Are you utilizing factory automation to innovate?

Welcome to December, 2014! In a few short weeks, 2015 will be here!

As I reflect on all of the advances C.R.E.W. has made these past 4/5 years – while comparing and contrasting the experiences over the lifespan of my career… it is interesting to note all of the automation related projects that I have been involved in.

Indeed, from a personal perspective, the overall pace of factory automation has substantially quickened!

Industry Creativity and Innovation

As with many other businesses in similar and different industries – creativity and innovation are key ingredients to success. Projects involving factory automation at C.R.E.W. has further enabled the innovative spirit.

Through much hard work and effort, automating processes at C.R.E.W. has occurred in many areas:

  • Purchase management
  • Order management
  • Accounting/finance
  • Information technology
  • Sales/marketing
  • Engineering
  • Employee related processes

Automation on the shop floor at C.R.E.W.

Automation within the shop has created value by making us better understand our manufacturing processes and often leads us to simplify our processes before we automate a task.

Ultimately, the true measure of the value created is when all these enterprise automation innovations work harmoniously to meet some very demanding customer expectations.

Factory Automation

The trend towards factory automation is here to stay. As manufacturing activity continues to pick up around the world, so does the excitement for robotics and other industrial automation technologies.

This change is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 and is expected to generate global revenues of $209.4 billion by 2016 according to a white paper published by IHS Technology.

Why push for an increase in factory automated equipment?

We say, “Why not?” It is crucial to remain competitive and according to a news report on ThomasNet®, it is a key factor in the economic health of our country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Automation advantages for traditional manufacturing:
  • Repeatability: Highly automated factory processes allow for greater levels of standardization when it comes to processes and layouts. The more streamlined the process, the more consistent the outcome. In other words, repeatability is the foundation for quality and excellence.
  • Better Quality Control: The intelligence provided by factory automation gives manufacturers the knowhow, not only to detect and respond to errors, but to predict them. Human error is now a thing of the past while tools such as x-ray fluorescence are being used to detect the slightest differences in materials.
  • Waste Reduction: It probably goes without saying, the more efficient and accurate a process, the less waste. Take it a step further by exploring the effects of systems integration models being used to manage the supply chain of raw materials. Or, consider the potential impact of receiving continuous feedback through artificial intelligence—automation can build a true powerhouse of efficiency.
The jury’s no longer out when it comes to factory automation.

It is happening, at unprecedented rates.

To what extent processes are being automated is the real question.

  • Do you think an increase in factory automation is in the near future for your business?
  • Will your shop ever operate under a lights-out model?

Weigh in—we’d love to hear from you.