The manufacturing industry is one of the top industries in the world. It accounts for billions of dollars per year in economic activity.
What makes manufacturing such a vital industry? It’s intrinsically linked to numerous sectors of our economy. Most businesses source their parts from hardworking manufacturers. Without them, these businesses wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be able to operate on a large scale.
At the same time, manufacturers wouldn’t exist without businesses using their services. Most manufacturers are small companies themselves, and competition between manufacturing businesses is high, especially in this fast-paced and global world.
How can manufacturing companies stay competitive? There are a couple of ways, but automation is a huge one. What are the benefits of automation in manufacturing, you might wonder?
Automation helps manufacturers lower costs and boost productivity, product quality, and other factors that encourage business growth and improve overall profitability and success. Let’s examine how automation helps manufacturing businesses keep up with demand and stay competitive.
Human workers can’t work nonstop. They need rest and sleep to function at their best, which is why most businesses limit work hours to eight hours a day and provide workers with two days off per week to relax and recuperate.
But machines don’t need breaks, except for the occasional downtime for maintenance. This means you can leave your robots running at a constant speed, (mostly) unattended, 24 hours a day and 365 days per year. This is incredibly significant.
Automation can dramatically increase an operation’s rate of production, allowing manufacturers to easily keep up with current demand and ultimately take on a much larger workload, which translates into more clients and greater profit.
Lower Operating Costs
Robots are built to handle complex processes in lieu of humans. And they’re remarkably good at it! Did you know that one robot can perform the equivalent of three to five people’s worth of labor, depending on the specific task being performed?
This means you can cut labor to save money. Alternatively, you can repurpose labor and delegate your human workers to strategic, complicated tasks that machines aren’t equipped to handle. This allows you to focus less on menial tasks and focus more on things that can help improve and grow your business.
Robots are also a lot more accurate than humans, which means fewer mistakes and, consequently, less waste.
And while it might seem like keeping robots up and running takes a lot of energy and other resources, automation can actually reduce a facility’s energy consumption.
Automated operations use resources such as heat and energy more effectively. These lower energy requirements directly translate into reduced energy expenses. This makes automation a great way for companies to not only reduce costs, but to lower their environmental footprint and do their part to keep our planet healthy.
Improved Worker Safety
Manufacturing typically involves performing strenuous manual labor and working around dangerous chemicals or in hazardous temperatures. It’s no wonder people regard it as one of the most treacherous industries in which to work!
Close to one million workplace injuries occur in the manufacturing industry per year, making up a whopping 14 percent of the seven million workplace injuries that occur every year. The manufacturing industry has an injury and illness rate of 6.6 cases per 100 workers compared to the 2.8 cases per 100 workers that’s standard in other industries.
Automation can help reduce the incidence of workplace injuries by transferring the most arduous and perilous tasks over to machines. Machines, unlike humans, don’t feel pain or discomfort. And while they do require occasional maintenance, they don’t need to take sick days or visit the hospital when they’re feeling down or out of sorts.
While most machines do require an operator, safety screens and other safety features are in place to keep workers away from any potential hazards.
Better Product Quality
Automation improves the consistency of product quality because robots complete tasks with extreme precision. Since they can perform automated tasks to the same specifications each and every time, they produce all products with roughly the same quality. This can save your manufacturing business time and money by keeping waste and rework to a minimum.
Reduced Lead Time
Customers want to receive their products in a timely manner. Delays can lead to unhappy customers and substantial monetary losses.
Using robots can reduce lead time and ensure customers receive their orders on time by streamlining and shortening processes that workers previously accomplished manually. A shorter lead time translates into higher productivity and more satisfied customers, both of which are extremely beneficial to a company’s bottom line.
Another one of the benefits of automation in manufacturing is a speedy return on your investment. Automating your facility takes time and money, but if you have room in the budget, it’s worth it to take the plunge.
Automation offers an impressively fast return on investment (ROI) due to the lower operating costs, higher productivity, increased output, and numerous other factors associated with the implementation of high-tech machinery and systems.
This means you’ll make back the money you spend automating your facility in no time. In the long run, automation can save your business money and improve overall profits.
There are roughly 636,079 manufacturing businesses in the United States alone and an estimated ten million manufacturing businesses globally. That’s a lot of businesses with which your company needs to compete!
Most larger companies utilize automated machinery and systems, and so are a quickly growing number of smaller businesses. Automating your facilities will help you compete both locally and globally by improving the cost-per-piece and quality of your products and increasing the speed at which you can get orders out the door.
CSD is a group of industrial automation system integrators that’s committed to helping factories improve their productivity, speed, safety, and more so they can keep up with the competition. We offer everything from software development services to controls engineering services. Contact us today to learn more about our diverse services or to discuss a project opportunity!