Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Good Reasons for Robotics and Manufacturing Automation

Good reasons for the use of robotics and manufacturing automation come as both positive increases of assets and capabilities and reductions to costs and efforts in the production process. Couple these together and there are very strong arguments for the implementation of robotics and manufacturing automation in any business that has any kind of production as part of its operations. Once a business looks in detail at all the increases and reductions involved here, it is very hard to argue against the use of robotics and manufacturing automation to make a manufacturer efficient.

On the reduction side, robotics and manufacturing automation can reduce overall operating costs in a plant. Such a cut in expenditures will make a business much more competitive in any market where it competes. Along side the reduction in short-term expenditures, a business that implements robotics and manufacturing automation will have reductions in its outlay for inventories. There can be a distinct reduction in inventory in progress and cuts in allocations for long-term inventories. The accuracy of robotics and manufacturing automation can also reduce the amount of waste that is generated in production, thus further cutting costs for inventory. There can be reduction in manual labor and the associated cost for accidents, sickness, and insurance.

Robotic automation can cut the turnover rate for highly skilled workers by replacing a lot of the tasks that these workers perform with automation that is very efficient. There should be a complimentary reduction in the amount of effort and expense that is incurred in the recruitment of skilled workers with robotic automation as a part of overall operations.

As for the increases that robots and manufacturing automation give to a business, there can be a definite increase in the quality of the environment where workers are required to put in their time. Robotics automation must work effectively in harsh and hazardous conditions so that employees do not have to. Robotics gives the company an increase in the compliance to safety rules and the overall health of employees. Employees are kept out of those areas that are not healthy or could cause injury or lost time.

Production rates are increased by manufacturing automation with robotics. Human operators do not have the consistent, overall high quality performance on the production line that robotics can offer. Output levels can be increased because the robotics can work continually day and night without a break, if automation is configured correctly. An increase in the accuracy of meeting the deadlines that are required by customers is achieved by the robotics in manufacturing.

Overall product quality that comes off the production line is increased by robotic automation. Tiredness, boredom, laziness, inconsistent work, and the effects of tediousness does not factor into the production that is done by robotics. Manufactured product quality is kept high and very consistent. The flexibility of manufacturing is increased with the advent of automation robotics. When the programs that control automation devices have been optimized, it is very easy to move the concentration of robotics from the production of one product to another simply by changing the program in the controller.

Automation gives a business an increase in the utilization of space required for manufacturing. The devices that are placed to do the production work on an automated line take up less space that what would have to be allocated for manual production operations. The way that the automation system is designed can squeeze a lot of work into a small space. Robotics can be mounted on the wall, on the ceiling in a multitude of ways to get the most from the space that is available for manufacturing. Confined spaces become very productive when robotics are assigned to them. As production begins every inch of the manufacturing floor space can yield some profitability.

There are just to many positive effects from the implementation and utilization of robotic automation in any manufacturing process to ignore. The costs of gaining all these capabilities has been falling over the last several years. The competitive nature that is in the market that supplies the automation devices has pushed the prices down considerably. Technology continues to drive the ability of machines higher and higher, so it would be the best consideration for manufacturers of all sizes to find the area of automation that will work best for their operation and implement automation to realize the positives for their business.

John Mitchell is President of Provision, Inc, an online publisher of information about the application of automation in business. Mitchell has years of experience in the management of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation. The company website, http://www.provinc.net, assists companies in the evaluation of the benefits and capabilities of production automation. Thoughts on how to evaluate automation for a business are presented, and ways to begin the automation process are discussed. Insights into the use of vision systems, RFID and other topics in automation are covered. Requests for quotations and questions about automation can be submitted to the consulting engineers of leading automation companies.
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