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Some Considerations for New Automation

Some Considerations for New Automation

Today’s landscape for industrial manufacturers is evolving rapidly.  As domestic and global demand for goods increases it is becoming increasingly difficult for small and medium sized manufacturers to meet production, quality, and profit goals.  The world population is growing faster than ever.  Consumer demand is increasing.  A global marketplace gives industrial customers near limitless sourcing options.  Due to an aging workforce getting closer to retirement coupled with the fact that younger people are increasingly not interested in working in the manufacturing sector the pool of qualified workers in the US continues to shrink.  What is a company to do?  Some companies may be considering automated solutions to help solve these challenges but where do they start?  In this post we’ll explore some considerations that should be taken into account when considering whether or not to automate a process.

The design of the product itself is probably the biggest factor in determining if automated production is worth pursuing.  The product should be designed with appropriate form, tolerances, and assembly steps to allow automatic processing and handling in the first place.  A part that cannot be quickly and accurately positioned is a part that will be difficult process automatically.

What family of parts will be produced on the line/machine?  Consideration should be given to what different products will be produced so that line changeover is minimized, and when necessary, simple and mistake proof.  If setups are not mistake proof and quick throughput goals can be difficult to achieve with small production runs.

What are the throughput and quality requirements required of the system?  In some cases these two sides of the production coin can be at odds with one another.  A detailed understanding of how quality requirements will have an effect on the system should be sought out when developing the scope of the automation project.

Phoenix Manufacturing is prepared to help you navigate these issues today.

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