Automation in manufacturing refers to the integration of automated machinery, tools, and control systems into production processes to fulfill certain tasks traditionally performed by humans. The benefits of automating can improve productivity, increase efficiency, enhance product quality, and provide a safer work environment.
Automation can be applied to various aspects of manufacturing, too, such as in assembly, sorting, production lines, packaging, and quality control. It can be used to streamline operations that lead to cost savings. By automating repetitive or dangerous tasks, manufacturers can create a safer work environment—one that allows human labor to focus on more highly skilled tasks and achieve production goals. Automation in manufacturing has much to offer companies. Let’s take a closer look:
The primary advantage of integrating automated manufacturing processes is to improve productivity. Many industries introduce advanced systems and technology to automate tasks and processes in production environments to improve their productivity. For example, automated manufacturing facilities offer faster and continuous operation without the risk of errors due to operator fatigue. Automated processes have a higher productivity rate per person on the manufacturing floor compared to mechanical processes, too. As tasks can be accomplished with precision and high repeatability, there are fewer errors in the production process. Higher productivity also decreases waste and reduces production costs, correspondingly enhancing productivity and increasing delivery times.
The high productivity capability that automation in manufacturing offers allows companies to achieve maximum efficiency. Automation not only streamlines production processes but allows for continuous production, minimizing downtime. Automated machinery can operate 24/7 if need be without stoppage, resulting in higher overall efficiency.
Enhanced Product Quality
Consistency is the key to enhanced product quality in manufacturing. Automated manufacturing processes consistently execute tasks with precision to produce high-quality products with minimal variations. That’s because, in automated manufacturing systems, the likelihood of human errors is substantially reduced by automated processes. This results in improved product consistency, a more reliable end product, and a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Automation removes the risks associated with repetitive or hazardous tasks that can pose risks to human workers. By automating such processes, manufacturers can improve workplace safety and reduce the number of accidents.
While the initial investment in automation technology can be substantial, the long-term cost savings and ROI are often significant. Automation helps manufacturers reduce production and operational costs linked to traditional production processes. Manual labor costs are reduced, material waste minimized, and resource utilization is enhanced, leading to improved profitability. As production processes are performed with increased efficiency at a greater output, far less lead time is required to process orders. But for routine system maintenance or updates, there is no production downtime either.
There is a common misconception that automation in manufacturing may cause widespread unemployment. In reality, the advancement of technologies tends to create jobs if only for the simple fact that wherever there are automated systems and processes in place people are needed to work alongside them in some capacity. Automation then creates opportunities for workers to acquire new skills related to the operation and maintenance of automated systems.
This can lead to the development of a highly skilled workforce capable of managing advanced manufacturing technologies. The 21st-century manufacturing workforce will require people with many diverse skills to integrate and manage interactive production lines and facility operations, from tooling and controls techs, system engineers, and logistics and operations teams to product technicians, CNC programmers, systems managers, computer techs and analysts, and more.
Contact the Automation Manufacturing Experts at EAM, Inc.
Engineered Automation of Maine, Inc., believes automation in manufacturing creates opportunities for companies that can positively impact and significantly enhance their growth and overall competitiveness in evolving global markets. At the forefront of emerging technologies, we help companies develop custom automated machinery and engineered automated solutions for a wide range of manufacturers. For more information on how automated manufacturing solutions can benefit your company, contact EAM today.