Automation has been around for a long time; we are accustomed to robots building cars and carrying out other industrial tasks. But increasingly, it’s creeping into more and more areas as technology becomes more affordable and efficient.
Also as processes become more complex and demanding, it may be that automation is the only way to carry them out effectively and with a consistent level of quality. So, what benefits does automation bring to a manufacturing business?
Better product quality
By reducing manual intervention, automation not only improves the speed of production, but it also leads to better quality. The items produced are more uniform and this means fewer defects and rejections at the quality control stage and when the product reaches the end user. For the business, this means less waste and fewer warranty claims which also means lower costs at the end of the day.
Reduced lead times
Another advantage of automated processes is that it’s far easier to gear up for new production runs. If you’ve produced something once then it’s easy to programme in a production batch and that means faster delivery to the customer, giving you as a manufacturer a competitive edge and making you better able to respond to demand.
Untouched by human hand
Some processes can only be handled by machine. Applying a Thermal Plasma Spray, for example, can be carried out much more evenly and accurately via an automated process. This also means there’s less hazard for the operator. As well as thermal plasma spray there are other areas where, because of miniaturisation or complexity, only automation can be used to carry out a task that would be impossible for humans to complete.
Can you afford not to?
Of course, any automation project comes at a cost. But there’s another side to the coin, which is that not automating has costs associated with it too. Some of these may not be immediately visible but anything that slows you down and makes you less efficient will harm the business and put you at a disadvantage versus the competition.
There are numerous benefits to automation, these include improved quality which further down the line means improved customer satisfaction and thus the likelihood of more repeat business. This enhanced the image of the business too, which again could mean a boost in sales.