As more companies struggle to maintain a competitive edge, robotic automation provides a key advantage for your manufacturing productivity. In the grand scheme of things, deciding to implement automation will most likely be the easy part. Deciding on the who, what, where, when and why is the difficult part. Here are some tips to help you through the decision-making process.
- Why automate? To improve throughput, reduce costs or improve quality.
- What and where? What application do you plan to automate? Chances are there is a robot built specifically for your application.
- Who will you select as an integrator? Using one company maintains consistency within your organization. In many instances, smaller integrators will prove beneficial to your project, particularly in niche or specialty applications.
- Who on the shop floor is responsible for your new automation? Get the end user involved from the beginning.
- When is the best time to invest? The best time to invest was 20 years ago; the second best time is NOW. There are many government programs and other manufacturing incentives available today.
There are also tax incentives for purchasing capital equipment. Even power companies may offer incentives for purchasing equipment with better power efficiency.
Currently global competition is extremely aggressive and more companies are adopting robotic automation to reduce capital costs, improve quality and increase manufacturing flexibility. For industries in North America struggling to remain viable, the benefits of robotic automation can help improve their competitive position, and prevent them from moving offshore or closing altogether.
Whether small or large, a company’s goal should be to try their first robot. When they use the robot, they will realize increased productivity, better quality, and lower costs—all keys to staying competitive and profitable.
—Excerpted from “Save Your Factory with Automation—Automate Now,” from FANUC Innovations newsletter, 2009.