Always on the lookout for ways to improve the efficiency, safety, productivity and ergonomics of today’s mattress- and pillow-making operations, machinery makers introduced a range of innovative machinery and software solutions at ISPA EXPO 2018 March 14-16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. There was plenty of new software for streamlining plant operations and for making complex equipment easier to maintain and operate. In fact, a significant number of innovations in manufacturing equipment were about replacing hand labor with automation. Many factors, not the least of which is aging workers who are dealing with heavier finished products, have caused machinery makers to pay closer attention to the ergonomics associated with production processes. Equipment makers are seeking to lighten the load for those who labor on the plant floor, while, at the same time, reducing their customers’ exposure to workers’ compensation issues. Machinery vendors say they also are working more closely with bed makers on ways to improve production flow in general. For instance, on many plant floors, conveyors and lift-and-place mechanisms are playing a bigger role as producers look for new ways to automa...