6 episodes

Automation improves people's lives. Allowing ‘bots to do the dirty, dangerous and monotonous work lets people be safer, more efficient, and work on more creative endeavors. Find out all the ways how on The Roboticist Chronicles, an ARC Specialties podcast.

The Roboticist Chronicles ARC Specialities

    • Business

Automation improves people's lives. Allowing ‘bots to do the dirty, dangerous and monotonous work lets people be safer, more efficient, and work on more creative endeavors. Find out all the ways how on The Roboticist Chronicles, an ARC Specialties podcast.

    Why Collaboration is King at Fabtech 2019 with Dan Allford

    Why Collaboration is King at Fabtech 2019 with Dan Allford

    It takes multiple companies to make robot automation come to life in metal forming, fabricating, welding or finishing. At Fabtech 2019, Dan Allford  of Arc Specialties provided a picture of why collaboration and cooperation between companies in different segments of the industry is so important.

    "People that come to this show typically come with a problem to solve," Allford said. He went on to explain the role of a robot integrator in the process of creating a robot for a specific purpose.



    "A robot integrator takes that robot arm and then adds the tooling, adds the software, and also adds the tooling to hold the part," he said. "As you can see on this Fanuc robot, Fanuc built the robot, we added the seventh axis, we wrote the software. So we work very closely with our partners."

    Shows like Fabtech allow companies to stay up to date with what their partners have developed and find new ways to collaborate on putting these creations into practice.

    • 10 min
    Talking Tariffs, Subsidies, and Free Market Capitalism with Dan Allford

    Talking Tariffs, Subsidies, and Free Market Capitalism with Dan Allford

    Tariffs and subsidies are a hot topic at the moment, with global trade affecting the market each day. But who exactly are tariffs hurting and helping? Dan Allford, president and founder of ARC Specialties, delivers his perspective on this episode of The Roboticist Chronicles.

    Allford, a proponent of a global free market, described how his boyhood job of selling papers ignited a deep appreciation for free market capitalism.

    “Very early on I saw the connection between effort and reward,” Allford said, describing the beauty of America’s self-made-man economy. But when tariffs and subsidies make their way into the free-market Dan explained, “creative destruction,” occurs, upending the natural homeostasis of who survives in a free and fair marketplace.

    “If you have an unlevel playing field, and that’s either subsidies or tariffs, either one distorts this field. And so what you’re doing is rewarding people that truly should have failed," Allford said.

    He elaborates with historical examples of trade between Brazil, France, Germany, and of course, China, giving examples of how tariffs and subsidies have handicapped industries that are now unable to survive without aid.

    “We don’t need protection, we need opportunities to innovate,” Allford said, pointing to America’s naturally scrappy, competitive nature. At the heart of a growing economy is innovation, the natural push that keeps humanity at the forefront of technology, robotics, and mechanization.

    Get to know Dan’s Darwinian economic point of view in this timely episode of The Roboticist Chronicles.

    • 15 min
    OTC Showed Automation in Energy is Enhancing Safety and Efficiency

    OTC Showed Automation in Energy is Enhancing Safety and Efficiency

    This podcast originally aired on MarketScale's Software & Technology podcast. It has been reposted to ARC's podcast for your listening! Automation has become the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and this emphasis on efficiency is no where more apparent than in the world of energy, specifically the oil industry. Automation is evolving the industry, offering new opportunities and structurally changing how professionals approach their day-to-day work. Dan Allford, President of ARC Specialties, joined the podcast today to explain why he thinks this is one of the most positive evolutions the industry has seen in a long time. “It’s an exciting time in the oil industry. What once was impossible or too hazardous is now feasible through automation and robotics. For example, automation is facilitating fracking, creating profitable wells that would have never been before,” Allford said. ARC has been busy devising new products to empower the oil and gas industry, mostly around the equipment needed out in the field. “Robotics is becoming essential in the industry. First, they improve safety, often removing workers from danger. Collaborative robots can actually work together with professionals to do more,” Allford said. He also recounts his and the company’s experience at the recently concluded OTC (Offshore Technology Conference), where they introduced a new AI-powered product. “Welding is one of the most challenging parts of developing equipment, it’s dependent on highly skilled welders. Lots of variations can occur, which the welder must account for and use their experience to configure correctly. Well, we’ve taken the knowledge that welders have along with data collected from a 2D laser to create a program that can compensate for these variations. Data and AI combine for a new technological solution,” Allford said. OTC also gave a perfect representation of automation at work, focusing conversation on the impact that these efficiency-driven solutions will have on oil rigging for years to come. Listen to Allford give his insights on the industry, the future of technology, and on additional takeaways from the show.

    • 18 min
    Lockheed's "Skunk Works" Business Philosophy in Practice

    Lockheed's "Skunk Works" Business Philosophy in Practice

    Every business approaches how they work in a unique way. Each has a philosophy and culture, and each unique approach has its wins; some successful than others. But why? On this episode of The Roboticist Chronicles, we spoke business philosophy with Dan Allford, president of ARC Specialties.

    ARC Specialties has sound technology, but they still need a corporate structure to execute it. Allford, who had years of technical training but only business class, wanted to create something that worked at ARC Specialties. Instead of reading books on the latest fads, he followed people. And one that inspired him the most was Lockheed Martin’s founder Kelly Johnson and his Skunk Works philosophy.

    What is Skunk Works? It was the name of Lockheed’s Advanced Development Program and has become a business philosophy applied to many, many industries. It’s based around creating groups within an organization and allowing them a high degree of autonomy.

    “What I appreciate about Johnson and Skunk Works is that it’s about empowering project managers and giving them the ability to control their destiny," Allford said.

    While working in automation and robotics, you might assume that it isn’t people centered. The human portion, or the "team," is the most significant part according to Allford.

    “We reward people based on what they create, not who they manage,” he said. “A good manager hires the right people, gives them a task, and lets them do what they do.”

    That’s how ARC Specialties runs, stripping out layers of bureaucracy and focusing on the task. It also allows the company to remain nimble in the marketplace and exchange ideas. It even allows Allford's employees to tell him when he’s wrong!

    • 18 min
    From a Small Garage to Big Success: The Story of Arc Specialties with Dan Allford of Arc Specialties

    From a Small Garage to Big Success: The Story of Arc Specialties with Dan Allford of Arc Specialties

    From its inception in 1983 to now, ARC Specialties has become a case study in the growth of an American entrepreneurial endeavor. Company President Dan Allford took the business out of a garage and has since turned the automated manufacturing systems provider into an international enterprise.

    On the first episode of The Roboticist Chronicles, host Tyler Kern sat down with Allford to explore the history of ARC Specialties and analyze how its trials and tribulations reflect growth and challenges within the industry.

    Continuity and steady growth kept ARC on an upward trajectory over the decades, and Allford said that sometimes it is not about what a company does, but what it does not do.

    “As long as you keep your mistakes commensurate with the size of your business, you’ll survive. So, while we were small, we made small mistakes, and we survived,” Allford said.

    ARC has endured the globalization of manufacturing which has seen jobs leave the United States, but Allford said the industry is entering a renaissance in America today. Certainly, that is a welcome sight to Allford, who after almost forty years still has an unwavering passion for welding and manufacturing.

    “I still like building things,” he said. “The only thing better than building something is building something that builds something.”

    After creating jobs in more than 20 countries, Allford’s greatest build may not be a product but an exemplary company.

    • 19 min
    Tech, Teamwork & Trade: Collaboration in Intelligent Manufacturing with Dan Allford of ARC Specialties

    Tech, Teamwork & Trade: Collaboration in Intelligent Manufacturing with Dan Allford of ARC Specialties

    This podcast originally aired on MarketScale's Software & Technology podcast. It has been reposted to ARC's podcast for your listening! As integrated solutions like automation, robotics, and process development become more and more integrated in the manufacturing industry, we decided to sit down with Dan Allford, President of ARC Specialties, to get some insight on his industry and break down just why “manufacturing became cool again.” “One thing that I see that proves my point is all the high school robotics programs. We’re very active with U.S. First for example, where the kids design and build robots. I’ve been working with them since 2001, and it’s a great program. It’s just like when I was a kid except we didn’t have a formal outlet for it,” Allford said. The ARC Specialties President also talked on how he built ARC right out of his garage, what to look for in building the right team, his development on the first collaborative welding robot, and how innovation in manufacturing technology is affecting global trade.

    • 13 min

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