Combating Rising Manufacturing Costs with Robots
Over the past several years there has been a major shift in manufacturing from mostly manual processes to more automated systems. In the past year the trend of robotic automation in manufacturing has only accelerated. Many companies have reached an inflection point, realizing they can no longer afford not to automate with industrial robots. In years prior, manual labor was considered less expensive than implementing and maintaining a robotic system, but that has changed. Manufacturing costs are on the rise. Workers are demanding higher salaries as material costs and utility costs are increasing and, in some cases, rapidly. On the other hand, the price to implement a robotic system has actually decreased making it possible for companies to earn an appealing ROI for mass automation while combating rising manufacturing costs. There are now many factories in which industrial robots out number workers and some are even fully automated. The implementation of industrial robots in manufacturing can help reduce costs in the following ways:
- • Conserve Materials - The cost of raw materials has been on the rise in just about every industry. With the cost of materials running higher it is more important to reduce waste. Industrial robots can conserve materials and use only what is necessary through their high repeatability and accuracy. Replacing workers with a FANUC R-2000ic/165F eliminates the chance of human error which is the main contributor to wasted materials. With robotic automation defects, flaws, errors, and rework are all prevented helping to cut down on the number of materials used and therefore reducing material costs. The high repeatability of the Yaskawa Motoman MA1440 not only conserves materials but also allows material use to become predictable since all products are manufactured the exact same. This helps to prevent under or overestimating raw materials.
- • No Additional Expenditures - The main cost involved with an industrial robot is the initial purchase price. With articulated robots, additional expenditures such as healthcare, salary, or insurance are significantly reduced especially if moving to a high automation system. The cost to buy a robotic system has been declining as robot demand and technology has increased. Second-hand robots are an even more cost-effective option for automation. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic and ABB 4600 are two excellent industrial robots that can be purchased on the used robot market.
- • Use Less Utilities - Utility costs can also be reduced by automating with robots. Many newer robots are designed to be energy efficient, using less electricity than other manufacturing machines. Six axis robots can also operate in dim or no lighting without heat or air conditioning. Large factories can be expensive to light and heat or cool, so implementing industrial robots can help reduce utility bills.
- • Faster Cycle Times - We have all heard the saying “Time is money,” and unfortunately in manufacturing it is true. The more time it takes to build a product it is likely the costs will be higher. Robots operate at much faster speeds than humans and for longer hours. They can reduce cycle times, completing products in less time than their human counterparts. Taking less time to manufacture products increases productivity and allows goods to reach more consumers in less time. Reducing manufacturing time allows for increased profit potential.