Why Automate? - MJ Engineering

Automation is beginning to take over facilities all over the world but is automation the right choice for you? When you think about the word automation one of the first things that comes to mind is robotics. However, robotics is just a small part of the ever-changing world of automation. Manufacturers have multiple different options when considering automation. They can choose turn-key robotic integration, but they can also use partial integration, gantry systems, laser vision systems, and more. Below are some frequently asked questions:

Why should I automate my procedure? 

There are numerous reasons why automation might be beneficial.  One might want to automate a particularly hazardous or risky task, gain consistency over quality, or operate with limited staff or reduce headcount, it might also be as simple as creating space in your manufacturing environment given today’s COVID requirements for social distancing.

How do I justify automation to my boss?

Justifying automation is totally dependent on the type of automation and the goals associated with automating.  

There are many factors to consider:

  • headcount, 
  • production levels,
  • quality issues
  • workers compensation

These issues are just a few that can come to mind.  When using operator numbers as justification for example, robotic automation generally requires a 2nd or 3rd shift to be justifiable in two years or less.

We run 3 shifts at our plant, can robots handle that workload? What about downtime?

Three shift applications are well suited to industrial robots. Fanuc robots, for example, are designed to handle 100,000 hours MTBF (meantime between failures). Typical annual maintenance consists of replacing gearbox grease and changing out batteries. Fanuc also has a support line (open 24 hrs a day, 365 days/year) and guarantees parts on-site with a technician in 24 hours in the event of a down robot. They also stock all parts in the US for any robot currently running production, regardless of the age of the robot.

We have limited space, can we make robots work?

Robots might not be the best fit in all situations and locations.  That needs to be reviewed and discussed as part of our site review of your needs/goals.  We can help you determine if hard automation (mechanical, non-robotic) might better suit your facility or if robotics can work.  It will depend on speeds, payload, reach, interaction with surroundings ( i.e. people), and other reasons. 

If you are considering automation of any kind, reach out to us at MJ Engineering and we can work with you to determine what the best type of automation is for you and for your company. Call us at (614)891-6111 ext. 110. Don’t wait to up your production and lower your human dependency.