Automate 2024: Zebra Technologies unveils new offerings, advancing the connected factory

Company expands industrial automation portfolio to optimize efficiency of front-line workers

Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies released its 3s series at Automate 2024 in Chicago.
Zebra Technologies unveiled new 3D sensors and a fulfillment system at Automate 2024 in Chicago to advance the connected factory.

Zebra Technologies a digital solution provider enabling businesses to intelligently connect data, assets and people, announced new offerings to further enable manufacturers to boost visibility, optimize quality and augment the workforce to operate as a connected factory.

Zebra will highlight its expanded portfolio of industrial automation offerings at Automate 2024, Booth #1407. 

Labor challenges, shortages behind operations concerns

Manufacturers today are challenged with increasing productivity amid labor shortages. At the same time, they are managing cultural transformation and converging information and operational technology (IT/OT) systems into existing operations. The latest NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey reports more than 65% of manufacturers cite the inability to attract and retain employees as their top challenge and confirmed they are working to improve operational resiliency by investing in new technologies.

“The pressure is on for manufacturers to efficiently meet customer demands for quality while managing labor shortages, skill gaps, and efficiency challenges,” said Andy Zosel, senior vice president and general manager, advanced data capture, machine vision and robotic automation, Zebra Technologies. “We are committed to helping manufacturers work in new ways with technology and intelligent automation to increase actionable visibility, optimize quality and augment the workforce.”

Enhanced visibility increases quality assurance, traceability

According to Zebra’s Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study, eight in 10 manufacturing decision-makers acknowledge better connectivity and enterprise technologies at scale are essential to transforming business. Industrial machine vision as well as sensing and monitoring systems are expected to make the largest leap in usage by 2027.

Zebra’s latest fixed industrial scanner, the Zebra FS42 is designed for resource-intensive tasks like deep learning-based optimal character recognition (OCR) applications and high-throughput scanning requiring speed. Its increased onboard memory and neural processing unit (NPU) enable faster scanning and more complex AI-based deep learning machine vision applications, according to the company.

Zebra’s Aurora Software Suite is ideal for addressing the track-and-trace and vision inspection needs of users at all experience levels. It supports barcode reading and additional inspection tasks like OCR, dimensioning and defect detection. The FS42 features Zebra’s Aurora Focus which makes it easy to set up, deploy and run the device, eliminating the need for other tools and reducing training time.

3D inspection and detection optimize quality to new levels

Zebra’s new 3S Series 3D sensors made their debut at Automate. Using patented parallel structured light, the industrial-grade 3S series enables 3D sensing for static and moving items - including those that are high-gloss, translucent or transparent - with sub-millimeter resolution and accuracy, according to the company.

Zebra’s 3S series captures various sizes and is “plug-and-play” ready with a Power over Ethernet (PoE) connection. They will be bundled with Zebra’s Aurora Design Assistant or Aurora Vision Studio, which Zebra says speeds up development and brings 3D vision applications online quicker.

The 3S40 sensor is designed to scan static objects, integrating them into manufacturing operations to resolve inspection and dimensioning applications with a scanning range of up to 7 ft./2.1 meters. The 3S80 sensor is built to capture dynamic scenes and create 3D point color clouds in real time, expanding the range of advanced automation applications. It has a scan range of up to 10 ft./3 meters.

Industrial automation advances operational agility

At Automate 2024, the Zebra Robotics automation team will launch Zebra Symmetry Fulfillment, a new comprehensive offering that helps workers and robots be more productive, optimizing the path of a picker with a team of robots for a directed workflow.

Zebra Symmetry Fulfillment uses the power of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), wearable technologies, software and analytics to maintain high-quality standards while improving performance and reducing costs per unit.

Integrating these technologies balances throughput and cycle time to enhance overall efficiency, according to the company. Zebra Symmetry Fulfillment enables informed decision-making, enhances operational agility and allows for quick adjustments to meet changing demands and provide operational leaders valuable insights in real time.

Automate attendees will also get a sneak peek of Zebra’s add-on tool for vision-guided robotics within the Zebra Aurora Design Assistant software. This tool includes a web-based interface that is optimized for collaborative robot users.

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Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies released its 3s series at Automate 2024 in Chicago.

Robot Technologies