Seeing is Believing: Production Machining Checks Out Athena

August 24, 2021

“Athena could be the norm in a machine shop one day,” stated Lori Beckman, Senior Editor of Production Machining, in a recent article. She came to this conclusion after a conversation with Jerry Rex, Chief Revenue Officer at Athena, and an opportunity to see Athena in action during a demonstration. We asked Jerry to recap what they talked about during their discussion.

“The initial point I made was that, while Athena is the first voice-operated assistant specifically designed for manufacturing, the concept of interacting with digital assistants is becoming commonplace,” he said. “People of all ages now have voice-activated apps on their phones, in their cars and throughout their homes.”

As an example, he outlined a common occurrence he has experienced in his own life. “Alexa might ask your parents or grandparents, ‘Did you take your pills this morning?’ Athena brings that same convenience, speed and functionality to the manufacturing environment. She might ask, ‘Did you remember to clean the nozzles today?’”

Jerry explained to Beckman that Athena works by recognizing simple voice or typed commands and responds quickly and accurately by way of reports, calculations, instructions, alerts and so much more. “It’s a single interface for most machine tool and control brands,” he said.

Why is this important?
“As it gets harder to find skilled labor, the features and complexities contained within machine tools and their controls are only going up,” Jerry explained. “So even if skilled labor exists, chances are it won’t ever unlock all the bells and whistles that allow machines and their operators to craft differentiating work.”

“With Athena, everyone performs complex tasks quicker,” he continued. “Imagine an operator or set-up person that has never seen the control model on a machine. Or, for that matter, imagine that they’ve never used this brand of machine tool. With Athena’s groundbreaking technology, they can now interact with that machine tool and that control instantly without costly training.”

On-site training can be difficult to schedule between travel, machine availability and production requirements. “If many of the things operators most commonly experience can be pre-loaded into Athena, it minimizes the need for expensive travel and time spent by seasoned and often over-booked experts,” Jerry said.

Multiplying the effectiveness of an OEM’s technical and support resources is another huge benefit Athena brings. “As difficult as it is to find and retain highly skilled engineers, imagine that you could supply some of the most intimate knowledge and skills of your best engineers to the operators without them leaving your facility,” Jerry said.

Summing up her experience, Beckman said, “I learned that Athena’s functionality could save both experienced and inexperienced operators time and boost efficiency by guiding them through simple and complex machining tasks, simplifying machine tool training and reducing errors with optimization.” She promises more information on Athena in an upcoming article.

If you would like more information on how Athena can simplify machine operation and dramatically reduce training costs, click here to Contact Us.

Click on the video to watch the Athena demonstration with Lori Beckman.