Our automation solutions are designed with the goal of ensuring that production always does the right thing at the right time. Making the most of the time we have at hand is the ultimate objective for both individuals and organisations. That amounts to exactly 8760 hours a year.
Simply said, automation increases manufacturing’s competitiveness while simultaneously having a big impact on sustainability. Automation and digitalization have a practical impact on industrial sustainability through increased productivity, quicker turnaround times, less waste, higher quality, and better work.
Below, we have shared an overview of automation’s main advantages, followed by a more in-depth discussion of each category. It’s vital to note that there are several connections between the benefits in this case, such as those involving “equipment utilization rate,” “production volumes,” and “workpiece unit cost.” This is because, like many real-life events, the advantages of automation don’t necessarily fall into distinct, tidy categories.
The advantages of CNC automation are as follows:
Increased output and income
Stronger net result and gross profit
Increased return on capital
Increased client satisfaction
Faster and more predictable lead times improved employee engagement
High machine usage and OEE
Superior and more reliable calibre
Manufacturing managers have less stress
Enhanced sustainability in manufacturing
Unpacking the automation benefits
The daily operations are changed by automation, which greatly increases productivity, efficiency, and stability. This can ultimately be measured using the five important production metrics: Lead times, Throughput, OEE, Less Waste, and Less Stress.
- Less idle times
In pallet handling automation systems, idle times are minimized as set-ups can be prepared while another pallet is being machined, eliminating set-up times almost completely. In robotic automation, the part-loading sequence is quick and fully standardized. Additionally, gripper changes related to handling different parts can be automated, leading to increased utilization of machine tools from about 20% to 60-80%.
- Higher and more stable quality
Automation also results in higher and more consistent quality as reproducible processes are completed almost error-free, unlike humans. This leads to stable and high-quality end products.
- More effective and integrated processes
Standardization of processes required by automation allows for easier integration of auxiliary processes such as finishing, washing, marking, measuring, etc., into the automation system. This increases the total automation rate of manufacturing processes.
- Automated production planning and resource management
Intelligent production planning and execution software facilitate automated production planning and resource management, ensuring that production orders can be completed as necessary and that machinery is highly utilized. This includes guiding operators, managing resources, scheduling machinery capacity, and forecasting to ensure that all required orders can be completed without missing tools or other resources.
- Unmanned production
Standardized processes combined with automated production planning and execution enable unmanned production, day and night.
Ultimately, improved financial results are driven by operational improvements such as higher productivity, increased efficiency, and reduced errors.
Naturally, improvements in operations, such as better resource use, more throughput, higher quality, or more proactive production planning, are what lead to better financial results. In a nutshell, manufacturing increases in volume and profitability while using less money to operate (fewer stocks and WIP).
- Higher production capacity grows revenues
Higher production capacity can lead to revenue growth as automation increases output per machine, allowing for more products to be produced and sold. Intelligent automation provides transparent capacity planning, which reduces unnecessary buffers in production, leading to increased output. As volumes increase, fixed costs are scaled accordingly.
- Decrease in indirect and direct labor costs per part
With automated production, there is less need for human intervention, leading to a decrease in both direct and indirect labor costs per part. Direct labor costs decrease as one operator can manage multiple machines with automation, whereas indirect labor costs decrease as intelligent production planning features can scale production planning engineers for larger operations.
Manufacturers investing in automation often end up either running larger operations with their current staff or hiring more workers due to the benefits of higher productivity and stronger financials.
- Decreased machine tool investment allocation per part
Machine tool investment allocation per part decreases with automation as machines idle less, allowing for investment to be allocated to larger production volumes. Automation also reduces the number of machine tools occupying costly floor space.
- Decrease in working capital
Automation can also decrease working capital as just-in-time production reduces the need for oversized batch production and minimizes the amount of capital tied up in work-in-progress and stocks. Although some level of stocks may still be necessary, minimizing them frees up capital for investments or dividends.
- Customers and People
Better operations benefit employees as well as customers. They aid in the struggle to find and retain skilled personnel, be able to produce quality on schedule and do so while still making a profit.
- Meaningful and safer work
Automation can make manufacturing jobs more meaningful, engaging, and safer for operators, which can help attract and retain skilled employees. This is achieved by providing better ergonomics, handling repetitive tasks, and improving safety related to heavy weights and difficult working positions. Furthermore, intelligent automation systems are intuitive and pleasant to use.
- Lead times, quality, and cost
Transparent production planning and stable processes provided by automation can give both the manufacturer and customer high reliability that promised lead times will be met quickly. This allows the manufacturer to utilize its full production capacity, rather than leaving unnecessary buffers to deal with unexpected delays while still meeting lead time promises. Additionally, automation increases productivity, which can help manufacturers to withstand constant pressure for cost-reduction.