Don’t Fear Automation : 5 Reasons for Automation
For many SME’S the desire to grow is real, but their fears or misconceptions about automation halt them from taking the step to powering-up their processes. 97.9% of all Canadian businesses & 98% of U.S. businesses fall within the SME category so as you would expect, the competition is fierce! So how do you step it up if you persist in believing that automation is only for the big guys, the 2% who can afford to dish out big dollars for big machinery?
Your operators don’t have to be specialized or have a PhD either. OEM’s offer thorough training for machine operators, and almost all offer 24/7 technical service. The truth is that small businesses experience substantial success after proper implementation of automated solutions.
The fear of automation can also be interpreted as a fear of making mistakes by purchasing the wrong machine. Anybody who searches the web for packaging machinery, or anything for instance, will soon be overwhelmed by the quantity and variety of equipment available. So, why is there such a huge price difference between two machines that look so similar? Maybe a second-hand machine would do just as well? In all truth, you need to focus on buying a machine that will fulfill your needs. Don’t just settle on what is available or focus only on low priced machinery. Sure, bargains are appealing, but when you are looking for professional equipment, consider that cheap often results in repeated technical service calls and part replacements. Unexpected expenses such as these add up fairly rapidly and investing wisely will ensure your peace of mind.
Do Your Homework
The perception that the initial cost of automation machinery and expertise needed to operate the machines seems daunting. In reality, most packaging lines are scalable, allowing companies to start off small and scale up as their automation results get interesting. What is the most labor-intensive task or the most repetitive and low-value task that can be automated? If your filling machine runs at 20 packs per minute, it’s pretty useless to look for downstream equipment that will run three times faster than your filling capacity. Before you start shopping around for a packaging machine:
- Make sure you know exactly what you need.
- Give yourself some time to get 2 or 3 quotations from different suppliers, clarify what is included, what options are, and what are the lead times?
- Ask for references and whenever possible, try to see the same machine you want to buy in operation at a customer’s plant and speak with the staff.
Automation technologies definitely lower production costs, improve productivity, improve quality, minimize errors, and even create a safer and happier workplace for staff. Remember hearing “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”? Well that has never been truer, and here are 5 reasons to automate.
5 Reasons to Boost your Operations with Automated Machinery
- Reduce labor costs: Workers of any kind are getting harder to come by, and with the offer surpassing demand it’s slim pickings for any manufacturer. Automated systems alleviate the shortage and offer greater efficiency on assembly lines.
- Eliminate human error: We all make mistakes; we learn from them and that is what makes us human! Machines can perform multiple operations in less time and more accurately, which makes them great for repetitive tasks.
- Accelerate production times: We all want to produce more in less time and ship faster because our society is knee deep into instant gratification. Machines are inherently faster, and automation certainly improves workflow.
- Improve manufacturing flexibility: Changeovers are a huge concern in manufacturing and automated machinery allows for quick and sometimes toolless changeovers. Production can switch formats within a matter of minutes with minimized downtimes and maximized daily output.
- Increase safety: Any manufacturer with an assembly line is familiar with worker injury. Bad ergonomics, speed of tasks and material handling, among others are frequent causes of injury which are costly and mostly avoidable with packaging automation.
Invest in future earnings
The recent year has brought about a crisis that no one expected, leaving most industries with a diminished workforce and a real need to rethink their operations. The reasons to automate manufacturing systems are now clear, packaging automation will result in heightened your competitive edge by streamlining processes, diminishing waste, and offering superior quality.
Of course there will always be an element of risk associated with the purchase of automated machinery, however if weighed upon production rates, changeovers, customer base and demand for potential growth, bottlenecking and available finances, it should already be clear if you’ll come out on top. Don’t fear automation, but DO trust the sound advice of packaging automation experts for quality machinery with proven track records for durability and after-sales service.