6 Easy Ways to Incentivise Factory Staff Who Are Doing Repetitive Tasks – Slideshare Presentation

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6 Easy Ways To Incentivise Factory Staff

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What Is The Difference Between Automation And Robotics?

Automation-or-Robotics--

This is a question that is regularly asked by those looking to introduce some form of automation into their production process.

The answer to this question is ‘robotics is a form of automation, so there is no difference.’ But then the question becomes; do I need robotics or do I need some other form of automation?

Let’s look at the different applications…

 

Robotics

Robotics consists of a branch of technology that predominantly deals with the design, construction and operation of robots. An industrial robot is typically a standard machine controlled by an internal or external computer that is able to carry out a complex series of movements automatically. There are a wide range of robots available; from basic robot arms through to completely autonomous vehicle mounted robots.  Robots are often equipped with audio, visual and tactile sensors.  Whilst a standard robot usually follows a pre-determined program, collaborative robots have force sensing built in and as a result are able to follow a person’s movements and work collaboratively with them.

Robots today perform a variety of jobs within factories such as:

  • Parts assembly
  • Painting
  • Welding
  • Machine tool tending
  • Palletisation
  • Material handling
  • Pick and place
  • CNC milling

Robots are also often used to substitute humans in dangerous environments including hazardous areas environment, high temperature environments, radioactive environments and areas where there are harmful vapours and gasses.

The main advantage of robots is their adaptability and flexibility.  They are also a known component when designing an automated system with mixed products/requirements. They can also be a very cheap way to automate multiple tasks with a lot of variables that would otherwise need a very specialist bespoke automated system.

 

Automation

There are two main types of automation; software automation and industrial automation.  Software automation performs computer based tasks that would otherwise be performed by a human, whereas industrial automation performs physical activities that would otherwise be done by a human.

Bespoke automation is the term typically used where there is a stable and predictable production processes that needs specialist automation designed specifically to perform that process.

Processes where bespoke automation is often used includes;

  • Quality control inspection
  • Liquid filling
  • Parts sorting
  • Box erection and sealing
  • Box filling
  • Repetitive tasks with few variables
  • Production monitoring
  • Product and carton labelling
  • Safety improvements

But the list doesn’t stop here, bespoke automation can be used to create tailored made automation solutions to fit any requirement.

The main advantage of bespoke automation is that it can be tailored exactly to a process in the most efficient way. This can often result in faster production speeds, and more effective solutions for repeat tasks with little variation in products or requirements.

 

Robotics or Bespoke Automation – Which do I need?

Now you understand more about robotics and automation, but you may still be wondering which you need! Maybe you need both? This depends entirely on the process you are wishing to automate. Robotics or bespoke automation may be used, but as they are both developed in different ways, it may often be necessary to use both to enable the optimum automation solution to be created.

To summarise, the main difference between robotics and automation is that robots are a piece of equipment that can perform a variety of tasks with programming, whilst bespoke automation is a term that is used for special purpose machines or systems that are designed to perform a specific task.

But in short Robotics are just one of many methods of Automation!

Find out more…

To learn more about automation and robotics, get in touch with the Granta Automation team of experts on helpline@granta-automation.co.uk or by calling 01223 499 488.

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KUKA Agilus v Timo Boll – Table Tennis Tournament

Who will win the table tennis tournament? KUKA Agilus or Timo Boll…
 

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Customer Testimonial – Granta Automation

A Chemical Manufacturing Company were looking to automate the weighing and dispensing of chemicals.   They are currently doing 500 samples by hand per day and were looking to automate this process.  Following a board meeting they have decided not to go ahead with automating at present but were very pleased with the service that Granta gave them and will be back in touch when they’re ready to take the next step.  We received the following testimonial from them today…dreamstime_43951136

Hello Matthew,

I thank you for the time you and Derek spent working with our company. Your support and availability to any queries were very good and exactly what we needed.

Our reason to not follow it up is by no means anything that you said or did, it was purely a financial issue.

The involvement you both had was very professional and when we are ready to take the next step you will definitely be at the top of our list to contact and I would highly recommend you to anyone.

Thank you once again,

Scott

 

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How will Automation Work for You?

This video will give you some idea of the types of automation available.   Why not think around your sphere of influence, what would you like automated to improve your quality of life, competitive advantage, productivity, profits or… the possibilities are endless.


 

 

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Case Study – Automatic Box Filling for Chemical Manufacturing Company

Project Brief

A chemical manufacturing company were looking for help with automation of one of their packing lines. Their existing packing line was a semi-automated process for loading 5L bottles of chemicals into boxes. They were having some issues with this process so they were looking to have the process fully automated and updated.

The 5L chemical bottles were being fed along a conveyor into a manual packing station.  At the manual packing station there was a box erector making up the boxes, the bottles were then loaded off the conveyor into the boxes by hand, then the boxes would pass through a box sealer and out into a palletising area.

They had been experiencing several issues with this packing system:

  • It was a very labour intensive system with large amounts of manual handing.  This was a health and safety issue as repetitive strain injuries were occurring.
  • The speed of the production line was limited to the speed that the operator could fill the boxes.  They needed to increase their production speeds.
  • The cartons needed to be labelled and ink jet printed on the ends of the boxes.  This was having to be done manually before the boxes were put into the box erector machine.
  • Their existing box erector and tape sealing machines were old and in need of replacement.

The key features that they required in their automated system included:

  • A new box erector and sealer.
  • An automatic method of loading the 5L cleaning chemicals bottles from the conveyor into the boxes.
  • Automatic labelling and ink jet printing of the ends of the boxes.

 

The Result

As a result of Granta’s  Diaspec process and close consultation with the customer, Granta have built and installed a complete packing line.  This packing line has been built to allow for different box sizes and different types of chemical bottles to be processed.  The packing line includes the following; 

  • Box Erector – The box erector is fed with flat, unassembled cardboard boxes.  It then automatically assembles the box and folds and tapes the bottom. The box is then placed on a conveyor that moves it out to the robotic box filing area with the top flaps of the box open and ready for filling.
  • Robotic Box Filler – The robot used to fill the boxes is a 6 kg, 6 axis, Kuka Agilus robot which has been fitted with a specialist gripper that is designed to lift the chemical bottles by the handles.  The system also incorporates special guides to ensure that the bottles are fed into the box correctly every time.
  • Automatic Box Sealing –  Once the bottles have been placed into the box, the box moves along the conveyor, away from the robotic box filling station into the automatic box sealing machine.  The top flaps of the box are then folded over and sealed automatically with tape.
  • Box Labeller – The sealed boxes then have a label applied to either the end or the side of the box depending on what is required.  Each label is date coded and barcoded for traceability.
  • Production Monitoring – The complete packing line has an inbuilt production monitoring system. Sensors and data logging systems instantly report faults which ensures better accuracy and repeatability, this in turn has created faster production speeds and increased throughput.  All data is logged and can be accessed remotely.

 

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3 Ways To Reduce Manufacturing Costs

3-Ways-to-reduce-manufacturing-costs

If you’re a Factory or Manufacturing Manager, then you will know just how important it is to Reduce Manufacturing Costs to enable you to Boost the Profitability of Your Company.

You will no doubt be very familiar with the usual methods of reducing manufacturing costs such as;

  1. Buying cheaper to reduce raw material costs
  2. Making cuts to lower overhead expenses
  3. Increasing efficiency in your production process to increase throughput

Whilst these are all good starting points for reducing your manufacturing costs, there are also other, perhaps more hidden ways that costs can be reduced.  One of these methods is investment in the right type of automation.

Below, we’ve explored three different ways that automation can be used to reduce manufacturing costs.

 

  1. Bespoke Automation

The problem often experienced by manufactures is that standard machinery doesn’t always meet their specific requirements.  Standard machinery often only performs some, not all of the tasks needed, resulting in multiple machines having to be used. This then increases the production time required and manufacturing costs as parts have to be transferred between machines for different processes

This is where bespoke automation can be used to reduce your manufacturing costs.  A bespoke automation solution that is tailor made to suit your requirements can be designed to perform multiple functions with one machine. Bespoke machinery therefore reduces the need to transfer parts between machines, improves production speeds and reduces wasted time and costs.

Find out more…

 

  1. Production Monitoring and Data Logging Systems

Production monitoring and data logging systems are rapidly becoming recognised around the world for their vast benefits, such as:

  • Reduced downtime – downtime can have a negative effect on your productivity and therefore your manufacturing costs. By having instant fault reporting from production monitoring you decrease your downtime, ensuring your factory is working efficiently all of the time.
  • Accurate efficiency monitoring – Decreased efficiency leads to lower production levels and higher costs. By keeping a close eye on your factory’s efficiency, you can quickly see areas within your production process that are bottlenecks and not producing as efficiently as they should be. This then enables you to make the necessary changes to your process to increase efficiency and thereby reduce costs.
  • Increased accuracy/repeatability of products – this is essential for busy manufacturing businesses who are looking to produce large amounts of identical products. Less defects means less quality control issues which in turn reduces manufacturing costs.

By keeping your manufacturing processes efficient and accurate, you can lower your production costs whilst boosting productivity. The data provided by production monitoring and data logging systems gives you the necessary information to enable you as a manager to improve the performance of your factory.  By making improvements, you are then able to drive further growth.

Find out more…

Get Instant Pricing for Production Monitoring and Data Logging Systems now.

 

  1. Vision and Inspection Systems

Vision and inspection systems are part of an ever-evolving technology. Tasks that were once impossible to automate can now be highly automated. Not only that, but production speeds can be dramatically increased.  Vision inspection systems are able to quality check products at high speeds which means that there is no need to stop your production process to carry out quality control checks.  This then increases throughput and reduces manufacturing costs.  Some other key benefits of vision inspection systems are:

  • They are a very cost-effective way of implementing quality assurance and control
  • They are able to work at very high speeds and with stringent accuracy requirements
  • Vision inspection is a very simple way to boost the competitive edge of your company to drive further growth

Find out more…

Get instant pricing on vision systems

 

Whilst these are the three more common ways automation can be used to reduce your manufacturing costs, it is by no means limited to this.  Automation enables you to remove the ‘hidden’ manufacturing costs such as product recalls, idle machine time, high labour costs, and wasted time in product transfers.  As production processes are so varied there may be other types of automation that are more appropriate to you.

To find out the which automation method would be best for reducing your manufacturing costs get in touch with the Granta Automation team of experts on helpline@granta-automation.co.uk or by calling 01223 499 488.

Get-in-touch-with-Granta

 

 

 

Posted in Bespoke Automation, Bespoke Control Systems, Bespoke Machinery, Bespoke Machinery Automation, Control panels, Custom Automation, Custom Built Machinery, Custom Control Systems, Custom Machinery Automation, Datalogging, Production Line Control Systems, Production Monitoring, Vision Inspection | Tagged , | Comments Off on 3 Ways To Reduce Manufacturing Costs

What Impact Does Automation Have On The Working Environment?

What-impact-does-automation-have-on-the-working-environmentWith some of the first forms of automation going back a few hundred years now, we’ve seen technology and automation evolve and change the way people work for decades. Think back to the days of scythes; we now think nothing of Combines, but where would we be if we were still reaping with scythes?  What will the future method be for harvesting crops?  No one knows…

We’ve recently exposed some of the advantages and disadvantages of industrial automation, to help people considering automation for their production processes decide whether it is right for their business or not. Today we are pondering the impact that automation has had in recent years on the working environment and what the future might hold in this area.

 

Creates a Safer Working Environment

One of the most prominent effects of automation in recent times has been its ability to complete tasks that are potentially dangerous for humans and thus create a safer working environment.

For example, hazardous area robots can now be used in problematic areas such as high temperature environments, radioactive environments and other potentially dangerous environments. Therefore reducing the need for humans to enter these hazardous areas and reducing the risk of injury.

Automation of labour intensive, repetitive, manual tasks has been used to eliminate the risk of repetitive strain injury as humans are no longer needed to perform such tasks. Thereby creating a safer working environment.

 

Boosts Productivity and Efficiency

Another well-known impact of automation on the working environment is the fact that it boosts productivity and efficiency, thus raising staff morale at the same time as increasing profits.

Productivity is boosted by automation as it increases efficiency, enables greater repeatability, improves product quality and allows for faster, more reliable production speeds.  There are many different automation systems that can be used to increase productivity and efficiency such as robotic automation, production monitoring and datalogging systems, bespoke automation solutions and the use of automation to streamline your production process.  How these automation systems effect productivity are outlined in detail in our blog on How to Increase Productivity in Your Factory with Automation.

 

Improves Staff Motivation

There are many different ways that automation impacts on staff motivation. It can often be frustrating for workers to conduct repetitive tasks using outdated machinery and technologies.  This then has a negative impact on their morale and motivation.  Using automation to upgrade your factory not only helps boost productivity and efficiency significantly, but it’s also a smart way of improving working conditions and creating new, more stimulating roles within your factory. Therefore by introducing automation to do the repetitive tasks within your factory, and moving staff to more challenging job roles, staff become motivated as they feel they are now working in a modern, up to date, 21st century environment.

Production monitoring and datalogging systems also have a large impact on staff motivation as they create a culture of continuous improvement. This, in turn, encourages your staff to always strive for improved performance and makes them feel like they’re contributing to making a difference within the entire company. As we all know, motivated staff results in better productivity which in turn influences the culture of your business and results in an increase to your bottom line.

There are many other types of automation and strategies that can also be used to increase motivation and these are shown in our blog What Type of Automation Should I Choose To Increase Factory Staff Motivation?

 

To Conclude

Despite some people’s fear that the introduction of automation results in higher unemployment rates, research has proved that this doesn’t have to be the case.  After all, unemployment is currently at the lowest it’s been for years.

Whilst it’s true that there are some jobs that may become redundant, as automation technologies are implemented, there is still always the need for people to manage the complete production processes.  As your business grows due to better production, there will always be the need for more people in order to support that growth.

Automation, when implemented correctly actually has a positive impact on the working environment and we’ve even seen instances amongst our clients where implementing automation has been critical not only to help them grow their business, but it has actually meant that their business could stay in the market where it would otherwise have been at a competitive disadvantage. Read our blog ‘Does Automation Really Wreck People’s Lives and Cause Unemployment?’ for more details.

From the research we have done, we believe that automation is a key way that factories will be able to improve the working environment, and enable the UK to increase productivity and become the Innovation Powerhouse it needs to be.

 

To learn more about automation and the different types available, get in touch with the Granta Automation team of experts on helpline@granta-automation.co.uk or by calling 01223 499 488.

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Granta Update – July 2017 – Catch up on the Latest Automation News!

Ultimate Automated FactoryCatch up on the Latest Automation News from Granta

Owning the ‘Ultimate Automated Factory’ is something you need no longer just dream of!

Download your OEE calculator and RSI assessment tools.

Find out why our customer is 40% up on target.


land-with-a-bumpDo you Dream of Owning the Ultimate Automated Factory?

Picture your fully automated factory whirring and clicking day and night, churning out perfectly formed products 24/7. Self-sufficient machines running unmanned. What will happen to your profits? They’ll go shooting skywards…

But, as with all dreams, you land with a bump. You come back to reality and realise…

Read more >>


OEEDownload your OEE Calculator

To make it easier for you to calculate the OEE of your machinery or process we’ve created a downloadable OEE calculator.

All you need to do is download the calculator and then start analysing your process.

Click here to download >>


testimonialCustomer 40% Up on Target

Our automation projects speak for themselves…

This customer is 40% up on target after installation of a Granta Production Monitoring System.

Read on to find out what they have to say about it!

Read On >>


rsiDownload your RSI Assessment

All employees have a legal duty to try and prevent repetitive strain injuries from happening, and to ensure that anyone that already has the condition doesn’t get any worse.

Out quick, downloadable, RSI assessment will give you a basic idea of where you are likely to get RSI in your process.

Click here to download >>


 

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Do you dream of owning the Ultimate Automated Factory? Custom Automation may be Your Answer…

dream-

Picture your fully automated factory whirring and clicking day and night, churning out perfectly formed products 24/7.  Self-sufficient machines running unmanned.  What will happen to your profits?  They’ll go shooting skywards…

But, as with all dreams, you land with a bump.  You come back to reality, and realise that your production process is never going to be able to be fully automated.  You’ve looked into automation time without number and no automated machinery has yet been created that will deal with your bespoke and varied production process.  (You’ve even got a pile of failed automation solutions sitting out in your back yard to prove this). So you carry on, as you always have done, doing things the way they’ve always been done, but the vision of the Ultimate Automated Factory just won’t go away and you know there must be an answer out there somewhere.

Here we have it: Custom Automation!

Custom Automation enables dreams to become a reality.

Custom automation is exactly what it says.  The complete project is designed around you, what you want to achieve, and what existing machinery you want to incorporate into your automated process. But be careful, only custom automation supplied by a reputable automation company will enable you to take your production process to the ultimate automation levels you want to reach.

At Granta it is of paramount importance to us that the custom automation solutions we provide you with are explicitly suited to your needs, so for every automation project we first produce a Diaspec.

Our Diaspec process is unrivalled and registered. It is the optimum way to start any custom automation project as it ensure that the solution we provide you with will never end up on the scrap heap in your back yard.

Depending on the custom automation solution you are looking for, our Diaspec process will include the following as necessary:

  • Holding a brainstorming session with specialist automation engineers to generate the most effective ideas and solutions for your automation requirements.
  • Prototyping and testing concepts to establish the best method(s) of automating the process.
  • Obtaining accurate pricing for the optimum custom automation solution(s). This often includes joint visits with our customers to suppliers of specialist automation equipment (eg. robot suppliers).
  • Investigating design simplification and cost saving options to reduce the budgeted price as far as possible without compromising on the final quality or effectiveness of the solution. (We have regularly saved our customers significant amounts of money at this stage.)
  • Sharing our design ideas with you and discussing automation options to ensure that the final solution meets your specific requirements.
  • Drawing up outline designs for the agreed final option and producing a 3D animated CAD drawing of the solution (if required).

In short, with expert automation consultants using cutting edge technology, you receive a tried and tested blueprint for your project that you know will work.

There is no longer any need to just dream of owning the Ultimate Automated Factory!  Contact us on 01223 499488 or helpline@granta-automation.co.uk to make your dream a reality.

make your dream a reality

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