Production automation is rather rapidly becoming highly strategic transforming into an enabler of business control and dexterity which is a very valuable instrument in the CIO's (Chief Investment Office) toolkit.
Manufacturing (automated) complexes are the instrumentation which operates in a factory or other establishment on a tangible product. This kind of equipment perform operations such as monitoring, processing, controlling, assembly, or various types material handling, and even in some cases fulfilling more than one of the mentioned tasks in the same system.
Automation includes the usage of computer-controlled and monitoring systems for the streamlined manufacturing as well as processing of materials. Commonly automation is way much more productive than identical procedures of manufacture, conducted on the basis of human-handling components. In its widest meaning automation encompasses conveyor lines, highly specialist computerised manufacturing processes, as well as robotics, together with vision, probe and sensor-based systems for inspection.
So, in general Today, as demand increases for businesses to perform complex, labour-intensive tasks, the goal is to automate as many manual processes as possible. The question is - why? What are the real business benefits?
We have outlined top most important and valuable Automation benefits:
1. Labor productivity increase
2. Labor cost reduction - automation allows you to accomplish more by utilizing fewer resources.
3. Employee safety improvement - by shifting the employee from actual participation in the very process to a monitoring and regulatory role, the work is made safer.
4. Product quality improvement - every action is accomplished equally, resulting in high product quality as well as reliable outcome.
5. Production time reducing - manual tasks take time. Automation reduces the time it takes to achieve a task, the effort required to undertake it and the cost of completing it successfully.
6. To accomplish processes that cannot be done manually. Certain operations cannot be accomplished without the aid of a machine. These processes have requirements for precision, miniaturization, or complexity of geometry, that cannot be achieved manually.
7. To avoid the high cost of not automating. There is a significant competitive advantage gained in automating a manufacturing plant. The advantage cannot easily be demonstrated on a company’s project authorization form.
Here is Amanda’s, a small business owner, short-story about her experience with automation tools.
“We are a family who own a small sweets shop and we make a variety of chocolates ourselves, which is our family business and we keep our recipes in a secret to to remain competent on today’s market. The number of people falling in love with our sweets - our customers - is growing and we are truly proud of that! So at some point we realized that we needed some more pairs of hands to increase our volume of production, but the genuine trust of family recipe can be rested only upon the family and within it!
The decision was - to computerize the most time-stealing process, and actually the most boring one - observing and sustaining the cocoa level being processed! So, our new family member now is Mini Tuning Level Switch by Proximity, who is the most hard-working and responsible member now! We’ve considerably grown in the amount of chocolate produced since the purchase and, hopefully some day will be entirely ready to declare our name worldwide!”
Historically many people have perceived automation to be best suited to larger manufacturing businesses, but this is definitely not the case any more. Smaller manufacturers can significantly benefit from automation. The problem is often there is a lack of awareness of automation solutions and the benefits they can provide. Smaller manufacturing organizations often do not know what automation applications are out there, how to specify them, how to commission them and above all, the significant advantages they can bring, together with the problems they can solve.
Other advantages include:
- dangerous or hazardous tasks can be undertaken, often in harsh conditions;
- handling of heavy components and awkward processes;
- reliably carry out monotonous tasks;
- better use of floor space, getting more out of a compact footprint;
- flexibility to ramp up or slow down production according to demand, without the comparative hassle and costs of organizing employee overtime;
- free up employers to concentrate on more stimulating tasks such as improvements, decision making and problem solving.
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