Do I need industrial automation for my Metalworking production?
Automation in manufacturing means taking regular tasks and designing control systems that perform them in a fully automatic way, enhancing workers’ jobs. Automation in manufacturing is divided into different types, where each of them covers the delivery of a specific task. However, we can branch automation into two main categories: software and machinery automation.
Software automation covers the virtual part of task handling, while the physical part is made through machinery upgrade. When deciding whether to invest in automation for your business, you should firstly consider the area of automation needed for your plant. If your factory is experiencing a management bottleneck, you need software automation, programs that help with data gathering, better assessment and communication issues.
On the other hand, if your problems generate from the production sector, shop floor level industrial automation is the solution.
Industrial automation is a critical factor in manufacturing companies’ health for the next decade. Automation of any kind helps companies remain competitive in a global economy, so the question is not whether it is necessary or not, but:
- To what extent do I need industrial automation?
- How to incorporate it into my production?
You may think that dealing with an investment like this is out of your budget or field of knowledge. But you don’t have to be alone in this process. Working with the right provider, who has experience working with a variety of manufacturing facilities, can ultimately help in the success of your business.
Levels of industrial automation
To better understand the automated production systems, let’s classify them according to their productivity rates, a significant trigger in scaling a business.
It is a system in which the sequence of processing operations is fixed to perform only one set of operations with high levels of efficiency. These systems are great for differentiated tasks, which they can execute in record time. An example of this is a CNC Profiling system, removing several manual tasks and providing scalable automation.
These automated production systems deliver differentiated products but in low or medium volume. For every product, the system must be reprogrammed with another set of machine instructions and a new physical setup. This changeover procedure takes time, resulting in elongated production cycles. An example of programmed automation is an industrial robot.
It is an extension of programmable automation that can produce a variety of products with no downtime on changeovers from one product to the next. The system can produce various combinations and schedules of products simultaneously. Flexible automation offers continuous production of variable mixtures of products with medium volume and variety.
In conclusion, some level of industrial automation is essential to survive in today’s competitive world. Through our many conversations with metalworking fabricators and manufacturers, we find there is a willingness and understanding of the need to automate but it is not always easy to know what is available and therefore the right solution.
We would love to talk to you about this subject of automation and look at your specific processes. If you would value this, please drop me a DM and I will be in touch.