Building and sustaining a manufacturing business in today’s economy is very challenging. Despite assuming a constant demand for production, the buyers are looking to cut costs on every new order. Furthermore, it is becoming more and more difficult to find skilled workers who can handle the quality and production demands well.
Thanks to the new wave of innovation, small manufacturers now have access to industrial automation, as it has reached the economical cost parity where the return on investment is less than 2 years. Additionally, new business model innovations like sharing economy are enabling access at a much-much lower cost, saving the manufacturer trouble of upfront capital expenditure for equipment. Now the dream of automation bringing advantages, such as improving productivity & quality, reducing errors & waste, increasing safety, while adding flexibility, are more real than ever before.
Reasons You Need To Invest in Industrial Automation
Increase the joy of labor — Typically, humans dislike banal, repetitive tasks. However, computer systems perform them without complaint. Tasks that lack variability provide a place for automated systems to shine, but this also holds true for systems utilizing advanced sensors and integration. If the task requires conditions not suited for human ergonomics or focus, consider either full automation or using cobots for the more menial tasks.
Improve Quality— Humans make mistakes as they become more fatigued. This embodies the sentiment of the “human condition.” Mistakes during manufacturing means damaging raw materials, components, assemblies, and end products.
Increase Processes — Computers controlling robots do not forget steps. Only humans are capable of forgetting to put a screw in a required hole. If a machine doesn't do it, it can be remedied for perpetuity, never changing its path or forgetting that step again. Does the process require doing something in a specific order to improve yield? Automated systems will not violate the instruction set. Moreover, automated systems may employ inspection capabilities. With the ability to tune the system and allow the data to roll in without preference or bias, ensuring the most repeatable inspection process.
Increase Efficiency — Improving processes for efficiency makes a company more competitive. Do humans always do the same thing, in the same way, every time they do it? No, human variation exists, even within the same person from day to day. Automated systems allow for improvements that benefit from consistent execution. Perfect planning and training do not defend against the human touch.
Increase Knowledge — Remove the accidental data entry or missed data point from logging. Make the method of collecting sensor and process data regulated.
Improve Metrics — Sending reliable data directly to a database provides an ongoing resource. Does the process improve with changes? Why do I see more failures now than in the past? Leveraging data can provide these answers beyond a simple list of pass/fail statistics from the past. Correlation of associated process data with pass/fail records provides insight rather than guessing “what is causing this?”.
Implement Surgical Improvements — Automated systems now collect reliable data. The database provides a searchable forum. What comes next? Equipped with copious amounts of reliable data, engineers make the most of this information. Where problems existed, light shines on the problem. Rather than just changing to seek “continuous improvement,” make changes with better information.
Increase Profits/Revenue — Why add instruments to that test stand? Why log that data? Why spend the money now? Simply put, investing in industrial automation yields cost and time savings through making processes more regular and data collection; ultimately reducing the amount of scrap produced and rework required to bring the part back into spec.
Best way to start: A Team of Engineers You Can Trust
The Addcomposites' team is built of great engineers that are bent on bringing the advanced manufacturing of fiber-reinforced plastic to SMEs at the 100x lower cost. Read more about the solution and reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can affordably begin automating your layup processes today.