In today’s global environment, manufacturers are fighting to stay ahead of the competition. New technology is giving some manufacturers an upper hand. Industrial automation and smart machines are increasing productivity, cutting costs, and creating more agile supply chains for manufacturers in many industries.
These are three reasons why automation in manufacturing is good for business and how it can streamline your supply chain.
Let’s start with this question: why have automation on the manufacturing floor? First and foremost, automation increases labor productivity. Automating tasks means they are completed in less time. In some situations, workers become more productive when robots are introduced to the workplace. Automation also reduces labor costs. With these savings, manufacturers can invest in more automation to replace manual processes. Some suggest this technology even improves working conditions. Employee safety is also increased because workers go from active participants in a dangerous task to simply overseeing a robot performing the same task.
Smart Machines; Accurate Machines
Automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) are blending together, bringing the industry new technology known as “smart machines.” A smart machine uses machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to communicate. With M2M communication, robots solve problems and make decisions without human help. Smart machines provide an incredible level of accuracy to fast, repetitive tasks. While a human employee will probably make 10 errors for every 100 steps, robots can perform the same tasks with 100 percent accuracy. Greater accuracy ultimately leads to greater productivity.
Accuracy also helps manufacturing equipment last longer. Components don’t experience the wear and tear of errors, resulting in a longer service life. Smart machines also have the ability to monitor their own health. They can detect and self-diagnose problems, often without any human interference.
Emerging Technologies Deliver Agility
The future of the industry can be summed up in three major technologies: nanotechnology, nanotech sensors, and machine-to-machine learning. All of these components will be wireless and process information in real time. Nanosensors will measure every part of the manufacturing process. The biggest benefit of these emerging technologies is more agile supply chains. Manufacturers will have the capacity needed to quickly respond to fluctuations in demand. Greater agility will keep businesses competitive in a mature industry.
A True Competitive Edge
For manufacturers looking to boost productivity and cut costs, industrial automation is full of promise. And with emerging technologies on the horizon, smart machines are sure to give manufacturers the competitive edge they need to stay ahead of the game.