Robot Savings Time
Robots can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 52 weeks a year, without needing breaks or that extra hour of sleep we are all dreaming about. Whether we were ready or not, Daylight Savings Time has sprung and we are reminded of the value of one of our most sacred commodities: time.
Fortunately, robots aren’t affected by Daylight Savings Time and will continue to function at work much more effectively than us humans, who are dreaming of that extra hour of sleep. They will continue to offer their countless benefits on the production line, including the most precious commodity, time savings. Time translates directly to money on the production line.
Ron Potter, Director of Robotics Technology for Factory Automation Systems, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, gives the perfect example. “An application we’ve had in operation for several years is for a supplier of parts to agricultural equipment manufacturers has resulted in a 150 percent increase in productivity by having the robot do what three people were doing before. Now, they are accomplishing in 3 hours what used to take them 8 hours with manual operations. They are loading and unloading machine tools with a robot. The machine tools are located back-to-back with the robot mounted overhead in the middle. We’ve introduced deburring into the cell, automatic gauging, automatic tool compensation, and automatic pin stamping. So all of these operations that occurred with work-in-progress inventory are now done in one cell. It actually runs unmanned during the third shift. They’ve had a huge increase in productivity and of course that impacts their return on investment,” adds Potter (1).
Industrial robots are truly kings of bringing time savings on the production line, making them worth every penny of the initial investment. They are, and will continue to be, experts in offering consistency, precision, efficiency, and improvement of the product quality to the production line. Any robot or tool that can cut down a job to something seemingly small, such as a fraction of a second, will make a huge difference and directly translate into dollars. There are a variety of robots that also offer energy savings options.
Robotics also are able to help avoid waste with their extreme amounts of precision, resulting in fewer mistakes, a safer workplace, and ultimately, increased total productivity. If the initial cost investment is worrisome to you, you must realize that companies typically recover quickly from the initial cost. As seen below, industrial robots offer a quick ROI from all of the aforementioned benefits.
Positive cash flow over course of robotic system’s service life (Courtesy of Factory Automation Systems, Inc.)
Another example of an automated system that brought huge value was seen at Mennie's Machine Company. Mennie's manufactures drive shaft components for full-sized trucks and sport utility vehicles. They had a 118 production goal per hour, but were only reaching 80 pieces per hour due to bottlenecks in their manual system. Mennie's decided to automate and FANUC Robotics designed a "factory within a factory," incorporating material handling robot models equipped with HandlingTool™ and Collision Guard™ software, customer grippers, and a control interface. Since the install, scrap rates have declined and the three-shift operation has increased 15%, running at 95% up-time. Furthermore, total production costs have been increased by 25% and is flexible enough to accommodate additional machines. Mennie's has been very satisfied with the accuracy, consistency, and part defect reduction. The system is now producing around 120 pieces per hour.
After looking at the facts and real life examples above, it cannot be denied that industrial robots are flexible, dynamic, and super productive machines. Technology has provided an industrial robot that can tackle almost any task, from small or large payloads, with ease. Every job it tackles helps to increase a company’s overall productivity, bring a quick ROI, and offer huge time savings options. For more questions about robots or robotic systems, contact RobotWorx experts online or at 740-251-4312.