For medium and small sized manufacturers who must automate using industrial robots, fear is a common reaction but the best way to stay competitive. To meet the needs of their customers, more and more manufacturers are finding themselves needing to automate using industrial robots. It is a do-or-die type of situation. At first, employees find the idea of automating with robots to be dangerous not only for their health but also position in the company since they believe robotic automation results in staff layoffs.
Therefore, the initial thought is always, ‘I am going to lose my job’. However, companies are capable of adding robotics without having to layoff any human staff. While some positions may be come extinct, new roles are going to emerge thanks to automation.
How a small industrial robotcan be cost effective
Industrial robots are not only effective to specific applications but also be quite costly. Depending on its application and whether the machine is bought new or used, the price ranges anywhere between $25,000 to $700,000. Keep in mind that this estimate does not include integration or maintenance fee. When compared to offshoring, this price is a bit steep especially since you can get inexpensive human labor from overseas.
If you are looking to quickly cover a lot of ground in your industry, offshoring may seem like an attractive idea. However, keep in mind that this plan is not a miracle solution. As a manufacturer, you are subject to product losses, transportation costs and delays. For instance, if the ship ferrying cargo was to lose your container at sea, you will not only lose the product but also money.
In addition to all these, quality problems as a result of corner-cutting and use of cheap materials can be common when offshoring. When you consider this, a small industrial robot is capable of attaining its cost effectiveness through the benefits it offers medium to small manufacturers over human labor. Additionally, these machines do not need to rest, if they are maintained correctly,they don’t make mistakes and they also never lose focus.
Since small industrial robots can run 24/7 without maintenance or special supervision, over time this will offset the initial amount you used as investment and in turn get robotic solutions for a number of your manufacturing processes.
By using a small industrial robot for your manufacturing processes, you will be able to stay close to your consumer base thus reducing costs. When you have no need to offshore, transporting material parts and products between manufacturers, suppliers and customers will be easier.With increased speed, your company will be able to produce greater volume as well as quickly respond to the demands of your customers.
Thanks to advancement in robotic technology, adaptable programming allows you to multipurpose your small industrial robot to cater to different applications on the same production line. Automation using industrial robots not only increases efficiency but also reduces the costs of manufacturing.
Planning a head of investment
If you are thinking of automating your manufacturing process, you need to plan ahead and have a ‘buyer beware’ attitude. To enjoy great financial return, carefully assess which of your manufacturing processes need immediate automation and would reduce production costs the most. Since industrial robots are not inexpensive, you must be keen on getting returns on your investment. Therefore, go into it with eyes open.
Common application of industrial robots
You can save labor by using an industrial robot to automate almost anything. With its repeatability and high precision functions here are some of the most common applications:
- Pick and place
- High precision
- Machine tool loading and unloading
- Inspection and measurement
- Part assembly
- Material removal
- Part transfer
In these roles and more, industrial robots are keeping humans away from exhausting and dangerous tasks that may involve extreme levels of concentration, heavy lifting and environments that deal with constant noise, dust and heat.