In factory settings, the traditional business-application-based workflow is no longer as efficient as it used to be. In many cases, just-in-time, task-based workflows are emerging as more effective alternatives. By packaging tasks together and automating them through robotics and other forms of factory automation, we can create a more seamless workflow that is optimized for the factory setting.
The Traditional Application-Based Workflow
In the traditional factory setting, tasks are completed one at a time, in a linear fashion. This workflow is often referred to as business-application-based, because it relies on a series of applications to complete each task. For example, an operator might use a CAD application to design a part, followed by an NC application to generate tool paths, and then a CNC machine to actually manufacture the part.
While this workflow can be effective in some cases, it often leads to inefficiencies and bottlenecks. For one thing, it requires operators to switch between applications constantly, which can lead to errors and lost productivity. In addition, each application typically has its own data format, which means that data must be converted from one format to another every time an operator switches applications. This conversion process is often error-prone, and can result in lost or corrupted data.
The Task-Based Workflow
In contrast to the business-application-based workflow, the task-based workflow packages together all of the tasks required to complete a manufacturing job into a single, automated workflow. This workflow is often referred to as just-in-time, because it is designed to meet the specific needs of each job, and can be easily adapted to changes in demand.
One of the major benefits of the task-based workflow is that it eliminates the need for operators to switch between applications. Instead, all of the tasks required to complete a job are automated through factory automation equipment, such as robotics and CNC machines. This not only reduces errors and increases productivity, but also allows data to flow seamlessly between applications, without the need for conversion.
Transitioning to Task-Based Workflows
If you’re interested in transitioning to a task-based workflow in your factory, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, you’ll need to assess your current workflow and identify the tasks that could be automated. Next, you’ll need to purchase or lease factory automation equipment that is capable of completing those tasks. Finally, you’ll need to develop a plan for training your operators on the new workflow.
With the right planning and preparation, transitioning to a task-based workflow can be a smooth and seamless process. And once you’ve made the switch, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the benefits that come with it: increased productivity, decreased errors, and improved data flow. So what are you waiting for?