Every once in a while, an idea comes along that is so revolutionary, it takes a while for folks to catch on. But once it takes hold, you wonder how you ever got along without it. Some of you might remember life without smartphones, streaming TV services and backup cameras on your vehicle. These products, and many others so firmly embedded in our lives, moved from unknown to novelty to indispensable in a short period of time. In this article, we are going to introduce the next big thing for those of you who work in the world of manufacturing. Her name is Athena.

Who She Is
Athena is the first voice-operated digital assistant specifically designed for manufacturing. Her name comes from the ancient Greek goddess associated with war, wisdom and handicraft. This revolutionary technology lets operators interact with machine tools, regardless of brand, using simple voice commands.

If this sounds a little Star Trek to you, keep in mind that many examples of voice technology are already embraced by users around the world. Think Alexa, Siri, Sync, OnStar and many others. It has gone well beyond novelty and is now part of our everyday lives. Let’s look at some of the ways Athena can make a true difference in the manufacturing world.

A True Partner
Athena can complete tasks from warming up the machine to running a job. She can also deliver status reports, calculate key measurements and coach operators on many of the processes they need to execute throughout the day.

Professional and efficient, Athena helps novice operators become productive immediately and allows veteran machinists to maximize ROI by leveraging the complex features that come with today’s machine tools. Those complex features, often hidden deep in a machine’s control, are surfaced, simplified and made easy to access and use by Athena.

Operator Freedom
With a shortage of skilled operators, Athena can keep you informed while you perform other tasks. She can even send you emails overnight on the progress of jobs, and you can respond and give her another task to perform. Notifications or alerts? You’ll be the first to know. And those communications will be safe. For security, Athena resides on a local (on-premise) computer and operates without an internet connection.

And Athena has your back. Ever run a job off the wrong drawing and end up scrapping a bunch of parts? Athena can check the shop’s network to make sure the latest drawing and program are loaded before running the job.

OEM Differentiator
It bears repeating that Athena works on all CNC machines, regardless of brand. OEMs who offer Athena’s services on their products will increase the number of people in the customer’s shop who can run their equipment. Instead of a select few, almost anyone can be productive on day one. This workforce multiplier can give you a real edge over the competition.

Athena’s success relies on close collaboration with OEMs who are ready to lead manufacturing to the next frontier by applying voice technology to their machines. Step into Industry 4.0 with Athena on your machines. If you’re ready to take that step into the future, talk to us today.

The manufacturing industry now has its own friendly and knowledgeable digital assistant, and things will never be the same.


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