Is Automation The Answer To “Smart” Manufacturing?
For a long time, manufacturing has been a manual process mostly consisting of humans performing repetitive tasks. From packing and palletizing to bin picking, repetitive tasks put a strain on the human body and can cause injury after some time. Enter automation.
Smart manufacturing is the process of using technology and systems, like automation, to improve and increase production. The reason automation is such a large part of this process is that it can accomplish nearly any repetitive task or make a current process more efficient. Even better, automation technology is customizable. There are so many different systems and technologies available that finding an option for your application is easier than ever.
The question is, does every company need automation? Is this type of technology the answer to “smart” manufacturing? Let’s unpack this a bit.
The Smart Manufacturing Framework
Smart Manufacturing uses many types of technology to create one cohesive automatic system. Usually, Smart Manufacturing utilizes a combination of automation technologies, AI, the industrial internet of things, robotics, and security tech. These technologies work to make production automatic and safe.
Automation and robotics plays a large role in making the production system machine-dependent rather than manual-process dependent. This means your system will run continuously and safely, reducing employee injury and downtime.
Robotics are able to perform many tasks that humans can. Robots are best used for tasks where human safety is placed in jeopardy or for tasks that humans would rather not perform. Some of these tasks include, but are not limited to:
1. Pick and Place
2. Injection Molding
4. Packaging and Palletizing
5. Quality Inspection
8. Machine Tending
9. Screw Driving
10. Lab Analysis and Testing
11. Gluing, Dispensing and Welding
12. Your Industrial Robot Application
Robotic automation is a great way to automate dirty, dangerous, and boring tasks while allowing employees to perform tasks that are better suited for humans and interest them!
The pure breadth of possibilities with automation technology is astounding. Automation can perform nearly any manual task you can think of. In addition, there are many types of automation such as electrical and pneumatic. Even more, automation is customizable to your specific application, so you don’t have to worry about your use case being too complex for this technology.
Automation systems can run continuously if need be, so your production never has to shut down.
Do I Need Automation or Robotics For Smart Manufacturing?
This question is not easily answered. Your particular applications will determine whether automation and robotics are necessary to achieve Smart Manufacturing. As a rule of thumb, if hiring more employees is not enough to increase production to the necessary amount, you are in need of automation. If your employees are able to keep up with production with little to no error, then automation may not be necessary for you!
Overall, we always suggest contacting an automation specialist who can look at your needs and determine whether automation is truly needed.
How John Henry Foster Can Assist
John Henry Foster can help you implement robotics, automation, and other technology compatible with the industrial internet of things. We help our customers reduce error, increase safety, and multiply production. To learn more or to get your questions answered, please contact us via phone or email.