Today, with skilled labor still limited, several U.S. manufacturers are closing the gap with automation. After all, with the right automation, shops can greatly improve their part processing operations and significantly reduce costs.
In fact, automation has become a determining factor in whether or not a company will remain competitive within the complex, ever-evolving marketplace. On a much larger scale, automation can give U.S. manufacturing the boost it needs to regain some of the footing it has lost over the years to offshoring.
Automation, at any level, from basic bar feeders to advanced robots, can bring immediate benefits to manufacturers both large and small, including:
- Increased productivity – Automated systems don’t get sick or take breaks and can work long hours into the night and on weekends.
- Improved accuracy and repeatability – Automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than employees, resulting in greater control and product quality.
- Maximized machine tool utilization – Automated systems reduce part loading and unloading times as well as allow for unmanned operations outside of normal shifts.
- Enhanced flexibility – Automated systems allow for quick changeovers, leading to smaller batch sizes as well as reduced stock and work in progress.
- Better time management – Automated systems eliminate repetitive tasks, save time and allow employees to work on other projects, which makes for better use of their capabilities and provides a better return against their costs.
- Improved safety – Automated systems can keep employees a safe distance away from hazardous work areas, as well as eliminate dangerous, injury-prone tasks, such as lifting large, heavy parts.
Even with all of these benefits, however, it is important to note that automated systems can be expensive, so it is important to compare these additional costs with overall cost reductions in the long run. For example, automation isn’t useful in low-volume production, as the expense for tooling and machine operation often outweighs the overall cost of the finished product.
Because it can be difficult to design and implement an automation system that will best meet your requirements as well as boost your shop’s productivity and overall bottom line, we offer the most advanced automation solutions and support resources of any machine tool builder in the industry.
Through our own capabilities and partnerships with other industry leaders, we can provide you with a tailored automation solution that fits your unique needs, whether it involves a bar feeder, gantry loader, PALLETECH System, articulated robot or all of the above.
Our expert applications engineers will also help you create and implement software solutions that will ensure maximum return on your automation investment, from user interfaces to scheduling functions to production monitoring.