Robotization: How to maximize the benefits for your company?
For many years, companies based in Quebec and Canada have been facing a labour shortage as a result of recruitment constraints, and also because of the aging of the population. To address this situation, an increasing number of factories are integrating robotization into their work environments, up 275% between 2014 and 2019. This is, among other things, helping to restore the imbalance between job supply and demand. Furthermore, one in three Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SME) already use automation solutions, with a success rate of over 80%. Perhaps that can be you too! In addition to being an effective solution to workforce shortages, robotization can support the growth and production of your manufacturing business. Let us explain how.
1. What is robotization?
Robotization is an innovative technology that enables factory tasks to be performed in lieu of humans thanks to automated machines generally referred to as "robots". Though emerging in the health and security sectors, robotics is mostly used in the manufacturing industry, particularly in the automotive and aerospace sectors. This technology allows companies to optimize their performance according to its needs: manufacturing and parts assembly, labeling, sorting, loading, etc.
There are several types of robots on the market: AMRs (autonomous mobile robots), AGVs (automated guided vehicles), humanoids, articulated robots, cobots or hybrids.
How robots can be used in the manufacturing industry
In manufacturing, AMRs, AGVs and articulated robots are typically used to expedite production processes in factories. AMRs take decisions as they go, while AGVs function under the supervision of an operator. Alternatively, articulated robots replicate both linear and rotational functions. These three types of robots are valued for their ability to perform tasks efficiently and safely. Plus, AMRs and AGVs often perform the function of warehouse robots, improving the delivery speed, increasing the number of items handled and ensuring more accurate operations.
Various types of robotic programming to serve your industry
Automation systems vary depending on business needs. In many cases, several types of programming are used together to meet the target industry’s expectations. Here are some of them:
Teaching-based programming: this involves training the robot to perform a task by showing it how to do it directly, without using a formal programming language. This method can be useful to execute unpredictable tasks, but with a rapidly evolving market, it can have limitations in terms of execution complexity.
Motion-based programming: this allows the execution of precise and repetitive motions such as cutting, sanding, drilling, welding, engraving or assembling parts. This type of programming can be used in combination with vision programming, where robots are equipped with cameras and sensors to detect the parts to be machined and to orient the tools precisely. They can also be used with force control programming, which allows for specific pressures to be applied while machining parts, such as drilling complex contours.
CAD-CAM programming: With the help of software, this programming is used to create 3D models of parts or machining programs that enable the robot to create these parts from raw materials. A distinct advantage offered by this type of programming is its ability to be used for offline programming, meaning that robotic processes are developed without the physical presence of the robot and are only downloaded to the machine afterwards. This optimizes production by minimizing robot inactivity.
Robotics can also be coupled with other technologies to meet the various needs of the manufacturing industry. Combined with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, it can provide remote data recording, product or service tracking and tracing throughout the supply chain. This technology is especially prevalent in the retail, automotive and apparel industries.
Do you operate in a different way? Regardless of your industry, know that specific programming, alone or in combination, exists to assist your company in making its transition to robotics.
2. Robotization: what are the costs and benefits?
Investing in robotization can imply high costs that are not limited to the purchase and installation of the technology. These costs include training expenses, which require the training of qualified staff to work with the robots and adapt to the new processes. Operational costs are also involved in getting the machines up and running, as well as maintenance costs in the event of repairs.
The initial investment can therefore be very high, which is why defining the project carefully before launching it is imperative.
A multitude of benefits
The good news is that over the medium and long term, the benefits of robotization can largely offset the costs. For starters, robots can be implemented in a wide range of jobs, since they are programmed to perform a variety of complex tasks. Then, the quality of execution is always guaranteed: a robot performs repetitive and standardized actions of equal value over time. Also, a robot performs precise tasks, which reduces the volume of defective or non-conforming products. What's more, because robots can work 24 hours a day without requiring a break, the company gains in speed or in production volume, from 1.5 to 2 times the output worked! And, given that robotization generally occurs before assembly on the production line, it reduces the time spent on this operation. Finally, placing the machines in a closed and secured area limits the execution of dangerous gestures by employees. This in turn reduces the risk of accidents.
Ultimately, the automation of tasks made possible by robotization reduces production time which can result in increased productivity per square foot.
Investing in robotization represents a tremendous opportunity for any company looking to increase its bottom line.
3. How Createch and Automatech can help you make the most of robotization
Taking charge of your project from start to finish
With our approach to robotization, you will be able to create product workflows such that each of your operations can begin as soon as the previous one is completed, without interruption. We'll work with you to develop a comprehensive roadmap detailing all stages of the project. The result: you will be able to capture new market shares by increasing your production capacity.
Additionally, we are proficient in process, system and data re-engineering. We'll ensure that your initial investment remains effective throughout your transition to robotics. Should challenges, such as an outdated ERP system, impede the collection of information needed to prepare for integration, we will be there to assist you in organizing your data.
Finally, our company has positioned itself as an architect and conductor of digital transformation. We submit innovative solutions, materialize them by your side and anticipate the evolution of your needs by offering you a holistic and forward-looking view.
Tailored support in line with your needs
Createch handles the financial planning required to justify the costs of your company's technological transformation. We support you in managing the change on the ground and in training your teams. Additionally, we advise you on risk management and technological velocity: while it may be enticing to move fast, we are also there to ensure you do not overstep your capacity to integrate robotization.
4. Createch and Automatech: a winning partnership
Together, we merge two sectors of activity to help your company evolve: business process reengineering and robotic solutions. Our know-how is complementary and adapted to your needs.
With our extensive expertise in project management, process optimization and technology, Createch is involved in your project from start to finish: from defining the operational strategy and roadmap to implementation and preparation. We are also there to accompany you and track your success after the integration.
As for Automatech, they are experts in robotics and specialize in the transformation of wood, metal and stone. They are qualified to intervene in the optimization of the entire manufacturing flow, especially for companies that produce small batches.
When defining your project, we will identify and isolate the manual steps from those that can be robotized, to propose the best solution for your company, without incurring unnecessary costs.
Entrusting Createch-Automatech with your robotization project will propel you towards success and is the winning choice towards creating your smart factory.