Not so long ago, companies were able to make standardized products that could easily satisfy the consistent and predictable demands of the market. There was no complication to supply chains, and the usual was enough to guarantee the efficiency and quality needed by clients.
But in today’s interconnected world with picky customers, businesses need to boost their productivity and reduce their turnaround times to meet increasingly tighter deadlines. Once you add new competitors to the game, it’s easy to see why automation, particularly industrial automation, has become an obvious must.
While some may be concerned about the scale of its influence, industrial automation helps businesses address issues regarding customization, quality, after-sale service, delivery, and support.
Despite such benefits, some companies may be on the fence about using such a tool. If you’re among those companies, keep on reading this article because we’re about to talk about industrial automation in manufacturing and its current state alongside a number of its benefits.
Industrial Automation in Manufacturing
As companies deploy intelligent machines and control systems to enable their equipment to operate independently, human intervention is minimized, and speed, precision, and consistency are improved. That’s the gist of industrial automation in manufacturing.
This tool has multiple elements/aspects such as mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, etc., each addressing specific needs of an operation. It’s also integrated into today’s modern factories, ships, and planes. We’ll discuss its advantages later in this article, but first, let’s delve into how businesses are adopting it.
While the “lights-out dream” where robots perform everything is still in the realm of science fiction, deploying industrial automation in manufacturing has moved the needle to a significant degree. Today, large factories, especially car assembly lines, have empowered robots to take over a considerable portion of their repetitive and high-precision tasks.
However, despite such progress, these systems still require human agent supervision for optimal efficiency in small/medium operations. Of course, considering how advanced software technology has become, computers now play a vital role in automating, optimizing, and integrating all elements of the manufacturing process.
5 Benefits of Industrial Automation in Manufacturing
There’s almost no limit to how automation can improve a manufacturing process. However, for the sake of brevity, we’ll just focus on five core benefits of industrial automation in manufacturing.
1. Lowering Expenses
As with any solution in business, driving down costs is the primary objective. Obviously, utilizing automation will reduce the need for a floor full of workers, bringing down all expenses associated with the staff. With just several supervisors, your budget will mostly be spent on maintenance and repairs.
Automation solutions boost productivity, quality, and performance by providing insights and information and help with correct decision-making, reducing operating expenses. Utilizing the obtained data will enhance the performance and life cycle of the equipment, which will curtail capital expenses.
2. Boosting Productivity
All workstations in the automated manufacturing process are connected to one another through transfer lines. Process automation can mimic many worker actions. The system can be set up to log in to apps and perform all administrative tasks during the process. You can also use automated solutions to handle raw materials, maintain equipment, operating systems, and other critical duties.
For instance, in an automobile manufacturing line, every component is shaped in a different workstation. In the end, all parts are put together by a robot to build the automobile. Minimizing human interaction in all of these tasks can significantly speed up the process and achieve more in less time.
3. Enhancing Accuracy
One of the most obvious benefits of industrial automation in manufacturing is maintaining and improving output quality. The error rate within a manual process usually ranges from 1 to 1.15%. However, via utilizing automated systems, the rate can drop to as low as 0.00001%! Thanks to adaptive controlling and monitoring, every step of the process is monitored to lower the margin of error.
4. Maximum Safety
Despite new safety regulations and protocols proposed every year, the safety of workers remains a chief concern for manufacturers. Using automation for material loading/unloading or transferring heavy pieces of machinery will considerably lessen the risk of factory floor accidents. In addition, thanks to thermal sensors, the workforce doesn’t need to continuously work close to assembly lines, and they can continue operating under optimal temperatures.
As sensors can identify irregularities and send alert signals, they effectively save lives during emergency events. In non-emergency cases, all personnel on the floor can take proper precautions to remain safe and secure.
5. Improving Satisfaction & Value Creation
Computers, robots, and machines are less prone to their surroundings; they can all deliver higher consistency and steadiness than human workers. They also allow for optimal production rate control and quality improvement where and when needed. Their flexibility enables reconfiguration to suit a new product or operation in a short period.
In a traditional manufacturing process, it would take days or even weeks for employees to receive the requisite training and adjustment to new items, creating delays or quality issues. However, an automated solution can be ready and operational after just a few trials.
As employees are freed from repetitive tasks, they can use their time and skills to focus on areas to add real value. They can work on R&D processes while improving the speed and quality of the output. In addition, they don’t need to work overtime, significantly enhancing their job satisfaction.
As ever more options emerge in the market and customers become increasingly harder to satisfy, hardly anyone can deny that automation is necessary to survive in business. In this guide, we provided a thumbnail sketch of the benefits of industrial automation in manufacturing.
Of course, realizing these benefits requires choosing a reliable industrial automation service from a wide range of options on the market. The perfect solution is the one with enough flexibility to address your particular needs, whether they relate to delivery tracking, quality check, data integration, predictive maintenance, or any other aspect specific to your operation.
Fortunately, at IMTS Global, we can provide all of that and more to take a massive burden off your shoulders and allow you to laser focus on the core aspects of your business. Therefore, don’t hesitate a moment longer because our team is ready and waiting for you to contact us.