TEC division has been at the forefront of innovative manufacturing solutions and the development of precision equipment. Our team has prepared hundreds of robotic systems through the decades that have led to measurable improvements for the company’s overall “bottom line”.

It is not difficult to understand how the use of industrial robots is a cost-effective way to produce higher quality products and increase productivity, but if you look deeper, you will see the benefits to human workers as well. In fact, there are a number of ways the evolution of robotics are improving conditions and creating new opportunities for workers. However, the use of robotics is not without controversy.

The Fear of Automation & Robotics
There is an unfortunate perception that robots will eliminate the need for the human workforce in the near future. Job security is always a primary concern among manufacturing workers and the projected increase in automation is causing anxiety among the American workforce. It is understandable why many employees and labor unions can perceive automation as a threat to their well-being and job security.

How Does Automation Benefit Workers?
In this post, we’d like to counter those fears and make the point that automation does not necessarily equal job loss. In fact, it’s quite the contrary- the evidence is showing that automation is actually improving prospects for American workers. A wide range of industry experts agree that automation will lead to better working conditions, higher pay and job growth.

1) Safer Working Conditions
By taking on the necessary manufacturing tasks that can be repetitive and cumbersome for workers, automation creates a safer work environment and reduces the risk of serious and sometimes fatal on-the-job accidents. Eliminating these tasks in a fast-paced production line reduces stress, mental fatigue, and injuries that can result from lifting and moving large objects.

2) More Satisfaction
Business experts predict that improving tasks like parts retrieval or transferring materials within a facility will allow workers to redirect their skills to better uses. If machines can perform tasks that are repetitive or even dangerous for employees to perform, workers have more opportunities focus their efforts on more engaging job functions that improve quality and customer service like Q.C. checks, special orders, machine operation, maintenance, repair, and line supervision.

3) Higher Pay
Historically, supply and demand drive wage increases and businesses can only pay workers more if they become more productive. Automation enables human workers to be more efficient and focus on more valuable tasks that justify a higher wage. Manufacturing job titles and tasks are changing and employers are adding higher paying job opportunities like system operators, supervisors, programmers, and technicians to keep operating systems in top condition and running efficiently.

4) More jobs
In most cases, utilizing automation for materials handling results in higher output for a lower cost. As a company grows, so will the need for more jobs in that industry. As an example, the Wall Street Journal cites the growth of the banking industry after automated tellers were introduced in the 1970s. After ATMs were introduced, more branches were opened which resulted in more positions and job openings to be filled for decades.

Like computers, automation does not mean job elimination. Despite their advanced capabilities, automated robotic systems do not eliminate the need for a human workforce. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, more than 90% of jobs will not be able to be fully automated. Robotics and automation will improve production, employee safety, and satisfaction, which results in a lower turnover. Adapting to the “age of robotics” is a necessary change businesses will need to make in order to stay competitive and to help maximize their worker’s potential.

How Does a Robotic Wood Wrapping Machine Work?

PRE-TEC FANUC Robotics

Originally posted on www.fanucamerica.com

Wood manufacturers are discovering that industrial robots are ideal for the hazardous work environments they encounter in the woodworking industry. In this application video, PRE-TEC (a division of Willamette Valley Company) has implemented an automated wood wrapping system in which four FANUC robots apply protective wrapping, end sealant, and label to I-Joist Beams or Stacked Laminated Veneer Lumber. This system can automatically apply protective wrapping for multiple length, width and height units on the fly by calculating the load dimensions.

This system utilizes one FANUC M-710iC/70 robot, two M-16iB/10L robots, and one M-20iA/10L robot to complete the process. The FANUC robots transfer each piece, accurately measure and stretch the wrapping to match the piece size, apply the sealant, and stack the wood for distribution. The beams are measured continuously on the carousel to be sure the correct size wrapping is loaded.

The robots then wrap and staple the wood automatically. In this system, robots replaced an operation that presented stapling hazards as well as those that come with handling large pieces of engineered wood products. In addition to removing stapling and handling hazards, PRE-TEC says that this robotically automated process has made their system much more efficient. To learn more about this robotic wrap applicator system, please visit PRE-TEC’s website at http://www.pre-tec.com/custom-robotics.

Follow the link to learn more about our full line of Wrapping & Material Handling Robots.

PRE-TEC Sales Manager Rufus Burton is featured on RIA’s Certified Integrator Spotlight!

“PRE-TEC’s management feel the RIA certification program is a positive step towards assuring current and future customers that the market for automation is bigger than any one provider. In addition it goes a long way towards demonstrating that the robotic community understands this fact. In the end, the Certification program benefits all participants – customers, and suppliers”. -Rufus Burton

Rufus-BurtonRufus Burton, Sales Manager for PRE-TEC (WVCO’s Robotics Division), sat down with RIA Robotics Industry Association (RIA) to share the company’s vision and experience on how becoming RIA certified has helped to improve our business and operations.

RIA Certification is an invaluable way for our robotics integrators and inventors to highlight their experience, capabilities, and aptitude to users, suppliers, investors, clients, and partners alike. It demonstrates that they’ve met the critical criteria determined by the RIA, which in turn means they’re an expert in best practices. In his interview, Rufus touches on this very topic.

“PRE-TEC’s management feel the RIA certification program is a positive step towards assuring current and future customers that the market for automation is bigger than any one provider. In addition it goes a long way towards demonstrating that the robotic community understands this fact. In the end, the Certification program benefits all participants – customers, and suppliers.”

Despite the industry itself going through tremendous growth and advances in recent years, RIA certification also serves as a means to address a very real issue currently facing the industry: a measurable standard of quality for vendors and robotic integrators.

“Today there are not enough accomplished integrators to serve the market, given the rapid pace at which companies are identifying their needs for automation. Complicating matters is the unfortunate fact that too many integrators have come and gone, leaving customers to question whether the vendor they select will complete the project let alone assure them of a successful result.”

riaCert

RIA certification goes a long way for those looking to hire vendors and create a working relationship with inventors and integrators to know that they person they’re meeting with has met a standard of critical criteria. This is the very reason PRE-TEC is RIA Certified. Our vision is one where our customer’s expectation is not only met, they know in entering a relationship with us they are achieving high quality.

“Because success comes when we deliver a system that meets the customer’s expectations; every time we enter into a business relationship we work hard to be certain our customers understand ‘why’ we work the way we do, and ‘how’ it benefits them. Each project is evaluated to determine if a flexible automated solutions will solve the targeted manufacturing problem of today, and help the customer prepare for the challenge of the future.”

Visit robotics.org to learn more and read the full interview. You can also read other testimonials on the RIA certification program page.

The “Robot Taxation” debate carries on

Robotics

As breakthroughs in the fields of automation and robotics become more common, so do debates into the realities of a changing workflow. The topic of taxation of robots — specifically the taxation of firms that utilize robots for automaton purposes — is one such example of these ongoing discussions, though one without a clear solution.

Last month, Bill Gates spoke to Quartz on the subject of robot taxation, stating “right now, if a human worker does $50,000 worth of work in a factory, that income is taxed. If a robot comes in to do the same thing, you’d think we’d tax the robot at a similar level. You cross the threshold of job-replacement of certain activities all sort of at once. So, you know, warehouse work, driving, room cleanup, there’s quite a few things that are meaningful job categories that, certainly in the next 20 years, being thoughtful about that extra supply is a net benefit. It’s important to have the policies to go with that.” This opinion, however, met its share of criticism; similarly a proposed measure in Europe to tax corporations that utilize robots was quickly shot down.

Robot taxation raises several hard to answer questions and difficulties. One such obstacle is the clarification of what constitutes a robot. Is a robot defined as a piece of software that automates a complex process? Is it a physical piece of automated technology? The nebulous nature of this definition creates an obstacle in the adoption of such a tax. Where is the line drawn?

A common argument made for taxation of robots is job loss — if a robot is doing the job a person could then that will result in a lost job. Though this is certainly true with any automated process, economists and other experts view the net-growth possibilities as a worthwhile investment. Economist James Bessen wrote in his response to Bill Gates’s interview “although automation will lead to further job losses in manufacturing, warehouse operations, and truck driving, the overall impact of automation across most industries will be to increase employment,” going on to compare the impact on productivity to the introduction of the bar-code scanner or ATM.

Further complicating the discussion of robot taxation is that many view it as a superficial solution to a complex problem. Robots and automated processes are not going away, after all. To this end many sides of the discussion would prefer a long-term solution to the changing workforce, such as the adoption of a universal income in order to adequately prepare for a future with growing number of automated processes.

The debate of robot taxation currently has no clear answer and will undoubtedly carry on in the near-future. One thing is clear: automated processes are not going anywhere, be they robotic manufacturing assembly or self-driving automobiles. What solutions and measures are adopted with them, however, remain to be seen.

Sources:

Quartz

Forbes

The Guardian

Fortune

 

Are You Robotic Industries Association Certified?

RIAMember

“Our experience and capabilities in robotic programming will be further recognized through this certification. It demonstrates our continuing commitment with providing customers arc welding and cutting solutions for a completely automated system.” – Justin Percio, Business Manager, Welding Automation Systems, Lincoln Electric

Robotics are a fundamental part of WVCO and of our shared passion. Our PRE-TEC division builds custom and pre-engineered robotics, from multi-axis robot arms and end-of-arm tooling, to conveyance systems, and safety hardware —backed by all the support, training, programming, and maintenance you need. Beyond our own manufacturing, however, we are also a member of the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), a relationship that has enabled us to better serve customers by giving us access to the latest technologies, methodologies, and resources.

RIA

RIA is the only North American trade group dedicated solely to robotics and robot safety. It was first founded in 1974 in an effort to “drive innovation, growth, and safety in manufacturing and service industries through education, promotion, and advancement of robotics, related automation technologies, and companies delivering integrated solutions.” They’ve succeeded in their endeavor, providing companies with a venue to seek help, answers, information, and certification.

RIA Certified Robot Integrator

RIA certification is an invaluable way for robot integrators and inventors to highlight their experience, capabilities, and aptitude to users, suppliers, investors, clients, and partners alike. It demonstrates that they’ve met the critical criteria determined by the RIA, which in turn means they’re an expert in best practices.

The certification is relatively new, first established in 2012. Prior to it, end users struggled to determine robotic integrators’ expertise and business requirements.  The certification plays a crucial role in establishing an industry standard for end users to evaluate vendors and ensure the best possible partnerships.

“The RIA certification program doesn’t only benefit end users, however. It’s the perfect opportunity for certified robot integrators to differentiate themselves,” says Armando Barry, certification consultant to RIA. “Achieving RIA certification will reflect a significant commitment by robot integrators, that elevates their technical expertise in applying robots in a consistent manner,” Barry concluded.

PRE-TEC Robotics

How to Become Certified

In order to become certified, integrators go through a rigorous process which includes an on-site audit, safety training and hands-on testing of key personnel among other important criteria.

There are three basic parts to the on-site exam and audit:

1. Hands-On section
2. Expert Response Section: (Participant industry tenure & biography)
3. On-site audit of business infrastructure per completed “Self Score Card”. Supporting evidence will be gathered before any certification date is scheduled.

The entire certification process demonstrates the requisite level of technical knowledge required to execute robotic system projects and tasks in a safe, efficient, and economical manner. It also signifies not only the company, but the technician has the ability of working with various codes and standards.

To learn more about this certification, we hope you will visit the RIA Certified Robot Integrator Program page. For more information on RIA, membership and the certification program, please contact RIA Headquarters at 734/994-6088 or visit Robotics Online at www.robotics.org.

Sources:

RIA

Intelligrated