The manufacturing industry is undergoing massive changes in its operations; the labor force is changing; production costs are rising by the day; and competition is stiffer than ever.
In the midst of it all, robotic machine tending is still one topic that most manufacturers are skeptical about investing in. Many manufacturing shops are wondering, is machine tending automation right for my business?
Here is how you can know if it’s the right time for your business to invest in this technology.
Look into your Product Handling process
The machine tending process deals with the loading and unloading of materials into machines. So, before automating your machine tending, examine your existing process.
How do your operators handle the products? Some products require special care; others need accurate placing while others are just-grab and place. Look into the effectiveness of how you do the job, then determine if it needs to change.
Robotic machine tending can result in faster production, better efficiency, and better precision for the task. They work well for machines that need a precise grip force, placement, and timing.
However, it might not be necessary for your industry if you handle simple placement products.
How are your CNC machines?
Machine tending relies heavily on CNC machines to complete the production process. Therefore, the state of your CNC machine can help you know if it’s time to automate.
If you’re using older models of the CNC machines, it can be hard to integrate your robotic solutions to the production. These models are not compatible with some of the latest end of arm tools and thus, may limit the capacity of your automation.
If you are not looking to upgrade your CNC machines, then robotic machine tending may not be for you.
However, if you have upgraded your CNC machines to the latest models, machine-tending automation is a good solution. Newer CNC models are designed to integrate easily with automated systems using very simple software packages.
Traffic at the loading/unloading stage
Another big reason to look into robotic machine tending is the state of your production bottleneck. Look at your loading and unloading process, how smooth is it?
If there’s any build-up during this process, then something could be wrong with your systems. The operator could be slow, or the machine itself could be slow.
This is a big reason to invest in an automated system.
Machine tending automation is fast, very consistent, and has a 24/7 uptime. This means that it can work every day with no need for a break, thus ensuring no build-up at your production.
If your production is going smoothly, but you want to improve your speeds, robotic machine tending is also a good option. The robots can increase their speed, without altering their precision and efficiency, which every business wants.
What are your ROI goals?
Your ROI goals also determine whether it’s time to invest in automation. There are many things that can affect your ROI from a labor shortage to material inconsistencies, to implementation costs.
If you want a faster ROI, maybe 16-24 months, you may have to invest in robotic machine tending. Automation increases your production productivity and efficiency, which improves your profitability.
It also improves your products’ quality and minimizes the risk of damage and thus helps increase your sales and customer base.
Other times, if you can’t manage to keep your operators, for one reason or the other, then maybe that’s a sign to invest in robotic machine tending.
The decision to invest in robotic machine tending isn’t one you wake up and decide to do. It requires a lot of thought and research to ensure that it’s the right time to have it.
Above are a few pointers to help you determine if the time is right to adopt this game-changing technology into your business. But the decision to invest in it solely rests on you. So, think carefully and make the right decision.
Article Submitted By Community Writer