Machine Shop: Importance of Automation
What is automation? According to a dictionary, automation is the “use of largely automatic equipment in a system of manufacturing or other production processes”. In simple terms, automation is the use of machines or equipment that runs by itself with or without human interference. Automation is known to be a major contributor to the productivity of a business. In fact, automation’s main application is to increase productivity. So, how does automation help the machine shop industry? For the best automation solutions for your business, visit IntelLiDrives
Automation Increases Production Rate
Machine shops are known to contain huge types of machinery that are used to manipulate raw materials and transform them into a finished product that is designed for a specific purpose. Machine shops generally create parts or components that form a much complex product. Typically, machine shops cater to the automotive industry, shipbuilding industry, engine building industry, aircraft industry, etc. These industries are huge industries that require a constant supply of parts and components for their products. To keep up with the demand, machine shops around the globe opt for the adoption of automation.
Automation has enabled machine shops to gain higher outputs. With the use of computers, robotics, artificial intelligence, and Computer Numerical Control or CNC, the amount of time needed to finish a certain number of finished products has been greatly reduced. Generally, automation made it possible for a job that requires hours to finish be completed in just minutes. Robotics can move faster than a human laborer. Additionally, robots are not subject to exhaustion. Humans go slow as they get tired – robots don’t.
Automation in machine shops also enabled the industry to extend work by doing overnight runs without the supervision of humans. This adds to the productivity of the shop by enabling “lights-out” production.
Automation Use Materials Efficiently
Through the use of artificial intelligence and computers, machine shops were able to use data collection to help them improve the efficiency of using raw materials. 3D imaging helped design, build, and test a product without actually using materials. This is made possible through digital prototyping. Computers can analyze a design and build a digital prototype and perform real-life simulation for the product. A product will be perfectly tested even before the actual manufacturing process.
Humans are subject to inconsistencies and committing errors. Fatigue may cause them to use raw materials inefficiently. For example, a piece of metal needs to be cut in a specific length and the machinist is too tired to notice that the metal was cut too short. This would cause the raw material to go to waste.
Automation Maintains Product Quality
Robotics will do its specific job as programmed. It cannot commit errors unless a glitch happens to the computer. Robotics will create products of exactly the same size, color, and shape following what it is programmed to do.
Automation Eliminates Workplace Hazards
Machine shop operators are conscious of the safety of the workers. Accidents are unavoidable and machine shops can be a dangerous place to work in. Cutting tools, drilling tools, welding machines, and bending machines can cause serious injuries to people if not used properly. Robotic arms replace humans in doing such hazardous jobs in a machine shop.
Automation Shortens Workweek for Labor
As machines can do work at a faster rate, filling up the orders would take a shorter time. This helps in lowering the cost of production as there is no need to extend human working hours but instead shortens the workweek. This capability has also reduced factory lead times.
Automation has made a great deal of improving the way machine shops do business. The increasing demand for high production due to globalization was satisfied by the capabilities of automation. Indeed, the automation of machine shops has proven its worth. Technology did a great job of giving solutions to many problems in the manufacturing industry.
Automation Increases Profits
Automation is a wise investment for machine shops. High production rate, materials efficiency, consistency in product quality, a safer workplace, and shortened work week for labor are all benefits of adopting automation in machine shops. Combining all these makes a machine shop highly competitive (globally). Most of all, these benefits all boil down into one positive result – an increase in profits. Profit is one of the significant reasons why people engage in business. Automation has made an impressive development in the business of manufacturing. With the continuous advancement in technology, automation will someday evolve in a more powerful application to not just the manufacturing industry but to all other sectors.