Automation is The Future of Manufacturing Industry
In order to reduce costs, boost productivity, and improve product quality and worker safety, various forms of automation are being embraced by manufacturing companies of all sizes. From large manufacturing plants that are nearly 100% automated to SMEs looking to improve a few parts of production lines, automation is shaping the manufacturing industry in an unprecedented way.
Automation in Manufacturing Factories
Industrial automation refers to the implementation of automated machines or robots in production lines with the least intervention of human workers. Normally, mechanization is applied in tasks that require high speed, endurance and accuracy. Industrial automation includes a variety of mechanisms, ranging from mechanical, electrical, technical, to hydraulic, pneumatic, and computers.
Automation, in general, can be divided into two types. First, fixed automation is defined as “an automated production facility in which the sequence of processing operations is fixed by the equipment configuration”. The programs are not easily modified and must be replaced if there are new orders to be completed; therefore, this kind of automation is only suitable for mass-produced items. To overcome this limitation, programmable/ flexible automation was introduced. Programmable/ flexible automation was introduced to address this constraint. After a batch of one form is completed, programmable logic controller (PLC) enables reprogramming for various tasks, leading to greater flexibility to meet the demands for product variation.
Notable applications of automation
With the ever-growing demand for electronic devices such as televisions, smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets, manufacturers are increasingly depending on automation systems. For example, by 2020, Foxconn aims to completely automate 30% of the output of its production. The high accuracy and reduced errors of robots compared to human workers are what electronics businesses benefit the most from.
Over the last decades, automobile industry giants, like Toyota and Tesla, have been at the forefront of automation. In order to satisfy the growing demand for vehicles and maintain the leading positions, new robot systems with more flexibility have been heavily invested into and put into operation.
Food & Beverage
What can businesses in Food & Beverage do to deal with the increasing demands of consumers for product variation, quality control, and food hygiene? Automation solutions might be the answer. With robots, products are standardized in terms of texture, taste, flavor, and color. Errors in measurement, mixing, as well as packaging process will also be significantly reduced. As a result, fewer substandard items end up in the marketplace.
Advantages of implementing robots in manufacturing factories
Implementing robots effectively can boost overall productivity
In the early 21st century, advanced automation technologies helped large manufacturers increase their productivity significantly by 300% and SMEs achieve 200% gains in productivity, according to Automation World (2020). When robots and automation systems are deployed in businesses effectively, they do not replace jobs.
Contrary to common belief, instead of turning into a wholly automated world, it is more likely that we will enter a future where people work alongside robots. The International Federation of Robotics states that less than 10% of jobs can be completely automated. Robots simply remove repetitive activities that were once part of certain jobs, freeing up human workers’ valuable time to focus on higher-level tasks.
Less waste of materials comes with more consistent quality of products
Despite the claims of high quality from good workmanship by humans, automated systems typically perform the manufacturing process with less variability than human workers, leading to greater control and consistency of product quality. Plus, increased process control makes more efficient use of materials, which means less scrap.
Safer working environment for employees
Worker safety is a decisive factor in automating an industrial operation. Automated systems normally displace workers from the workplace, thus safeguarding them against the hazards of the factory environment. Removing human employees from dangerous environments or repetitive jobs, and letting them concentrate on more sophisticated tasks could be a win-win for both parties. In other words, using robots to fill these roles can save a business both time and money, which could be better allocated to training their workers for higher-skilled jobs.
How to automate?
First of all, deciding their customer mission is of great significance. Automation is not applied for the profit of the company only, but also for the benefit of customers. Having customer insights helps leaders decide how to implement automation in a way that supports their operations.
Second, to ensure the effectiveness of automation in your workflows, it is highly recommended that the strengths and weaknesses of your company be analyzed. Without being aware of what your business is trying to improve, you risk losing the full benefits of your investment.
Last but not least, companies also need to consider their employees and how best to support them for collaboration with robots. Providing employees with a training plan before launching automation solutions will help reduce learning curves and improve the acceptance of automation in the working environment.
To avoid suffering from losses because of a poorly designed automation system, it is greatly important to find the most suitable automation model for your production line. To get the best return on your investment, have an expert as your advisor. Autotech Services & Technical Solutions Jsc., also called ATTS, proudly to be one of the first and few companies in Vietnam to provide automation services & technical solutions for both local and international manufacturers & investors. Let us take care of your automated process.