Trends That Will Continue to Dominate the Manufacturing Industry in 2017

industrial-trends

The global economic expansion is one of the factors that encouraged the manufacturing industry worldwide to adopt new technologies and equipment designed to enhance productivity and overall factory performance. Implementing technological advances continuously helps companies achieve improved output, competitiveness, and customer care. In order to facilitate rapid change and trends, companies need to evaluate the impact, value potential, returns, and risk involved in investing in new technologies.

Given the rising demand for quality and the availability of state-of-the-art capabilities, it is inevitable to prepare for and materialize a more data-driven and connected manufacturing environment where all the activities are connected externally and internally. An easy access to information from operators and customers to factory executives will have a positive impact on productivity. Following are some of the trends that will continue to drive change in 2017:

Industrial robots

Over the last couple of decades, the use of automation technology has grown tremendously. Industrial demand and increased labor costs are the biggest factors driving industries to automate and streamline their production processes. China is one of the biggest consumers of multipurpose industrial robots in the world. According to International Federation of Robotics, the number of industrial robot shipments in China will rise from 75,000 in 2015 to 150,000 in 2018.

3d-printing

The role of robots in creating more efficient manufacturing operations has encouraged manufacturers to replace manual processes with automatic processes; dramatic results produced by factory robotics is an inspiration for industries which are still relying on manual processes. However, some experts are of the opinion that excessive use of automation will result in less innovation as only humans have the abilities to develop ideas that can enhance an existing process.

Industrial internet

The internet revolution is the new industrial revolution. The internet, since its inception, has completely changed the way we communicate, manufacture, buy or sell. The application of internet in the manufacturing facilities has demonstrated great potential in terms of overall production efficiencies. The power of internet to link machines, sensors, and humans can produce and process a great amount of valuable data. The ability of modern devices to process data and convert it into insights help, for instance, operators to monitor production variables and how these variables can influence the productivity.

Additive manufacturing

3D printing or additive manufacturing allows manufacturers to create highly accurate digital designs by building up layers of various materials. 3D printing technology, undoubtedly, is one of the great inventions of the 21st Century. Being a newly developed technology, 3D printing will continue to uncover its potential in prototype development and production processes.

Technological innovations and capabilities make industries think about the possible rewards and risks they can gain from it. However, a slow response to rapidly changing economic conditions can cost industries a fortune. Businesses should follow the prevailing trends and techniques quickly so that they can achieve substantial growth for a long period of time.

Manufacturers should consult the engineering solution providers that simplify technologies and break them down to easy-to-implement solutions. Being a leading automation engineering company in Canada, BP Automation strives to build highly profitable automation solutions including prototype development and automated machines.

The Role of Robots in Creating More Efficient Manufacturing Operations

The-Role-of-Robots-in-Creating-More-Efficient-Manufacturing-Operations

The production of industrial robots and automation systems has grown tremendously over the past few decades. Following the worldwide reduction in production cost and a boost in productivity, technology has completely reshaped the manufacturing operations. The automotive industry, for instance, is the leading consumer of industrial automation systems that enable them to produce high-quality cars at affordable rates. Being an inseparable part of today’s manufacturing industry, robots have taken over many of the sensitive production tasks that demand ultimate precision and repeatability. The blog post will discuss the way robots have transformed manufacturing operations all around the globe.

Almost half of the world’s automation technology is being used by the automotive industry. With an increase in consumer demand, the automation technology has expanded its scope and applicability. The automated production processes help manufacturers increase their profit potential and meet market expectations. Robotics improve the overall efficiency of a manufacturing process by creating efficient means of completing production tasks. Unlike humans, robots do not get tired and can work for days while meeting the quality and quantity requirements simultaneously. Modern industrial robots have the ability to adapt and take critical decisions during operations.

The industrial technology is evolving continuously and striving to meet the growing demand for quality. The nature of competition is changing both on national and international levels. Applications of technology in factories have created new opportunities for companies to explore new possibilities of serving the unique and ever-changing expectations.

Robots are valued in the manufacturing industry for a number of attributes: reliability, predictability, precision, repeatability, and imperviousness to hazardous environments. Robots come with certain limitations when we compare them with humans. Unlike humans, robots lack the ability to respond to unexpected circumstances and improve performance based on previous experience.

Existing uses of industrial automated devices involve repetitive programmable tasks including material handling, metal fabrication, spot welding, spray painting, and palletizing. The application of robots in standard industrial tasks can bring about dramatic results for manufacturers. In addition to becoming less expensive and complicated, next generation of robots would be able to perform a great number of tasks under less structured environment.

Robots have a broad range of potential applications in manufacturing because they are flexible and programmable. Sensor technology enables robots to hear, see, and feel the environment. These abilities are essential in quality control and measurement process.

Since the introduction of industrial robots in the 1960s, technology has improved immensely and continuously. Following are some of the benefits of robotics in terms of productivity:

  • Robots are capable of producing precise and high-quality work.
  • They can produce larger quantities of products in short period of time.
  • They improve the safety conditions in a facility.
  • They can perform in harsh environments where humans cannot operate.
  • They can be reprogrammed and used for producing varying products.

Companies now have realized that robots and other manufacturing technology offer golden opportunities to improve productivity dramatically. A sharp increase in the use of automated systems would change the way businesses evaluate their production and expansion plans. From precision machining and assembling to material handling, robots have been making things easier for manufacturers all around the globe. In North America and other developed parts of the world, companies like BP Automation have been providing economically viable engineering solutions to a wide range of industries. It is high time to unlock the next level of productivity by automating your manufacturing processes.

Automated Welding and its Benefits

Automated-Welding-and-its-Benefits

The use of industrial automation technology has been growing rapidly because of the higher productivity and profitability it generates. Welding is one of the complex manufacturing processes. According to stats, half of the world’s robots are used for welding operations. The advancements in industrial technology now enable us to automate almost every welding operation. The automated welding system can help businesses get rid of the ineffective manual process and increase the quality of their product.

Categories

We can divide the automated welding processes into two categories: fully automatic and semi-automatic. In fully automatic welding operation, a custom-built device performs almost every aspect of an operation from loading and indexing to quality control and unloading. On the other hand, in a semi-automatic setup, an operator manually loads the workpiece and a weld controller organizes the operation in accordance with preset parameters. After completion, the operator unloads the workpiece.

Objectives

In order to effectively streamline the welding processes in a facility, assemblers have to devise a strategy to evaluate the objectives, issues, limitations, and possible solutions. Following are some of the questions that can help you determine the need and importance of an automated welding system in your facility:

  • Does quality matter in your business?
  • What are the consequences if an end customer receives a substandard product?
  • What are the issues that can be resolved with automation technology?
  • What level of automation does your production system need?
  • How much can you afford to invest in order to optimize your welding operations?

Benefits

Automation is of immense significance when a manufacturer cannot compromise on quality as well as the quantity. Semi-automatic technology can be ideal for companies that require limited quantities of high-quality products. Automated welding systems offer the following benefits:

1. Increased productivity

With an ability to produce up to five times faster than humans and move quickly between the joints, a robotic welding system can bring about a dramatic increase in output.

2. Repeatability

Humans can perform welding tasks to a certain limit. On the other hand, robots can perform the same tasks continuously for days without compromising the quality.

3. Safety

Manual welding involves a number of health risks; exposure to toxic gases and fumes can cause serious health issues. Robotic welding improves the overall safety conditions in a facility.

4. Reduction in weld distortion

Automated systems are programmed to correctly size the welds without causing expansion or contraction in surrounding metal during heating and cooling process.

5. Competitive advantage

Automation technology gives manufacturers a competitive advantage by allowing them to deliver quality products in a limited time period.

6. Reduce consumables

Manual welding can lead to larger welds resulting in wastage of time and resources. Automatic machines are programmed to always weld to the right size and length that reduces energy consumption and increases productivity.

Automation technology has revolutionized almost every industrial process, from manufacturing to human resource management. If you are looking to stay competitive and successful in the long run, automate your welding operations to achieve quantity and quality at the same time.

Before purchasing a robotic welding system, select a supplier that has the required resources, skills, and technology to deliver the custom-built welding systems that align well with your production processes. BP Automation, in Canada, designs and manufactures high-quality custom welding and other automation solutions; visit their website or automaton facilities in Canada and US if you need help regarding your automation needs.

Factors That Influence The Growth Of Industrial Automation

Factors-That-Influence-The-Growth-Of-Industrial-Automation

The impact of automation technology is already being felt by most of the growing countries. Following the falling prices of automated tools, the number of industrial robots has increased worldwide over the past few years. Despite the technological advances, it would probably take decades to materialize full adoption of industrial automation. Following are some of the factors that influence the speed and growth of industrial automation across the world.

Technical aspects

The nature of work and production processes vary from business to business. Custom automated tools have to be manufactured and integrated into a system in order to perform varying workplace activities. A technology can only be integrated into a system when machines have the capabilities to perform certain tasks effectively. Moreover, industries require skilled labor to run the advanced production machines. Machines can match or outperform humans on a number of capabilities. At the same time, many other capabilities still need to be developed and adopted. A more refined man-machine communication can really help uncover the full potential of industrial technology.

The cost of automation

It requires financial resources to engineer and adopt automation technology. Industrial hardware solutions, from PLCs to intelligent robots that can perform various activities with arms, require dexterity. Quality control tools like inspection cameras and sensors are an inseparable part of an automated production system. These aspects increase the cost of automation for businesses, making it difficult for them to make a good use of technology. As compared with wages, automation has a high initial cost. However, with the passage of time, the cost of technology declines that allows small and medium-size businesses to adopt innovative production solutions.

Labor market

Manufacturers have to compare the cost of automation and labor in order to make a choice. For instance, food processing industry has high automation potential, but the decision to adopt automation will need to consider the cost of manual processing, the abundance of people who are willing to work, benefits that automation can produce, and the nature of competition.

Performance benefits

The deployment of automated systems can bring a number of performance benefits for businesses. The benefits might vary depending on a number of factors. Some of the common advantages of automation that almost every company enjoy include:

  • Greater throughput
  • High-quality products
  • Improved safety conditions
  • Higher productivity
  • Competitive edge

Let’s take the example of welding operations to understand the benefits of automation technology. Industries which deploy robotic welding can produce high and same quality welds over and over again while minimizing the error factor and labor cost. We know that robots have the capability to completely outperform humans in terms of precision, repeatability, and output.

The relative cost of automation can be small as compared with results that it can produce in the long run. Industries with manual production processes are likely to go obsolete in the next few years following the rapid adoption of automation worldwide.

The Elements of Industrial Automation And Future Challenges

The-Elements-of-Industrial-Automation-And-Future-Challenges

The hyper-competitive industrial environment frequently comes up with new challenges for manufacturers. These challenges generally revolve around the efficiency and capacity of an automated industrial system to meet the emerging market expectations. In order to remain competitive, businesses are not only turning to industrial automation to improve production efficiencies and economies of scale but also improving the existing automation technology continuously.

Advances in the industrial technology such as the development of intelligent machines, robots, and machine learning are reshaping the modern automation as machines are now capable of outperforming human capabilities in a wide range of work activities. Automating industrial processes allows businesses to improve productivity by eliminating or reducing error factor and improving the accuracy and quality of work. In fact, automated devices can achieve outcomes that are beyond human capacity. Let’s examine four factors that connect with each other in order to form an industrial automation system.

Industrial sensors and control devices

Industrial sensors and control systems, being an integral part of industrial automation, plays a vital and diverse role in evaluating the information and data related to measurement, temperature control, pressure measurement, weight, speed, etc. With every passing year, the industrial sensors and other control devices are getting more sophisticated and intelligent.

Human-machine interface (HMI)

There is certainly a communication channel in an automated facility system that allows humans to monitor or run an industrial system and that channel is called human-machine interface, a device that sets up human-machine interaction. HMI is a combination of hardware and software that builds a communication channel between machines and operators. It is also called man-machine interface (MMI).

Programmable logic controller (PLC)

Programmable logic controllers are industrial digital computers that work almost in the same fashion as personal computers do. However, PLCs can work in a hazardous environment. PLCs are processor-based systems that take inputs and communicate it with the entire production unit and then present the output to human operators. PLCs can control the entire manufacturing process while ensuring quality and great precision.

Motor control units

In automation, all component in a system are connected to each other with a central controlling unit or programmable logic controller. Motor drives respond physically to the instructions of PLC and perform the required action using other devices.

These four components, if employed appropriately, can produce incredible results in forms of precision, quality, and accuracy.

Industrial automation Future challenges

Technology is continuously and rapidly transforming industrial processes. It is sometimes hard for businesses to integrate a new technology into an existing system. It requires professional expertise and training to run a newly introduced system. However, with the growing demand for sophisticated and high-quality products, businesses have to quickly adapt and utilize the power of emerging automation systems.

The nature of manufacturing processes varies from business to business and that escalates the need for custom automation solutions. Every business needs a cost-effective automated system that can help improve the overall efficiency of a production process. Automation companies, like BP Automation in Canada, provide custom machines and automation technology in order to help businesses meet their future manufacturing challenges in a cost-effective manner.

The Importance of Automated Inspection and QC Systems

The-Importance-of-Automated-Inspection-and-QC-Systems

Automation technology has already transformed the way industrial processes are run. Inspection, measurement, or quality control (QC) is an inseparable part of a production process. The QC process ensures that a certain level of quality is being maintained throughout the production process. Taking into account the intensity of market competition, inspecting every item manually is an obsolete and ineffective technique. The implementation of automated QC systems certainly helps manufacturers improve overall product quality and business growth.

There are companies which still employ technicians and operators to inspect and measure small groups of products. The forward-looking businesses use machine vision and other automated control systems to manage their QC affairs in a cost-effective way. The automated inspection and measurement systems can be as simple as small cameras and sensors integrated into existing production units.

Large manufacturing plants use custom-designed inspection systems that perform quality control processes at large scale and with great precision and speed. In food processing, for example, the function of an automated inspection system is to ensure that the food items in a group are consistent in size and shape. The use of right technology makes the inspection and measurement operations quick and cost-effective. Following are two major advantages of automating your quality control process.

Consistent and improved product quality

Automated measurement and QC systems allow you to achieve accurate, fast, and repeatable output. The factor of human error can be completely eliminated from the system. Errors are inevitable when humans perform inspection related tasks repeatedly; manual inspection is labor intensive and full of errors. Machine vision cameras can inspect a number of features on total items produced in as little as one second. Similarly, laser sensors perform micro-level measurements with incredible accuracy without contacting the part. This is how automation can help you improve the product quality.

Reduced production costs

As the demand for a product increases, manufacturers have to add more labor in order to maintain the desired production rate. In the case of complex products, additional technicians and operators are required to run a production process at a certain speed. On the other hand, automated measurement and quality control systems are a one-time investment that yields excellent results for a long period of time, reducing the overall production costs.

Automation is of great help when it comes to producing quality products at a rapid pace. It would be very difficult for manufacturers to survive the future without implementing advanced industrial technology as customer expectations and demand for high-quality products is rising with the passage of time. If you are looking to enhance your measurement and quality control processes, it’s time to embrace automation technology and eliminate inefficiencies from the production system.

The Application of Robots in Standard Industrial Tasks

The-Application-of-Robots-in-Standard-Industrial-Tasks

Robots have assumed a very crucial role in the present-day industrial processes. Industrial automation is playing a key role in helping manufacturers achieve the desired level of precision and productivity. However, the growing demand for intelligent and flexible automation solutions drives modern machine builders to build robots or automated machines that can meet the ever-changing industrial needs. Technological advancements and innovation have made automation within the reach of small businesses.

Robots can be programmed to perform dangerous and repetitive tasks with great precision and speed. This is why the number of industrial applications of robots is rising with every passing year. We can classify industrial robot tasks into following categories:

  • Displacement and processing (continuous welding, cutting, parts assembly etc.)
  • Quality control and inspection
  • Loading/unloading objects

A simple programmable automated device can perform a great number of tasks, from material handling and welding to vehicle assembly. Following are some of the industrial applications of robots.

Food processing

The food industry is increasingly adopting robots for food handling and packaging. Manual food processing consumes a great deal of time and the probability of errors is high. On the other hand, automation can make food processing highly efficient and fast. Following are some of the advantages of streamlining food processing with robots:

  • Robots can handle food products with great speed and precision
  • Quality can be ensured throughout the production process
  • Automation reduces production costs
  • Automation helps minimize process interruption

Metal fabrication

Robotic metal fabrication devices are used to enhance quality, consistency, speed, and efficiency of fabrication processes such as cutting, milling, cladding, and hardfacing. Robotic welding, for instance, is employed to perform high-quality welds without wasting too much time and inputs. Here are some of the benefits of robotic metal fabrication:

  • Manufacturing flexibility
  • Reduction in capital and operating costs
  • Repetitive and consistent welds
  • Reduced post-weld distortion and gas consumption
  • Improved workplace safety

Material handling

Robotic material handling can streamline some of the most tedious, mundane, and dangerous work in a production line. The material handling processes include loading, unloading, packing, palletizing, and part selection. Automation offers benefits to industries that move heavy parts at a large scale. Some of the benefits of automating material handling are:

  • Reduced loading and unloading time
  • Material handling bots are reliable
  • Minimal changeover time
  • Automation reduce injury risks

Assembly

When it comes to putting parts together, automation technology can perform way better than humans. Assembly line bots lower production costs while improving quality and production efficiencies. Robots are flexible and can easily be reconfigured depending on the nature of work. They can handle tiny parts that are too small to be handled by humans. This is why most of the products are designed for automatic assembly machines. The automotive industry is probably the biggest consumer of assembly robots.

The use of robotic automation has increased significantly over the past few years, mainly due to highly flexible, cost competitive, and user-friendly interfaces. Automation technology has completely revolutionized the manufacturing processes and become imperative to industries that are struggling to remain competitive and profitable.

Industrial Automation: A Path to Flexibility and Competitiveness

Industrial-Automation

Automated industrial machines have been helping manufacturers achieve superior accuracy, speed, and productivity over the last few decades. The growing customer needs and the demand for flexibility, fast turnover, and efficiency in production processes have driven industrialists to adopt robots and other automation means. With the unprecedented growth in the worldwide population, manufacturing has become a vital part of the fast growing economies. The term automation is repeatedly used when it comes to the modern manufacturing processes.

A manufacturer living in the 21st century cannot think of achieving market competitiveness and high productivity without bringing in technology and innovation in his production process. Successful companies generally have the ability to move forward in a coordinated way and respect the market trends. This is how the competitiveness of a product or service is determined.

Can robots help companies achieve flexibility and competitiveness in their manufacturing processes? Can automation help manufacturers produce variants of a product or customize the existing products in order to cater the varying global needs? Companies can program their automated machines or robots to perform multiple tasks and produce a number of products without any heavy investment. Diverse industrial technology and machine-to-machine communication certainly enable businesses to achieve their objectives related to adaptability and market competitiveness.

The role of automation in expanding the operational footprints of a company has become more crucial than ever. Automation can help businesses withstand the growing pressure of transportation, wages, and other costs related to international trade. This is the reason why most of the developed countries are increasingly accepting automation as a way to counter rising wages and meet production needs.

The demand for industrial automation is driven by the pressure to respond quickly to the customer expectations and needs. Industries have to set up production processes quickly in order to stay competitive in the market. This is the reason why robots are being built with the capabilities to perform complex tasks. Following are some of the industrial processes that can be automated to achieve greater productivity and competitiveness:

  • Metal fabrication (cutting, milling, welding, sawing, etc.)
  • Product development (prototyping)
  • Food processing
  • Material handling
  • Assembling
  • Workholding
  • Additive processes
  • Measurement and quality control

Automation technology has been playing a leading role in reshaping the manufacturing processes all around the globe. From improving the existing conditions of industrial infrastructure to installing new production units, automation will enable you to handle the growing demand for adaptability and quality.

The Rise of Industrial Robots

The Rise of Industrial Robots

Robots have completely revolutionized manufacturing processes all around the globe. They are capable of performing repetitive and onerous tasks, such as metal fabrication, with an unprecedented level of precision and speed. In addition to this, robots are now equipped with human capabilities like memory, sensing, trainability, and dexterity. Resultantly, they are taking on more sophisticated jobs including packaging, electronics assembling, testing, and inspection. That is why robots are given the name ‘intelligent industrial work assistants’.

As the cost of automation technology continues to fall, small and medium-sized companies are increasingly embracing the technology to automate their manufacturing processes. The rise of robots is not just about increased affordability. The pursuit of achieving greater efficiencies and reduced labor force injuries are some of the factors that are driving the demand for industrial automation solutions.

With all the new opportunities and options robots have brought about for manufacturers, there are a few questions which need to be addressed. Is there a way robots can be used in applications that human workforce is unable to undertake? Is industrial automation economically viable and practical solution to achieve sustainability? Do robots generate unemployment? If yes, is there any plan to move displaced workers to other jobs?

Most of the industries in the US and other developed parts of the world has already put robots on work. However, rest of them cannot go for automation because of the initial cost, expertise, and skills required to operate industrial robots. Industrialists are of varying opinion when it comes to automation. In the US, more than 35% manufacturers are of the opinion that robots will create new job opportunities. Around 65% of manufacturers are using robotic technology and 25% of manufacturers believe that they don’t need to automate their production processes.

It is not entirely true that robots are deployed in order to reduce the number of workers. Most of the time companies use robots to improve production and product quality. There are certain production tasks that are too difficult to carry out by humans. Therefore, industrialists use automated systems to achieve their production objectives.

The automotive industry witnessed a sharp rise in the use of robots over the past few years. In fact, the greatest demand came from the automotive industry following the electrical and electronics industries. In the US, the automotive industry installed more than 60,000 robots between 2010 and 2015. At the same time, the increasing use of industrial robots created more job opportunities in the manufacturing processes. Within the food and pharmaceutical industries, packaging applications have been the major focus of robotics.

Following the wave of digital transformation and automation, it would be easy for automated industries to meet the growing demand for quality and quantity in their manufacturing processes.