Automated systems design has many advantages including increased productivity, higher volumes of goods produced, decreased operational costs and increased safety for workers. Some automated systems are even designed to measure their own workflows and are able to provide real-time data on their processes, thus allowing for optimization on the fly.
When it comes to manufacturing, the automotive industry has greatly benefited from automation machine design. In the 1970s automotive manufacturers began automating their manufacturing processes and by the 1980s automated tasks were incorporated into most automotive manufacturing. Today, automated systems design is a key force driving efficiency and value in the automotive industry. The automotive industry has been able to use robots and automated systems to complete basic and repeatable tasks, freeing up humans to work on the technically skilled components of the job. The advantages gained from incorporating automation into manufacturing processes extend beyond the automotive industry. This article will introduce how automation systems design drives efficiency and quality with examples from the automotive industry and beyond.
Decreased Operation Costs
The most extreme version of systems automation, “lights-out” manufacturing, requires little human intervention and thus reduces labour and operation costs significantly. The most widely known example of a lights-out factory is the Fanuc robotics plant in Japan where robots make other robots. In this scenario, labour costs are greatly reduced, as well as energy costs like heating and cooling.
Collaborative factories are more common than lights-out factories. In these factories, humans and robots work alongside one another, with the more repetitive and hazardous tasks performed by robots and automated systems. To keep humans safe while working alongside automated systems, the cobots have features such as sensors that will halt operation if a human gets too close.
Additionally, increasingly affordable automated systems make the switch more attractive to manufacturers. Many examples have shown that switching to an automated manufacturing system is beneficial to a company’s bottom line through increased efficiency and reduction of waste.
Automated systems are a good option for businesses looking to protect workers from mundane, repetitive tasks or tasks that are hazardous to humans. There are several tasks better suited for automated systems.
For example, industrial welding can be performed by machines who are precise and not harmed by fumes, heat, or noise in the same way that human workers might be. Material Handling is another area of manufacturing that can be completed more safely by automated systems. These systems are able to lift and move large payloads with precision and ease, where these repetitive motions and high weights might harm human workers.
Increased Quality without Compromising Production
Many manufacturing tasks require more-than-human precision. Automated systems can provide an increase in the quality of the product due to the precision offered by machines. Robots programmed to perform the same task precisely and consistently can do so without experiencing fatigue and collaborative robots are already in use in quality assurance processes in diverse industries from automotive manufacturing to agriculture.
Ensuring that quality does not come at the expense of production levels is another advantage automated systems design brings to the table. In some cases, automated systems have been able to increase production levels up to 50 percent.
Innovation Automation, located in Barrie, Ontario is a leading provider of automation systems to global manufacturers. We provide cutting-edge solutions with diverse applications to several industries including automotive, consumer goods and medical device manufacturing.
Contact us today to learn more about how our expertise in automated systems design can help your business increase efficiency, safety and quality.