In a number of today’s markets for consumer packaged goods, particularly food, beverages and other consumables, businesses are increasingly leveraging the advantages of automation to optimize their packaging lines and maximize profitability. Essentially, any production operation that involves placing a product into a form of packaging—from bottles, sleeves and containers to cardboard cases and skids—has the potential to reap benefits from integrating automation.
There’s no shortage of options and technologies available for manufacturing companies to automate their assembly process. After all, automation has become a cornerstone of efficient, safe, and cost-effective production operations across a wide range of production industries and locations. For many organizations, the question is not whether the automation capabilities exist, but rather whether those assembly line solutions are uniquely suited to meet their underlying business objectives.
When it comes to leveraging robotic applications to enhance automated operations, the automotive industry is arguably the most advanced and mature in the field. And because accessibility to smart robotic applications and programming is greater than ever before, automotive production and assembly lines are now achieving the highest levels of quality and efficiency. On the assembly side alone, you’re apt to see one or two workers overseeing upwards of 80 functioning robots.
Advances in factory automation over the last several decades have been nothing short of extraordinary. From greater efficiencies and higher standards of safety to customization and quality improvements, inspiration and innovation have brought about fresh capabilities for players across the manufacturing industry. Even so, there’s much more to be explored in terms of advancing factory automation. As new technologies emerge, it’s both important and exciting to stay informed about the latest forward movements.
When Hanna-Barbera first brought The Jetsons to American television screens in the early 1960s, their characterizations of a futuristic world were mere projections of the imagination. In many ways, though, this series foretold some of our society’s most technologically driven advancements. And while the manufacturing industry isn’t quite the snapshot of automation portrayed by the likes of Spacely Sprockets, it isn’t all too far-fetched from this depiction of automation either.
In fact, automation is driving the future of manufacturing in ways we might not have even thought possible just a few short decades ago. From machine-operated production lines to multi-function collaborative robots, there’s been major transformation across the industry, compelled largely by the undeniable advantages and forward movement of automation.
A shift in manufacturing continues to unfold as a result of COVID-19, and many companies are turning to robotics as a solution for providing safe workspaces and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The benefits of robotics to manufacturing facilities are far-reaching, even beyond COVID. Minimizing the risk to employees during the current pandemic is critical, but there are several other safety concerns that robots in manufacturing address. Increased flexibility, reliability, productivity, and cost savings are all also compelling advantages of leveraging robotics in manufacturing.
Manufacturers everywhere are challenged to adopt contemporary business approaches in order to produce more quickly, with greater precision, and for less cost to the organization. Regardless of industry sector or size, manufacturers are driven to consider an array of automation solutions—ones that might have previously been completely unimaginable—as a way to meet evolving needs and stay competitive in the market.
As manufacturing automation becomes less of a commodity and more of a necessity, a host of significant trends are emerging. So, what’s on the horizon for automation in manufacturing, and in what directions are organizations apt to find themselves moving as a result?
Check out these four notable trends impacting manufacturing automation.
As consumers evolve, so do their expectations for manufactured goods. This evolution—among other factors—has compelled significant change in the way manufacturers operate. Today, everything from consumer demand and market challenges to production efficiency and regulatory requirements impacts the management of your manufacturing systems.
Fortunately, the power of technology has answered this call with advanced automation options. But even as manufacturing companies embrace modernized approaches, many struggle to make the transition a successful and profitable one. If you’re planning an integration of automated manufacturing systems at your organization, leverage this critical list of expert dos and don’ts to formulate a smart path forward.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimates that just three years ago, there were approximately 2.1 million stand-alone industrial robots installed worldwide, with the largest applications including manufacturing operations such as machine tending, welding, soldering, and assembling materials. In addition, analysts have predicted strong future growth of collaborative robots throughout 2020 and beyond.
There’s a host of reasons why forward-thinking, growth-driven organizations have been integrating automation and robotics within their manufacturing operations, not the least of which is the capacity to significantly reduce human errors that eat away at a company’s bottom line.
The historical realities of the manufacturing industry paint a vivid picture of assembly line workers moving products in rote cadence. Many of us conjure images of nondescript factory employees in identical hard hats and protective gear manually turning the metaphorical cogs that keep a giant production wheel in continuous motion.
Over the last several decades, however, the evolution of manufacturing automation has transformed once difficult, slow, and hazardous production tasks into remarkably safer and more productive ones. Even so, many organizations still cling to traditional (and often outdated) methods throughout their daily operations.