Top 7 Reasons We NEED Automation
As we continue development of our flagship product, (it’s going to be HUGE), we are simultaneously developing our manufacturing processes. The question that we continue to ask ourselves is, “what should be automated?” The answer that we keep coming up with: EVERYTHING. Or at least everything possible. It’s an issue that has lots of emotion and politics behind it, neither of which we are going to address in this blog post. What we WILL do is give you our top 7 reasons why we are going to automate. So here you go, in no particular order:
1. We Believe In The Reshoring Initiative.
It’s a movement to bring manufacturing jobs back to North America. It sounds counter-intuitive- we want to bring manufacturing jobs here, but then replace them with robots? Yes, in a way, and it’s automation that’s going to drive the return of manufacturing from China. While the point of automation is to replace a lot of the repetitive, basic tasks that were once performed by humans, there are still lots of humans involved in the periphery of the manufacturing process. You have supervisors to control and maintain the machines, supply chain coordinators, programmers, etc. If the manufacturing is here, those peripheral jobs are here too. For the first time since the industrial revolution, we are now able to justify manufacturing in North America again, because we can compete with the low costs of Chinese manufacturing. [This topic will be visited in more detail in a future blog post.]
2. Human Resources Are An Issue.
There isn’t a lot of interest in manufacturing jobs, and it’s difficult to hire qualified people to work in manufacturing. Younger people entering the workforce lack interest in the field, and older workers can be very expensive. The more robots we have involved in the process, the less HR issues we are going to have.
3. Robots Are More Efficient Than Humans.
The average machinist may work an 8-hour shift. Take away time for lunch, bathroom brakes, etc, it may only be 6.5 hours per day of actual work. Compare that to a machine that can operate for 24 hours a day. The efficiency and cost savings are enormous.
4. We Can Produce A More Consistent Product.
It’s a topic that keeps coming up in our blog posts, but that’s because it’s incredibly important. Every product must be the same, and must look and function the way we’ve told our customers. That’s a promise that we make to them, and any variation can damage the brand’s reputation.
5. Robots Rarely Make Mistakes, When Maintained Properly.
They are more precise than humans, and so can operate to much tighter tolerances, and they never lose focus. This makes the Quality Control process that much easier and reduces the number of errors or defective parts.
6. Safety, Safety, Safety.
Many of the tasks once performed by humans are now automated for safety reasons. As a society, our standards of workplace safety have changed drastically over the past 50 years, and for good reason. Robots can operate under conditions that would be dangerous to humans, such as environments with extreme heat, solvents, excessive noise, or dust.
7. We Can Use Our Space More Effectively.
By automating our processes with robots, we don’t have to worry about human ergonomics. Thinking in this way changes the footprint of our manufacturing space, and allows us to fit more and do more in a smaller space. Our manufacturing floor footprint can be reduced by as much as 50% with automation.
Automation is a necessity to be competitive in today’s landscape as a manufacturer, especially in North America. As we continue to build out our processes keep your eyes on the blog, we’ll be delving deeper in future posts.