The trend towards automation is continuously progressing. With the advent of the pandemic, safety concerns have made automation in manufacturing even more important. Manufacturing companies are now looking to automate their processes to enhance safety and improve productivity in the workplace.
There are various ways in which automation trends are reshaping the way the manufacturing industry works. Here, we’ll take a look at some ways in which automation is improving manufacturing. From increasing efficiency to ensuring consistent quality and keeping the work environment safe, here’s everything you need to know.
- Increase in Efficiency
One of the most obvious benefits of using automation in manufacturing is the increase of efficiency in the manufacturing facility. By using systems and automation technologies in the manufacturing process, there will be a significant improvement in the process, which will ultimately improve the overall efficiency.
In one report, it was found that using automation on a macroeconomic scale could increase the global GDP of manufacturing to about 0.8% to 1.4% per year. These figures might seem small, but the overall impact on the economy is substantial. Along with increased productivity, automation can also provide the following benefits:
- Savings on labor cost
- Improved safety
- Better Quality
- Overall efficiency
These days, a lot of manufacturing companies have to deal with substantial losses in production due to human error and unwieldy procedures. By applying automation, companies will enjoy a significant increase in efficiency that could translate to millions of dollars in increased revenue.
There are many ways in which automation can be applied in manufacturing. It can be as simple as automating a single step in the entire manufacturing process. A robotic arm can be used to accomplish some tasks. Since robots work faster than humans, there will be a significant increase in efficiency in the entire manufacturing process.
One way to ensure the best possible efficiency when moving into a computer-operated system in a manufacturing facility is to ensure that the systems are designed with each one in mind. Designing the system one at a time and hoping that it will operate cohesively can result in a larger opportunity for error.
- More Consistent Quality of Product
By applying automatic processes, the manufacturing facility will only need to maintain as little variation as possible over a large scale, thereby increasing the overall product quality. Using automation means there will be less room for human error. As such, there will be more consistency in uniformity. Such standard, if replicated efficiently, could increase the overall quality of the products being manufactured.
Improving product quality should be a top priority in the manufacturing industry. Producing poor-quality products will impact the company’s reputation negatively. By using robots in manufacture, there will be an increased quality and production. Robots are precise and accurate and this will have a positive impact on the overall manufacturing quality.
Robots can be used to automate repetitive tasks, which minimizes the risk of human error, considered to be the biggest contributor to poor product quality. Compared to robots, humans cannot produce a high level of repeatability, which is why there’s always a risk for error. It’s natural for humans to lose focus when performing certain tasks and suffer from injury, muscle fatigue, and other issues that could compromise product quality. Robots will not suffer from fatigue and won’t lose focus, which prevents part deviation from happening. As such, the overall product integrity cannot be compromised.
Robots with advanced vision can be used for inspecting parts to ensure reliable quality control. By utilizing a consistent and reliable inspection process, product safety and quality will be maintained, especially in industries like aerospace and automotive. Robots are able to detect flaws that would otherwise go unnoticed when done manually, thanks to the microscopic capabilities of robotic vision. These machines follow the same inspection guidelines for every part, which ensures no items will be missed. Defective parts can be immediately removed from production to prevent them from reaching consumers that could negatively impact the manufacturer’s reputation.
- Safer Working Environment
Risk management is an important factor when it comes to using automated systems. Automation allows for an opportunity to minimize the risk of human error in the production line. Since the risk associated with human errors will be decreased, the safety of the manufacturing process will be enhanced.
Applying automation in the manufacturing facility can also minimize fall hazards for the workers. Robots maintained by engineering experts in the automation and control industry can reach items that are too high for a worker to reach. These machines can also eliminate the need for workers to operate aerial lift equipment, which poses some hazards.
The emergence of the pandemic has greatly changed the way companies manage the workspace. This is especially true in the manufacturing environment where workers are required to follow social distancing measures and sanitation. Integrating robotics in manufacturing will allow for the safe and easy implementation of these policies while minimizing the risk for humans. Another way in which robots can make the workplace safer is by minimizing injuries associated with lifting heavy objects. Robots can be programmed to carry or lift heavy objects, which leads to fewer back injuries for the workers. This can also result in significant savings for the employer in health insurance and compensation costs.
Yet another advantage of using robotics in manufacturing is that they are well capable of working for an extended period without even having to take a break. This will not be possible for their human counterparts, which have the tendency to get tired easily, and would require occasional breaks. Studies show that employees will face a greater risk of injury if they are tired and are left to work long hours with no break. They are also prone to injuries at a certain time during the day, such as before or after taking their break. But with robots, their performance will not decline even if they work long hours with no break. Using these machines can effectively minimize the number of injuries in the workplace that are often due to fatigue.