If you are investing in robotic automation, especially if it’s your first time, it needs careful consideration and planning before the robot is ever installed on your factory floor. Both your processes and business need to prepare for the cost-savings and throughput of robotic automation. However, for you to find the right robotic solution, you will need an in-depth understanding of your operations and how it relates to the capabilities of automation.
Manufacturing robots can bring certain productivity and efficiency benefits to nearly any factory floor. However, effective planning for automation can significantly help you in maximizing the benefits you receive from robotic automation.
Five things you need to examine before automating
Before you invest in robotic automation, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself. Here they are:
Can your current process be defined?
For automation to be successful, one needs to have a deeper understanding of all their production processes. It also requires that all these processes are documented and can be clearly communicated to a robot integrator. It also requires that all problematic areas are clearly identified, in order for the best-suited technology for your application to be implemented.
What is your reason for automating?
First and foremost, it is paramount that you ask yourself why your business needs automation. Finding the answer to this question will help you establish automation goals as well as make sure all executives and engineers are in alignment. The most common driving factors for automation include:
- Poor product quality
- Safety issues
- A need to increase production volume
- Issues with precision
- Inflated production costs
What kind of manpower do you need to operate your manufacturing robots?
Typically, manufacturing robots deliver labor savings. However, they also need you to have new and specialized expertise in order to operate the machines. The reason why this is a key consideration is because it adds to the initial cost of investing in robotics. Also keep in mind that investing in specialized expertise can deliver productivity benefits that are long term, since robot operators continually optimize the performance of robots.
What type of automation components does your production process need?
It is rare for a manufacturing robot to come all by itself. This is because there are several other considerations that are specific to your application. For instance, how will the part be presented to the manufacturing robot? Will a force sensing system or vision system be needed to make sure that there is proper part placement? Components such as the robot base, end of arm tooling and factory standards are other key productivity and cost considerations.
What are your requirements?
In order for you to begin the process of automating existing robotic applications or manual tasks, it is critical that you thoroughly understand your automation requirements. This may typically include the following:
- The level of precision required for high quality products
- Desired cycle time
- The payload and reach of a given robot
If you are thinking about investing in robotic automation then it may be wise to only make that crucial decision when current processes and corresponding automation capabilities have been thoroughly examined. From there, the assistance of a reputable and knowledgeable robot integrator can help you with the installation of the most productive robotic systems for your application. In addition to this, doing a little research online of automation will help you get a clear understanding of what robotic automation is and what it means to your business and workers alike.
The future is automation. Therefore, if you haven’t yet jumped on the bandwagon, now is the best time. Remember, the size of your business doesn’t matter as new tech manufacturing robots are not only affordable but also available for both small to mid-size companies and large companies. So, why not invest in one and enjoy all the benefits automation offers while you catch up to your competition?