Lean manufacturing is a system of using production resources efficiently. While material handling robots have not traditionally been used to “trim the fat” on these systems – because they may help to increase waste instead of helping – companies are turning to robots because of their speed, accuracy, repeatability and cycle times.
More than 100,000 robots are bought and integrated into facilities each year, and many of them are material handling robots. These numbers alone show how robots are becoming more common, especially in lean production systems.
The advantages of robots for lean manufacturing are numerous. Robots do not need anywhere near as much downtime as human workers. They do not see the same fatigue as humans either. By not needing the breaks, lunches, time off and vacations like manual workers, their workload promotes a lean system.
Material handling robotic systems also contribute to a lean strategy by increasing production through decreased cycle times and increased repeatability, accuracy and speed. These systems can put out several times more of a higher-quality product per hour than manual laborers. A material handling robotic system will also decrease the number of errors in products.
Another key to material handling robots contributing to lean manufacturing lies with the flexibility of many robots. Due to the high versatility of today’s industrial robotics, as well as end-of-arm-tooling that can be fit to several different robots, a manufacturer can purchase one robot to do several different applications.
By having such a high versatility, the material handling robot can pay for itself in no time, while increasing the manufacturer’s return on investment (ROI) by increasing the level of production in the facility.
RobotWorx, a certified integrator of several different industrial material handling robotic arms from companies like FANUC, KUKA and Motoman, will work with you to design the perfect material handling robotic system to promote lean manufacturing in your facility.