Page 30 - MetalForming November 2022
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  Fabrication: Robots and Cobots
Cost Savings
Many companies begin an automa- tion project intending to reduce costs and increase savings by minimizing the time employees spend on dull, dan- gerous and dirty tasks. These savings arise in the form of improved efficien- cies, higher throughput, reduced risk of injuries and less absenteeism due to fatigue or boredom. Manufacturers investing in automation and robotics can achieve much higher efficiency rates, and at the same time create a better work environment that inspires employees to be more productive.
Common Solutions
Manufacturers with similar process- es at multiple locations should look to common automation approaches for achieving a higher ROI. Once the indi- vidual pilot system completes and operates successfully, it’s then stan- dardized to achieve a broader-scale solution. In simplistic terms, this copy- and-paste concept allows a manufac- turer to employ the same automation solution in other areas that perform the same or similar processes. Doing so provides an impressive benefit for large or complex organizations, enabling realization of exponential automation ROI. In addition, common solutions ease upskilling of the work- force, reduce spare-parts inventories and speed deployment as compared to customized systems.
Improved Quality and Employee Satisfaction
Well-designed, fully programmed automated systems typically do not make mistakes. A robot performing a specific task presents no risk of human error. Moving the operator to the skilled position of managing the robotic work- cell rather than performing the task helps improve quality, consistency and reliability.
In addition, the jobs employees enjoy least generally include those most suitable for automation. As mentioned, employees relieved from performing undesirable tasks can focus on more rewarding jobs that require human
skills. Robotic automation truly trans- forms the jobs of employees who can shift from transferring, handling or packing products to managing the robots and other automation that per- form these tasks.
Enhanced Process Insights
As part of Industry 4.0, a key advan- tage today is the ability to monitor and record the jobs performed by an auto- mated system. Process audits of the data collected from a robot or other automation equipment are key drivers toward transformational change. Com- panies with access to critical data make continuous improvements, reduce costs and stay competitive.
Develop a Center of Excellence
Implementing a well-designed method to manage a manufacturer’s automation systems provides signifi- cant benefits and helps reduce risks. How? The leading approach today: cre- ating an automation center of excel-
lence (CoE) that becomes a guide for the manufacturer’s automation jour- ney. The CoE uses data to help build a common structure and process for all automation projects, from selecting the right automation partner to how the system is designed and deployed. The CoE also can manage identification of a new automation project and ensure a quality and structured process. All of this results in standard- ized and defined processes that include built-in control checks to help improve compliance, demonstrate capability and produce documentation to sup- port a variety of uses.
In the end, demonstrating how automation will help reduce costs cer- tainly appeals to a manufacturer’s deci- sion makers. However, showing how automation can drive value and enable true transformational change will deliver the funding and support you need. MF
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