Automation helps streamline processes, eliminate some or all human intervention, and reduce mistakes. It allows for completing a designated task efficiently, accurately, and consistently.
In the past, implementing a series of repetitive tasks involved hand drills and screw drivers. Today, by automating a manual process, manufacturers can boost productivity, reduce machine start-up times, and lower their life cycle costs. Because of an automated process's speed and flexibility, the time to market is decreased, while consistent quality is ensured.
Since many manufacturing processes will benefit from automation, the only question remaining is what companies need to consider as they plan to move to automation from a manual or semi-automated process.
Here are several things to bear in mind:
Look for Suitable Tasks to Automate
The first step before implementing automation is to scrutinize your current process. Be sure to work through this initial step with other project stakeholders and those operators and workers directly involved in the process.
By doing this, you can identify the areas that have bottlenecks, quality issues, repetitive tasks, ergonomics or safety challenges. These are often good candidates for automation and can have a large impact on the flow of work
Define Your Company's Goals
Next, you will want to define your business goals using your current manual process as the benchmark. Your objective might be to improve throughput or to reduce the cycle time on one process. You may want your employees to contend with less data entry and focus on production. Whatever your goals, you should be able to justify how automation will achieve them and how you will measure them.
Make sure the Automation Technology Fits Your Company
The idea is to implement a cost effective system, keeping it as simple as possible. The automation technology you choose should be straightforward, reliable, and relatively easy to maintain and repair. Ideally, the equipment will have built-in flexibility so that it will be possible to make upgrades and to use it for other applications in the future.
Train Your Workers
It is critical to the success of any automation implementation to involve the end-users from the start. Making them part of the decision-making process adds their ideas and makes them accountable. Giving them adequate training in new machine operation and maintenance will get them up to speed and provide a well-defined transition from the manual process to the automated system.
Measure Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to Make Improvements
With continuous monitoring of your automated process, you can identify bottlenecks and suggest areas for improvement. These assessments of your new automated system will help your workers become more efficient and your business more profitable.
Are You Looking to Transition Toward Automation?
Partner with the experts at Force Design to guide you in the right direction. With over 20 years of automation experience, we can find solutions for your unique business requirements. We are the specialists and are here to help, from robotic applications and weld fixture design to gages and testing equipment.
Connect with us by filling out our convenient contact form. Or give us a call at 937-473-3737Y