‘Daisy’, the disassembling robot, is Apple’s answer to reclaiming the valuable materials that go into the creation of nearly every Apple mobile and tablet device. Aluminum, cobalt, gold, silver, platinum, and many other valuable metals and rare earths can be extracted using this useful technology. Daisy’s efficiency is punctuated by an exceptional rate of recovery, disassembling and collecting materials from outdated devices at the rate of 200 iPhones per hour.

Not only has the recycling robot enabled Apple to recover these valuable resources, but the machine’s creation process has yielded valuable information on recycling many of these materials in a cleaner and more efficient manner. New processes have eliminated the need to introduce contaminants and other dangerous substances into the recycling process, leading to an unsullied recycling process all around.

Daisy is not the first iteration of a mechanical recycler, though. Liam was the predecessor announced by Apple back in 2016. A very specialized robot, Liam was designed to specifically disassemble iPhones to access the recyclable materials inside. Some of the crucial components Liam sought, and Daisy seeks, out in each iPhone carcass include cobalt and lithium from the phone’s battery, gold and copper from the camera, silver and platinum from the device’s logic board, and aluminum from the enclosure.

Additional Charity With Apple’s GiveBack

Alongside the Daisy announcement, which coincided with Earth Day, Apple has announced the commitment to match customers turn-ins of devices with charitable contributions to the Conservation International environmental non-profit based in Virginia until April 30th. Some devices being turned in will even knab in-store gift cards and credit for those donating.

The press release detailing Daisy and Earth Day campaigns from Apple, along with all media associated with the announcement, can be found in the Apple Newsroom.

Cleaner Streams Of Recycling With Material Recovery Facilities

Daisy’s announcement is just one of the many emerging advancements taking place in the world of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs). The recent WasteExpo 2018 in Las Vegas highlighted many of the recent advancements in the world of cleaner recycling and material recovery in electronics recycling, cleaning and sorting equipment, and municipal recycling endeavors.

Robotics and Artificial intelligence, in particular, are assuming significantly larger roles in the advancement of recycling efforts, enabling greater efficiencies in:

  • Heavy lifting
  • No deviation due to fatigue
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Continuously high levels of concentration
  • Purity rates and consistent and accurate identification of products
  • Pre-emptively tracking and managing work
  • Maximal operating time
  • Evolutive identification of products and more meaningful data
  • Reproductivity of results
  • Reduced labor and training
  • Lower operating costs

While these innovations in the field of material recovery have enabled companies like CleanRobotics, and AMP Robotics to function with greater efficiency, difficulties remain within the variety of materials flowing into the recycling stream. The resounding answer to the challenge emerges again and again with machine vision.

Material Recovery Pushes Advances In Machine Vision Systems

Coupled with robots on recycling conveyor systems, machine vision systems identify elements and materials according to a number of characteristics. Once identified, the robotic component will employ suction, grippers, and grabbers to remove materials from the conveyor and sort them accordingly, for either direct recycling or further disassembly, if necessary. Eagle Vision and Bulk Handling Systems are two entities addressing the need for more robust machine vision systems in MRFs.

Coupled with robots on recycling conveyor systems, machine vision systems identify elements and materials according to a number of characteristics.

Interconnectivity between MRF system components, read as the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT), allows devices to “speak” with one another across the facility. The results can be presented as simply as “I’m getting too much plastic” to which screens can be adjusted to narrow or expand the flow of specific materials, according to Nathanaël Lortie, co-founder and president of Eagle Vision.

With accuracy rates reaching upwards of 85 -95 percent, these robots and their associated systems far surpass the publics shoddy-by-comparison 30 percent accuracy.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions, Inc. is an ERP consulting firm that offers professional services in business consulting, project management, and software implementation. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems or addressing the emerging challenges in corporate and operational growth, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. As experts in identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


In an effort to scale operations alongside the company’s recently enjoyed growth, Metaphase has contracted the services of Encompass Solutions to implement Epicor ERP, train staff, and support operations through Go-Live and beyond. With the project plan finalized, implementation, testing, and user training are projected to be completed by the end of this year. Find out why Metaphase chose Encompass Solutions to implement their ERP solution in our interview with Metaphase President Kevin High, here.

The Project

Metaphase Technologies Inc. is a leading manufacturer of machine vision and specialty LED lighting.  They develop products that advance “The Quality of Light” through engineering and manufacturing of LED illuminators for machine vision, military, and specialty lighting applications.  Because Metaphase is projecting another year of 20% growth, they require a system that supports their growth without the necessity of increasing their labor force.

The Challenge

Currently, Metaphase Technologies operates on IQMS ERP and are looking to replace the system due to its labor-intensive nature.  Most of Metaphase Technologies’ production is manual, but it is necessary to scan in and out of those processes on the shop floor.  Quality is critical to their business; and therefore, quality checks are performed when materials are received, during the manufacturing process, and prior to shipping. Because Metaphase Technologies ships their products globally, multi-language support is essential. Additionally, the ability to price for shipping companies, integrate UPS and FedEx into the system for customer information, and maintain the applicable rates in real-time is essential to the project’s success.

The Goals

Metaphase Technologies will be implementing their Epicor ERP solution with the following goals in mind:

  • Efficiently managing global business operations
  • Providing better information to make more informed decisions
  • Supporting Engineer-to-Order Manufacturing (ETO)
  • Providing visibility to manage and track costs to measure and improve profitability
  • Supporting traceability requirements for warranties and material tracking
  • Growing revenue and profitability

The Metaphase Technologies’ team will be taking advantage of this project to review and update business processes, while leveraging standard software capabilities whenever possible. Additionally, there is a desire to streamline ETO processes through the use of technology.

About Metaphase Technologies

For more than two decades, Metaphase Technologies has been developing products that advance “The Quality of Light” through the engineering and manufacture of uniform diffuse high brightness and ultra brightness LED illuminators. Metaphase’s illuminators are specially designed for applications in machine vision, military, and specialty lighting. Metaphase boasts expertise in engineering flexible lighting solutions for ease of integration into vision systems design. The company’s LED illuminators are currently utilized in thousands of applications throughout the world, including vision-guided robotics, automation systems, line scan inspection units, and many others across the machine vision industry.

Metaphase Technologies Selects Encompass Solutions For Epicor ERP Implementation

As the first to standardize built-in constant current drivers, Metaphase continues to synergize cutting-edge machine vision LED lighting & control technologies in an effort to simplify innovation and increase customer return on investment.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Doxsteel Fasteners recently achieved a significant milestone in bringing its Mexico-based operations up to speed with a complete implementation of Epicor version 10 software and user training for their Mexico-based teams. Skilled consulting, implementation, and training services provided by Encompass Solutions, Inc. ensured the project was a success.

The Project For DoxSteel Fasteners

Up to the point of implementation, Doxsteel Fasteners had been utilizing Microsoft Excel to manage their business. Because of the technological limitations of their current system and the company’s rapid growth, Doxsteel Fasteners had outgrown the capacity and functionality of the software.

Doxsteel Fasteners had spent the previous 9-10 months unsuccessfully implementing another ERP solution due to challenges related to the inexperience of internal resources with ERP functionality and understanding business requirements, as well as the level of support from the assigned consulting team.

Taking these specific details into consideration, Encompass Solutions, Inc. was tasked with performing an effective business process review, recommending the best course of action, and executing the implementation and training necessary to achieve Doxsteel’s desired outcome.

The Details

  • 30 Concurrent Office Users
  • 20 Concurrent Data Collection Users
  • Multi-tenant SaaS
  • Implemented in approximately 4 months

The Challenge For DoxSteel Fasteners

The challenge this project posed was introducing an ERP system in a very manual environment that used handheld hardware and FTP for export invoice approval by authorities. A bilingual Operations Manager would need to facilitate training while new processes would need to be learned by rote on the plant floor. Forms, reports, and labels would need to be created separately for each language, as well.

The Goals For DoxSteel Fasteners

Doxsteel Fasteners implemented their Epicor ERP solution with the primary goals of:

  • Automating costly manual processes to eliminate inefficient processes.
  • Improving project planning, forecasting and customer sales management.
  • Providing better information to make more informed decisions.
  • Providing visibility to manage and track costs to measure and improve profitability.
  • Growing revenue and profitability.

The Results For DoxSteel Fasteners

Training was conducted with bilingual ESI consultants, both in Financial and Operations segments, side-by-side with the client’s Subject Matter Experts who were familiar with Epicor and US operations. On-site support both for Go Live and afterward was critical to the success of the project, which finished on time and under budget.

The Next Steps For DoxSteel Fasteners

The Doxsteel Fasteners’ team will be taking advantage of this project to review and update business processes, while leveraging standard software capabilities whenever possible.  The recommended business process workshops will address some of the additional challenges facing them today with visibility of data, consistent and accurate information, and a reduction in redundancy of data entry.

About Doxsteel Fasteners

Doxsteel Fasteners, a company consisting of two legal entities under one ownership with facilities in Toluca, Mexico and The Woodlands, Texas, provides scientifically-proven safer and cost-effective fasteners resulting from rigorous research and development efforts. Doxsteel Fasteners’ mission is to revolutionize bolt theory and practice in the fastener industry. It is the company’s goal to consistently conceptualize and deliver safer, less expensive, and more scientifically sound bolts to the industry.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


Technology and innovation have a tendency to gain tremendous momentum, bringing about innovative changes that cause significant disruption for industries. Those businesses that choose to fight or simply can’t keep up with change share the same fate of falling out of competition. Those businesses that embrace disruption stand a better chance of riding the wave perceived chaos, better equipped to secure position in the state of Industry that follows. So far there have been four major upheavals in industry, the most recent of which being coined Industry 4.0. Rumblings of Industry 5.0 are already being felt, but let us fill you in on where we are now for some perspective.

In industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and intelligent devices and systems have taken primary focus. Relating to the numerous devices involved in manufacturing and automation that have grown increasingly intertwined, the IIoT allows businesses to take full advantage of the “smart factory” concept, where devices speak to each other and offer a new level of visibility and interactivity at every stage of the manufacturing process.

Industry 5.0 Focus

With technology developing at a tremendous rate, Industry 5.0 isn’t so far away as experts may have predicted as recently as a few years ago. Just as Industries are getting a grip on Industry 4.0, exciting new developments are coming to light that already has those who are in-the-know detailing what comes next.

Collaborative Robotics

Using robotics, automation processes are becoming incredibly streamlined, however, the powerful machines that enable such progress, remain significant hazards on the shop floor alongside their human coworkers. The field of collaborative robotics is addressing this with focus on collaborative robots, cobots for short. While the current state of automation enables fantastic capability on the manufacturing floor, it can only do what it’s told, with human ingenuity assuming the driving force behind every action a robot completes.

John Phillips, Senior Manager of Production Services at Paradigm, has high hopes for collaborative robotics and the fields ability to address the shortcomings of automation and put cobots on the same level as their human counterparts to take production processes to the next level. As Phillips puts it, “Collaborative robots is a new technology that allows us to have a human and a robot working in the same workspace. They’re now working in a pendulum type of an operation where they can safely interact, allowing the human to check whether the robot has done an adequate amount of work before the final polishing is handed over to the human. It’s a very hand-in-hand kind of operation.”

Mass Personalization

The phrase may sound like an oxymoron, but Industry 5.0 concepts are making mass personalization a reality. Working on the new functionality and process improvement that collaborative robotics will provide, human laborers will be a more specialized component of the manufacturing process. Alongside their cognitive machine co-workers, humans will be able to mass-produce customized and personalized products for consumers with speed and precision.

This personalization can take many forms. Going beyond the scope of retail goods, personalization could take the form of medical treatments, specifically smart applications that appropriately summarize a patient’s unique lifestyle, health requirements, and physical properties to create a completely customized health regimen. Surgery is another application for collaborative robotics that is unique in every patient placed on the operating table. With the expertise of a trained surgeon and the precision of a robotic assistant, operating rooms are already enjoying the benefits of collaborative robotics.

Artificial organs, medical implants, transplants, blood transfusions, Diabetes, and a host of other medical applications can benefit from the AI-driven and collaborative robotics-supported manufacturing processes.

The Davinci surgical system has been one such medical advancement in cobot technology for its ability to enhance surgeons operational capability in the surgical theater.

Productivity And A New Relationship Between Man And Machine

Up to this point, it should be very clear that Industry 5.0 is shifting back to a human focus, whereas Industry 4.0 had a predominantly mechanized focus. Humans will have more control over the robots within the manufacturing space around the, while the dangers that came with large, powerful robots will dissipate as more articulated and nimble cobots are incorporated into the manufacturing process.

Productivity improves as a result. Toronto’s Paradigm Electronics found exactly this to be the case when they incorporated a polishing unit alongside a human worker in their loudspeaker manufacturing process. Utilizing Universal Robots’ UR10 robotic arm, Paradigm employed both man and machine to polish their speaker cabs to a mirror fine finish with a 50% increase in productivity. Not only does this cut out the monotonous and sometimes dangerous tasks for human workers, but liability and healthcare costs resulting from such tasks are reduced for the organization, as well.

The consulting firm Accenture recently released an outlook from a survey conducted among 512 manufacturing executives around the world. The results of the study revealed that 85% of those surveyed foresee a collaborative production line between humans and robots emerging in their facilities by 2020. While this may have many manufacturers anxious that they’re getting left behind, it’s only natural that larger industry players integrate new technology first. As the technology is proven and becomes more heavily relied upon, the supply and integration costs fall and allow small and medium enterprises to compete in a more open marketplace.

New Job Creation

The modern-day fear of robots replacing humans in the workplace is one that is deep-seated, but largely speculative. Collaborative robots give manufacturing floor workers the opportunity to continue operating in their roles, with a reduction in the dirty, dangerous, and dull tasks they need to carry out. Training and education in how to program, operate, and maintain a new fleet of robotic workers value-add to their already critical and difficult to replace skill sets. Amazon is already making strides in equipping their current workforce to emerge as the next generation of robotics experts.

A photograph of an executive or scientist commanding a humanoid robot. industry 5.0 new roles and jobs emerge.

A Chief Robotics Officer Could Be Implemented At 85% Of Corporations With More Than $50 million In Annual Revenues By 2050.

The Chief Robotics Officer is the latest C-suite position to emerge alongside the growing robot workforce. The role’s primary focus, according to the Chief Robotics Officer Research Scenario, revolves around Robotics & Intelligent Operational Systems (RIOS) technologies. As manufacturing operations become more entrenched with advancing technology, businesses will find new departments emerging to coincide with their growing mechanized workforces.

More Data, More Visibility

In the age of information, data is king. Industry 5.0 promises to deliver even more visibility in terms of data from the automated processes on the manufacturing floor. In giving employees with key roles the data they need to fine-tune and adjust these processes in real-time, efficiency goes up while waste and costs go down for manufacturers. Leveraging the benefits of the next stage in automation evolution employs a more collaborative species of robot, a more skilled human workforce, and the data insights to turn creativity and intellect into ruthlessly efficient processes.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.


As if the news of US-imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum didn’t upset a large enough portion of beverage manufacturers already, the most recent developments in US-China trade have left winemakers, along with US-based manufacturers of 127 other products, with a sour taste in their mouths.

Earlier this year, the White House sought to enact tariffs on countries it had described as taking advantage of the US trade policy for some time. In an effort to revitalize US-based metals manufacturing, the order to formally enact tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as high as 25 percent and 10 percent respectively, was signed last month.

A photo of a metal foundry at night, one of the largest industries affected by US-China Trade.

The Order To Formally Enact Tariffs On Steel And Aluminum Imports, As High As 25 Percent And 10 Percent Respectively, Was Signed Last Month.

The move will ideally lead to an injection of investment and job growth in the sector, according to supporters of the decision.

Food and Beverage Manufacturers Believe Things Will Get Worse Before Getting Better

Consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers, on the other hand, have voiced serious concerns over the expected rise in costs and job losses resulting from the tariffs. Campbell Soup, Craft Heinz, Coca-Cola, and AB-InBev are among the largest companies broadcasting dire predictions. The craft beer industry, which has seen tremendous growth in the US over the last five years, is also expected to suffer serious ramifications to canning and racking operations. non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, who have been enjoying a marked increase in popularity over the last several years, will no doubt be adversely affected by the imposed tariffs. It remains to be seen how the policy will affect the future of such niches.

US-China Trade Siphoning Beer’s Bottom Line

To begin, higher packaging prices are sure to increase prices for consumers; however, the impact could reach well beyond higher costs in the grocery aisle. According to Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute President and CEO, “this 10% tariff will create a new $347.7 million tax on America’s beverage industry, including brewers and beer importers, and result in the loss of 20,291 American jobs.”  A frightening prospect, especially for those small and medium enterprises struggling to make their way in the craft brewing sector.

an image of canned beverages, signifying the aluminum industry, one industry affected by US-China Trade.

Beverage Manufacturers And Packaging Operations Will Be Significantly Affected By Aluminum and Steel Tariffs.

58 percent of the 2.1 million tons of tinplate used in the US last year, an insufficient amount of which is produced in the U.S according to a Campbell Soup representative, was produced in the US. CPG manufacturers will likely end up paying 10 percent to 25 percent more on the remaining 42 percent being imported because of the new tariffs.

While large food and beverage manufacturers will be able to offset the increase in costs through consumers, distributors, and retailers, smaller operations will bear the brunt of the import taxes, making growth amid volatility the latest of many challenges.

Winemakers Feeling The Squeeze Of US-China Trade

The latest response from China places the US wine industry in a position to bear substantial impact in the back and forth between the world’s two largest economies. All this comes following the announcement earlier this year of reduced excise taxes on winemakers, distillers, and brewers that had these small and medium enterprises especially optimistic about the future of their operations.

A picture of barrels in the wine cellar, one industry affected by US-China Trade.

Wine Inventory Is Sitting In Warehouses Across The Country, Waiting For Some Resolution To The State Of US-China Trade.

The new tariffs for wine can reach just as high as those imposed on imported steel by the US, 25 percent. As a result, inventory is sitting in warehouses across the country, waiting for some resolution to a spat that will have an impact that reaches farther than the vineyard. While wine exports to China account for roughly 5% of the market, or around $79m, winemakers are keeping a close eye on developments. Wine consumption in China has increased by 500% since 2000 and shows no signs of slowing down. This is further impacted by the dry spell of sorghum-based Maotai, the country’s most popular spirit.

In Napa Valley, Chinese wine tourists make up the majority of visitors, as well, with 20% of guided tours being booked in Mandarin. The figure will no doubt also be impacted by fewer Chinese wine drinkers being exposed to the varieties produced by US growers and winemakers. In a landscape dominated by French wines for decades, American wines had been in a state of perpetual grind to break into the Chinese market. Now, with the headway made over the last two decades threated by a potential 25 percent import tax, inroads made into the Chinese wine market run the risk of drying up.

About Encompass Solutions

Encompass Solutions is a business and software consulting firm that specializes in ERP systems, EDI, and Managed Services support for Manufacturers and Distributors. Serving small and medium-sized businesses since 2001, Encompass modernizes operations and automates processes for hundreds of customers across the globe. Whether undertaking full-scale implementation, integration, and renovation of existing systems, Encompass provides a specialized approach to every client’s needs. By identifying customer requirements and addressing them with the right solutions, we ensure our clients are equipped to match the pace of Industry.