Using Robotics for Manufacturing
Posted by Clarion Safety Systems | 11th Nov 2019
How Innovations in Robotics Improve Workflow
In every industry, productivity is key in taking great care of customers and elevating business. Advances in technology, robotics specifically, have increased workflow possibilities, especially in industrial operations. Learn more about how robotics innovations can take your business operations to the next level and beyond – and where safety comes into play.
Robotics and Job Replacement
You and your employees may be somewhat worried that utilizing automation for manufacturing and other tasks may eliminate the need for flesh and blood employees. While it’s 100% possible that automation will replace some jobs (even some fields) in the future, for now, the goal is for robotic automation to handle repetitive tasks employees currently handle. Such tasks aren’t very challenging, as your employees may openly tell you, which means they can easily and quickly lead to job dissatisfaction.
By switching to more automated processes, employees have more opportunities to partake in tasks that truly engage their minds and let them flex their creative-thinking and problem-solving muscles. Employees can uncover skills they may have never been aware of, skills that may have remained hidden had it not been for robotic automation. Think of how those skills could benefit employee careers and your business overall.
Supporting Human Tasks through Robotics for Manufacturing
Touching back on the connection between automation and employees, one use for robotics is to handle tasks deemed too repetitive for workers. Additionally, some tasks are a bit too complex for employees, which negatively impacts overall productivity. In the insurance industry, automation can compute massive amounts of data necessary for claims, and robotics has been used in the legal industry to catalog discovery paperwork.
Another way robotics helps employees is through the implementation of AI, or artificial intelligence. This particular type of automation utilizes its predictive abilities to create solutions, make decisions and boost overall processes.
Reduced Labor Costs
Utilizing robotics as a means of process improvement for manufacturers leads to lower labor costs. This is because automation processes increase overall worker output. Taking this idea a step further, robotics also allows companies to remain more competitive. This can make it easier for smaller or medium-sized businesses to remain competitive with bigger companies that have operated longer.
Just like more experienced workers can show new employees how to accomplish a task as efficiently as possible without sacrificing overall quality, the same can be said of robotic automation. Robots can compile data as they complete a task, allowing them to figure out how to streamline that task into fewer steps while still getting the job done. If necessary, employees can take note of how the machine performs the job and possibly modify it, if necessary, to replicate the same results.
Reduce Overall Error
When mistakes are made, employees have to go back and start the process all over again from the beginning, cutting into overall productivity. When properly programmed, robots don’t make those same mistakes, which can also potentially help to better ensure materials are not wasted. Something else to think about is that robots don’t have to take breaks, they don’t lapse into boredom or complacency, nor do they make simple errors like reading directions wrong.
Collaboration and Progress Tracking
Teamwork is a huge part of keeping things moving and on schedule. That means employees have to enter the necessary information, take care of important duties and keep coworkers informed and updated about their progress. One employee can stagger overall progress for everyone, leaving employees scrambling to catch up. Also, lagging employees can lead to workplace conflict and bad blood between employees. Through automation, this particular teamwork aspect is streamlined; employers don’t have to worry about sending employees reminders or gentle nudges to keep them on track.
Collaboration is made much easier when there’s no doubt that all the entered information is accurate, allowing employees to proceed without hesitation. This is another way in which automation helps employees perform their jobs better rather than replacing employees outright.
For all its benefits, businesses have to think about how automation fits their business and workflow to truly make the most of the technology. The way to do this is to focus on common tasks that are repetitive, require little in the way of mental engagement and call for total accuracy. Asking for employee input is a great way to cover all the bases. It could take a bit of tweaking here and there to determine how to make the most of automation and its capabilities; robots have to be trained just like humans.
Automation and Safety
While many feel that embracing automation as well as AI may actually make today’s workplaces safer, it’s important to think about the safety repercussions. Conveyors, for example, drastically cut down on production time and boost efficiency, but there are risks involved with their use. Conveyors often have many moving parts and other potential hazards that can cause injury, like roll offs, auto starting, fall hazards and pinch points. Training employees to safely use conveyors and incorporating conveyor industry labels, signs and tags in your facility is the optimal way to increase safety while benefiting from the convenient automation of complex conveyor systems.
Clarion Safety can meet all of your manufacturing facility’s label, sign and tag needs – including compliance with OSHA/ANSI, ISO or other important standards and regulations. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help with your specific requirements – or create your own label, sign and tag right online with our easy-to-use custom product designers!