Deciding to Automate - Columbia/Okura

Deciding to Automate

Before deciding to automate and integrate processes within your facility there are a few questions you need to ask.

How will it help my business?

Automation can solve a number of business challenges posed by the manufacturing processes. It can improve process overall, allowing a business to run more efficiently with less effort. No matter your business size, some of the ways automation can help include:

• Cutting costs in various ways
• Increasing output
• Providing flexibility to adapt to different or new products
• Alleviating the burden to find and train new employees
• Limiting employee exposure to dangerous tasks
• Improving quality and consistency of products

What can be automated?

Any repetitive process in manufacturing can be automated including packaging, palletizing, molding, gluing, assembly, pick-and-place, and many more. Many people think of automation on a large scale and historically that would true, often used only for automotive manufacturing. However, today automation is much more affordable with the simple addition of tools to machines, conveyors, pick-and-place tools, or palletizers you can automate your facility.

To understand what can be automated in your facility, you should start by analyzing work activities, or tasks, of your employees. Because most occupations or job roles are made up of various types of activities, each with different degrees of technical feasibility, each task performed should be examined to determine the possibility of automation. This analysis process is much simpler than it sounds and will be beneficial to understand the automation possibilities for your business and where the biggest efficiencies can be made.

What is the ROI?

ROI will differ from company to company and across industries. However, with the ability to increase output, improve safety and create additional flexibility in your facility, it is easy to start realizing the potential saving.

For an idea of how much your business could save or how quickly you will see a return on investment, the Robotic Industries Association has a great ROI calculator available for free on their site.