What Challenges Does Automation Solve for Manufacturers?
We had the pleasure of hosting a discussion with Kel Guerin, Co-Founder & CIO of READY Robotics, Rob House, Director, Product Management of OCTOPUZ. Both leaders shared their perspectives on Unlocking ROI with New Robot Programming Tools. We will be breaking down this discussion and uncovering those findings in our limited blog series. Follow along monthly to see what advice and insights Kel and Rob provided.
A question often discussed in the industry is, why should we automate, and what are the challenges automation solves for manufacturers?
Most people in the manufacturing space are aware of the value proposition of robots. They do not take breaks, take vacations, or call in sick. One of the many benefits of employing robots is they can run a program 24/7. Making the return on investment huge.
Challenge #1: Skill Labour Shortage
Automation is becoming more of a necessity in the manufacturing and fabrication space in order to stay competitive in the industry. The manufacturing industry has its set of challenges, one that is quite prevalent today is the shortage of skilled labour. It’s not only difficult to find and recruit skilled labour, but it’s hard to retain them as the industry is becoming more competitive. However, one of the best ways to offset the shortage is by automating processes with robotics. We are seeing places like fabrication shops automate with robotic weld cells. Allowing them to improve their production rates and the quality of the parts being welded. If a company can properly teach the robot to follow the correct path while utilizing the correct welding parameters, they can increase their production output, without having that skilled welder there day in and day out to weld that part.
We are also seeing a skilled labour shortage in those who install robots in the fabrication shops and manufacturers. To put it into perspective there are around 280,000 manufacturing companies in the United States, with roughly 80,000 people who are qualified to install a robot for those companies. This means that you are already bottlenecked in trying to get these devices installed. This is where technology steps in. Technology is now allowing people to install robots themselves without having to bring an expert in. The tools and software that exist can be used by the person on the factory floor, who was previously putting pieces of metal into the machine, they now are capable of installing a robot.
By empowering that person on the factory floor to install robots, you're not only solving the fact that you couldn't find someone to install that robot. That person is now freed up to go and set up those other machines, which in turn increases the work happening at your facility.
Challenge #2: Usability of Robots
A final challenge we have seen hitting the industry is the usability of robots. Tools like Offline Robot Programming can help build amazing robot programs that can be easily translated onto a robot. The power of Offline Robot Programming is that your programs are designed offline so there is no downtime between programs. There are companies out there like READY who are helping with this challenge. Forge OS is about how the end-user is going to interface with the robot on the factory floor once the program is uploaded there. It is critical that this experience is seamless and easy to use. Once you have that you have an incredible opportunity for a non-disruptive manufacturing process that’s much more efficient and better utilizes the human capital at these companies.
At OCTOPUZ we believe you can make the most of automation by having the right hardware and software technologies working together. We have learned that you don’t necessarily need to hire the best welder or the best robot export in order to succeed with robotics. There are a lot of great solutions in the market today. With a little bit of training, we believe that anyone can have automated processes within their facility.
Thinking automation is the right move for you? Reach out to one of our experts today! Still not convinced stay tuned for next month’s topic how manufacturers can benefit from automation?