Automation is utilized in many processes of today’s manufacturing sector. Many factories that are creating components and parts for a variety of industries have some type of the process automated. Robots are often used in more hazardous applications or in extremely repetitive actions that can be ergonomically problematic for human workers.
1. Decreased Overhead Costs – When a manufacturing company adds some element of automation into its production or fabrication of products, the competitive advantage is increased for the company. Through automation, the company will be able to reduce costs through elimination of staff and an increase in productivity (many robots can run 24/7). However, it is important to note that many automated systems and equipment are expensive, so these additional costs will have to be compared to the overall reduction of cost in the long run.
2. Increased Productivity – As mentioned above, many automated systems can work long hours, into the night and on weekends, which provides an overall increase in productivity. This increase in productivity, although beneficial, may be slowed by other non-automated factors, such as product finishing, final packaging, and shipping. A cost comparison of skilled workers versus an automated system with all the factors from start to finish is the best analysis to determine if increased productivity can offset any human staff-related costs.
3. Consistency, Reliability, and Accuracy – Automated equipment and robotics can manufacture and continually repeat consistent final product results. The addition of automation eliminates the common issue of human error that may detract from the overall quality of production. Manufacturing processes can be carefully regulated and manipulated in order to maintain overall quality. This is a key advantage of automated equipment—the human error element is greatly reduced providing assurance that parts and components will be of consistent high quality.
4. High Volume Production – Automation is a valuable resource when a manufacturer is producing high volumes of components or parts. However, it isn’t very useful for lower volume production, as the expense for tooling and operating the machines can often outweigh the overall cost of the finished product.
5. Increase in Safety – The use of robotics and automated equipment is an effective way to prevent worker injuries. Many of today’s automated production devices keep workers a safe distance from the more hazardous areas of work. Human staff is still needed to operate and program the equipment, but the actual hands-on work is left to the machine, protecting the health and safety of staff. In addition, robots are able to work in extreme environments such as very hot or cold areas of a manufacturing plant. This allows workers to be free of additional harm from elements harmful to humans.
Today’s manufacturing incorporates the skills of trained workers with the precision of automated equipment and robotics. This combination of automation and a skilled work force provides a strong operational base for North American companies to be competitive both here and overseas.
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Prompt Assembly & Packaging Inc.