The present executives strive to automate most production processes to increase the speed and efficiency of work, and also improve the accuracy of made measurement.
This goal is achieved in two ways: through robotization and using the implementation of Low-Cost Intelligent Automation. Which method is better? When we can use a mixed approach? In today’s article, we will give answers to these questions.
What are the disadvantages of robotization?
We had been showing videos with successful and unsuccessful examples of using robots in our social networks past few weeks. Of course, the videos were comic, staged, popularizing.
Robots performed simple tasks and entertained visitors. However, these videos nevertheless gave us an understanding of what is necessary for the correct functioning of robots:
- Their most accurate setting;
- Detailed writing of scenarios;
- An indication of all essential parameters.
Without complying with these conditions, the fulfillment of even simple tasks by robots is put into question, as the risk of failures increases.
Robots don’t have human ingenuity, so any action, function, and changes must be programmed with an understanding of the specificity of workflows – especially if we are talking about production. Therefore, among the shortcomings of roboticization can be identified:
- the inflexibility of robotics to changing conditions;
- the cost of its maintenance;
- the need for frequent reconfiguration (for example, when we replace a product line or change production capacity);
- strong dependence on hardware suppliers and programmers.
Somewhat overshadows the prospects for the using of robotic, isn’t it? However, don’t rush to conclusions. Probably, the above disadvantages will be leveled, thanks to the development of artificial intelligence. Then the robots will have the ability to memorize, analyze situations and as a result – self-study.
What are the advantages of robotization?
It should be noted, that robots can correctly cope with simple immutable tasks that don’t require high qualifications and ability to navigate the situation. For example, you can entrust the robot with such mechanical works as marking or transporting products along with a given route indoors.
They cope quite well with assembling and screwing, sorting, packing. With proper setup of the robot, the probability of error due to carelessness or fatigue inherent to a person will be minimized. It allows you to avoid an increase in staff of small employees while raising production volumes.
What are the benefits of Low-Cost Intelligent Automation?
LCIA involves the use of relatively simple hydraulic mechanisms for moving and processing components, units of products and packaging materials. Striking examples of such equipment are production lines (conveyors), presses and pushers.
In one form or another, they have been used for a long time and are excellently suited for small industries that produce products in limited quantities. These manufacturers often change the requirements for complete products, due to the requests of customers.
Thus, among the main advantages of Low-Cost Intelligent Automation are:
- high flexibility;
- high productivity;
- more simple technological support;
- inexpensive service.
As for industries that are located in countries with a high hourly wage for workers, the introduction of LCIA would be a more cost-effective solution than hiring new employees or robotization.
Both will require significant cash inflow from the owner, what may affect the price of the products. At the same time, the cost is an important factor for maintaining competing market power.
Reasonable modernization of the production line and internal logistic processes will avoid loss of quality due to the reduction in the number of working hours to perform the tasks or replace the components.
What are the shortcomings of Low-Cost Intelligent Automation?
LCIA doesn’t solve the issue with petty mechanical jobs, which should be done either by robots or by humans: packing, sorting, labeling, moving small loads over short distances, end others. Therefore, there are opportunities for a mixed approach.
The choice of performers will be determined by the estimated cost of the finished product, the category of consumers and features of the workflow.
What matters in manufacturing production upgrades?
Before introducing any innovations in production, you should to audit, evaluate the pros and cons of the existing system, as well as the scale of the necessary modernization. Changes in technology will inevitably entail changes in business model and corporate culture.
In case of rejection of the creation of large stocks and shipment of products in small batches directly to consumers, one approach is needed while maintaining the old logistic scheme – requires another one.