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May 2016 • The PCB Magazine 47 fabrication process. It was built on one corner of the eight-story facility and feeds each floor with the right materials, in the right quantities and JIT for the lot flow. The AGV and AS/RS units are seen in Figure 8. Conclusion Since automation can be system informa- tion and mechanization, its value is more than just saving labor costs. The improved quality, reduced or eliminated handling errors and re- jects, improved safety, increased output, re- duce pollution and the opportunity to handle more complicated processes makes automation something that even small shops need to con- sider and can do within their budget. The key is to have a plan and I hope this has given you some points to do just that. PCB References 1. Holden, H., "Justifying Process Automa- tion," NEPCON West, Anaheim, Calif., April 1972. 2. "Computerization Comes to Plating," Metal Finishing magazine, May 1978. Happy Holden has worked in printed circuit technology since 1970 with hewlett-Packard, Nan- ya/Westwood, merix, Foxconn and Gentex. Currently, he is the co-editor, with Clyde Coombs, of the Printed Circuit Handbook, 7th Ed. To contact holden, click here. Efforts to protect air travelers are becoming essential as business lead- ers ramp up efforts to use unmanned aircraft for agriculture, real estate, in- spections, and commercial purposes, officials from the Virginia Tech mid-At- lantic Aviation Partnership said today. The most recent step is an effort involving the NASA's Ames Research Center and the six Federal Aviation Administration- designated unmanned aircraft systems testing sites, including Virginia Tech's, to test NASA's unmanned aircraft system traffic-management platform. In the first in a series of tests of the research plat - form involving non-NASA aircraft, pilots from the six test sites recently flew 22 aircraft simultaneously. "Virginia is pioneering the use of unmanned aircraft systems," said Gov. Terry mcAuliffe. "our research teams are clearing the way for the use of unmanned aircraft for pipeline inspections, search and rescue efforts, and commercial applications still in the ideation stage. moving this technology safely into the nation's skies has tremendous potential to create new opportunities that will be invaluable for a new Virginia economy." The Virginia Tech mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership oversaw flights in Blacksburg, Virginia, and in mary - land with its partners at the univer- sity of maryland. "About halfway through that first flight window, when NASA called and said, 'Congratulations, everybody, we've exceeded our success criteria. you're all clear to land as need- ed'—that was a really satisfying moment," said John Coggin, the chief engineer for the Virginia Tech mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership in Virginia. "Then we caught our breath and got ready for the next window." Flight teams at all of the Federal Aviation Admin- istration-selected unmanned aircraft systems test sites in Virginia, maryland, Alaska, New york, North Dakota, Nevada, and Texas communicated with the traffic management system at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California. "The unmanned aircraft system initiative at Vir- ginia Tech has resulted in historic flights that dem- onstrate the enormous potential of this technology to help people," President Tim Sands said. NASA, Virginia Tech Test Management Platform for Unmanned Aircraft Traffic material HandlinG innovations: sHould you automate?

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