In order to ensure a successful transition to factory automation, it is important to plan ahead. You need to make sure that all aspects of the production process are accounted for, and that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with automation.
Layout: Current vs. Projected
One way to approach this is to map out your current production line, and then compare it to what you hope to achieve with automation. This will help you identify any gaps in your knowledge or planning, and will give you a clear goal to work towards.
Make sure to account for every stage of the production process, from raw materials all the way through to packaging and shipping. Consider how each task is currently performed, and how it could be improved with automation. For example, if you are currently manually loading raw material onto a conveyor belt, can an automated system be used instead?
Don’t forget about non-production related tasks as well, such as maintenance, quality control, and data collection. All of these things can be automated to some extent, and doing so can free up time and resources that can be better spent elsewhere.
Most importantly, if your automation is going to increase throughput, how are you planning to store the larger quantities of finished product coming out at a faster rate? Planning space for accumulation, casing and palletizing is vital to any automation planning.
Once you have a good understanding of what you want to achieve, you can start to put together a plan of action. This should include both short-term and long-term goals, as well as a timeline for implementation. Be realistic in your planning, and don’t try to do too much all at once. Automating your production line is a big undertaking, and it will take time and effort to get it right. Your automation will not arrive and immediately replace every process you’re running on day 1. There is always a learning curve.
If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available that can help you with the planning process. We specialize in factory automation, and can offer guidance and support throughout the implementation process.
If you take the time to plan for success, you’ll be well on your way to a successful transition to factory automation. With a little effort, you can reap all the benefits that automation has to offer.
Again, factory automation will not immediately replace every process on day one. There is always a learning curve when implementing new technology. If unsure where to start, connect with us and we’d be happy to explore how automation can support your operation.