Three Types of Manufacturing Automation and Their Advantages
Implementing automation in your operation can increase efficiency and productivity. Automation in manufacturing is changing the way the industry operates, from robotic additions to production management software, but many manufacturers perceive the upfront investment as a barrier to entry. However, it has become increasingly important for manufacturers to consider automation in their operations. Automation is easier (and cheaper) to implement than you think, but what different types of automation are out there, and what are their advantages?
Three Ways to Automate
Automation is everywhere, and many manufacturers are utilizing different types of automation to solve specific problems their operation is facing. Hartwig specializes in three types of automation.
Machine monitoring is a form of automation that utilizes sensors on your machines to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of your manufacturing process. With only two to three sensors, you receive data from over 100 meaningful metrics, providing a foundation for action.
By using sensors to collect data from key pieces of equipment on your shop floor, you are able to monitor your machines in real-time, allowing your team to make crucial decisions and driving improvement from top floor to shop floor.
Oftentimes the first thing that comes to mind when people think about automation, robotics is used in manufacturing to automate tasks that human employees normally complete. Three- or six-axis robotic arms can be utilized to handle materials or complete pick-and-place tasks, completing them much faster than a human employee could and at a much lower cost.
Industrial robotics can greatly improve both the speed of production and the high-volume, repeatable processes, such as orienting a part on a conveyor belt or moving heavy objects from one location to another. With the ability to program robots to complete the same task the same way time and time again, your quality improves and your lower the risk of variances.
In the midst of both labor shortages and supply chain issues, you can’t afford to lose track of what’s in your inventory. Inventory management systems are softwares that are capable of monitoring and reordering supplies without human intervention, providing you real-time visibility of your stock and ensuring you don’t run out of crucial materials.
The Benefits of Automation
ROI and Reduced Costs
When looking into automation, many people believe the initial investment isn’t worth it, or it won’t pay off. However, not only can automation allow you to manage and execute multiple different projects at once, but with devices to monitor your inventory or machines, you can make more informed decisions on the materials you need to buy or maintenance you need to perform. Additionally, with robotics to complete simple tasks on your shop floor, you can lower both operational and labor costs.
While the initial investment can seem high, the cost savings that are achieved with software and robotics automation vastly outweigh the money spent. With the possibility of ROI and reduced production costs, automating your process is beneficial to both your production operators and C-suite executives.
In the midst of an industry-wide labor shortage, it has become more important than ever to find ways to keep your productivity high. With less of the workload falling on your operators, it comes as no surprise that productivity is greatly improved by integrating automation into your process. In fact, 76% of manufacturers cite that their main reason for investing in automation is to improve the productivity of their shop floor.
In addition to increasing the productivity of your operators, automation helps you avoid unplanned downtime. For example, having a device to monitor the performance of your machines not only allows you to fix a problem before it impacts your process; it gives your team the visibility they need to schedule maintenance at a time that least impacts production.
Better Product Quality
Real-time machine performance, product quality, and inventory data are game changers in the manufacturing industry. Having access to real-time data allows you to refine your production process to create the highest quality products possible. This data also allows you to find out what particular components of your product or process need refining, giving you the opportunity to make the necessary changes in order to create the best product you can.
Human error and inconsistent data quality can cost your company, in both customer satisfaction and dollars. The easiest way to lower this risk is by eliminating the possibility of human error, which can be accomplished through automation. This applies to both quality control data collection and production process data. With automation, you greatly reduce the chance of making mistakes or dealing with fluctuations in product quality.
Step Into the Future of Manufacturing
It is estimated that, by 2025, automation will lead to a net growth of 12 million jobs. That’s not to say there won’t be displacement; 85 million jobs are expected to be displaced because of shifts in labor divisions between humans and automation. In fact, the increase in automation is also expected to create 97 million new roles. Based on the current trajectory of technological advances in the industry, the future of automation in manufacturing looks bright. Most processes will continue to require a human touch because of people’s adaptability to change and innovation. Automation is designed to make the human processes easier and more efficient, not to eliminate the human workforce entirely. Automation enables a future where humans can be better utilized in roles that are safer, less laborious, and are more focused on problem-solving and management instead of tasks that present ergonomic and safety challenges.
While the benefits of automation are clear, it can be tough to determine how to get started. Hartwig partners with automation experts and innovative manufacturers to provide you with the tools you need to automate your process effectively, such as Gosiger’s Load & Go line of products. Whether you’re looking to completely revamp your operation or want to start small, Hartwig’s team of experts is ready to guide you every step of the way. Step into the future and start automating your process today by connecting with your Hartwig representative.
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