Your main goal as a production manager is to produce the highest quantity of goods (or services) with the lowest quantity of resources. To achieve this while also maintaining high quality is of course, the actual challenge.
The extent to which automation is implemented in production lines can change the overall output and quality level. Here’s how:
Robots decrease production cycle times
Cycle time is the time taken to carry out a production process from start to finish. It can be reduced by eliminating processes which do not greatly alter the product or replacing inefficient tools with more efficient ones. As a production manager, you generally want to ensure that you keep cycle times to the barest minimum.
Since cycle time is the sum of the production time and the waiting time (between two sub-production processes), robotic automation can have a huge impact in reducing it.
If your processes run on robots already, it means the production time is already being reduced to a minimal level since robots are fast and can work round the clock. However, implementing an easy-to-use robot teaching solution like Wandelbots Teaching, provides an added advantage in terms of reducing waiting time. By enabling your existing shop floor workers to teach robots new skills themselves within minutes, waiting times become optimised as well, thereby reducing overall cycle times.
For production managers who do not yet use robots on their assembly lines, automation would lead to a decrease in production time as well as waiting time (if your robots run on Wandelbots).
Robots increase flexibility in production
If the nature of your products changes from time to time, then your assembly line must have the capacity to manage the frequency of the changes.
In the past, this point has been described more as a challenge than as a benefit because of the complexity of programming a robot to carry out a new skill. Technically, you would have had to wait for weeks, or even months and spend a lot of money on hiring a robot programming expert each time the nature of your product changes.
However, that is no longer the case. With no-code robotics tools, such as Wandelbots Teaching, everyone, including the existing shopfloor workers can teach robots new skills on their own. This means that regardless of how often a new process is required, the workforce on your assembly line (robots and humans) will be always equipped to meet the requirement.
Robots increase overall productivity
Depending on the nature of products, certain aspects of a production cycle are often repetitive and do not require the high-level cognitive abilities of humans.
Automating such processes with robots can enhance productivity, since robots have a reliability of up to 88 percent. Higher reliability implies lower downtime meaning that robots do not need to ‘rest’ for so long over their entire lifecycles.
If robots do the monotonous tasks, the human work force within your assembly line can focus on other creative and meaningful tasks such as planning, supervising and controlling. This way, the cognitive abilities of humans can be combined with the high reliability of robots in order to maximize productivity.
Robots can improve quality of your products
In an attempt to reduce cycle times manually, there might often be a trade-off between speed and quality. This is because when humans are tasked with carrying out repetitive activities at an increased speed and over a long period of time, errors may occur. Therefore, quality cannot be guaranteed in this manner.
Robotic automation on the other hand, presents a win-win situation in that an increased speed can be achieved without negatively affecting the accuracy of the process and the quality of the products. In several processes, robotic automation increases quality and accuracy since robots are consistent in their actions (processes).
Robotic automation has several benefits for your daily work as a production manager. It affects your main goals such as optimal productivity and flexibility, minimal cycle times and high quality. Also, since robots can carry out several monotonous tasks quickly, more humans become available to carry out creative and fulfilling tasks. Automation is great but automating the right way, with the right solutions ensures that you unlock the full benefits.
Wandelbots Teaching solution empowers everyone to work with robots, regardless of prior robotic knowledge. Once the software runs on a robot, it enables countless possibilities to operate and optimise robotic applications easily. Wandelbots makes robotic automation easy for everyone, including production managers.