Industrial automation is nothing new. Machines now dominate operations in many factories all over the world, and despite its growing popularity in most industries, there is still some uncertainty about making the switch from manual to machine assembly of products.
The advantages and disadvantages of automating factory operations are clear to those who understand automation components, but often unfamiliar to many industrial managers. If you are thinking about integrating automation technology into your workplace, take into consideration the known advantages and disadvantages.
The Advantages of Industrial Automation
There are clear benefits that come with automated systems. The implementation of robotic automation into your assembly process can help you:
- Increase productivity: automated machines do not tire, do not take breaks and will often outperform human workers in production. You’ll likely see a decrease in production time and an increase in output.
- Improve redundancy: in an industry where accuracy and quality are integral, automated machines are far less likely to make production errors or sacrifice production quality for speed.
- Better safety: machines can perform tasks in hazardous environments where humans are unable to operate. With automation in place, you will likely see a decrease in workplace accidents and workman’s compensation claims.
- Savings and profit: with automated machines in place, there are potential savings to be gained from reduced medical claims of employees, greater production output and higher quality products.
The Disadvantages of Industrial Automation
There can be disadvantages when implementing machine automation practices into your process. Since automated machines are not suited for every application, you may find that they:
- Cannot perform complicated or non-repetitive tasks: even though machines offer increases in quality and redundancy, current automation technology has been unable to address the issue of complex production. Humans, at least at this point in time, are the only workers capable of performing customizable or complex production tasks.
- Have high initial costs: while automated machines will ultimately save you money in the long run, they do require a significant initial investment. As a business owner or manager, you will have to find a way to make this investment fit into your overall budget.
- Require maintenance and training: your current employees will need to be trained to properly implement, operate and maintain the automated systems to ensure their continued functionality.
The Decision is yours to Make
In the end, it is up to you to decide if industrial automation is the right choice for your process. It is imperative for businesses to keep up with the evolving technological landscape to increase throughput while minimizing ongoing costs. When you decide that it is time to automate your production, reach out to AMMC to learn more about doing it the right way.