February 20, 2020
In today’s labor starved market, many manufacturers are looking to automation to help them get their products to market. And yet, jumping headfirst into automation can be an intimidating journey full of confusion and frustration, if you don’t know how to navigate it. We put together this step by step guide to help de-mystify the automation journey and get you started on the right path.
Whether you’re manufacturing in the food and beverage, consumer goods, or medical industries, you are likely struggling with the labor challenges that are drastically affecting your ability to meet your bottom line. According to Justin Rose, an analyst at Boston Consulting Group, 60 percent of the tasks on production floors could – but have not yet –been automated. These kinds of tasks include the dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs that manufacturers struggle to fill. Automation is known to increase productivity, accuracy, safety, quality, and is found to be a cost-effective investment. So if you do have a process that can benefit from automation, why not automate?
So now you’ve decided to automate. Great job! Next up is the robot. We’re talking about the basics: collaborative and industrial. Collaborative robots, or cobots, are designed to operate alongside humans to perform their tasks. Cobots are intended to interact with humans in an enclosed area making them safe to work alongside, taking up less space, and are generally more affordable. Unlike cobots, industrial robots can do so much more at a higher speed and payload. From production to quality control, these big boys can make a big impact on your business. Explore the benefits of industrial and collaborative robots and see how they can scale your business to support the growing need for efficient and effective manufacturing.
Not done yet! There’s more to automation than just robots. Robots by themselves are useless unless you have what is a called an end of arm tool (EOAT). Think of the robot as the arm and now you need the hand. The hand is the part of the system that actually touches and interacts with your product (we like to think it’s the most important – but hey, we’re biased). It is critical to choose the right EOAT for your application because, like robots, they all have specific attributes that are best suited for certain applications.
There are enough people involved in automating a production line that you could start your own sports team. Whether you’re dipping your toe into the shallow end of automation, or you’re diving headfirst into the deep end, you may come across a few terms you haven’t heard of. It’s important to understand who those people are to help you find the best solution for your bottom line. From distributors to OEMs to System Integrators – there is a world of people available to help support your journey.
It’s time to talk about the different stages of an automation project and who is generally involved in each stage. There are generally a handful of stages to get your process automated and it’s important to note that you may not go through all stages depending on the scope of the project.
We’ve dug into every single step to help you prepare your journey to robotic automation. You know that robots are here to tackle the dull and dangerous work that’s currently being done by people. If you’re looking for ways to reduce risk of injury, lower turnover rates or improve productivity, contact us and start growing your business.