What is Flexible Automation?
The definition of flexible automation is equipment that can be reconfigured for changes in product design and the changes to the processes the product needs to be completed. These systems are designed to fulfill the need for growth and can be easily scaled up or down depending on demand and process changes.
Companies are embracing new concepts and releasing more product lines to attract new customer segments. Knowing this, flexible automation has become more and more important to manufacturers. 74% of manufacturers and distributors are considering the implementation of flexible automation.
Benefits to Flexible Automation
When properly implemented and utilized, flexible automation systems give manufacturers the ability to quickly re-task equipment based on product changes. This works well for both high volume – low mix and low volume – high mix situations. Other benefits to flexible automation include:
- Minimize set-up times
- More output
- Better throughput
- Keep production costs fixed
- Equipment can adapt and be re-tasked on the fly
- Higher product quality with vision system integration
- Automation cells evolve with product changes
- Eliminate health, safety, and ergonomic issues
The Latest Technology
Utilizing some of the latest advances in automation technology will give you a leg up on your competition. Vision systems and sensors are a few of the most advanced technologies and can inspect parts earlier in production, and significantly increase quality. The use of the latest automation software makes it easy to entirely configure, program, and manage single and multi-robot system.
Flexible Automation Equipment:
- Robotic arms with 5-6 axis
- Interchangeable robot heads
- A series of sensors and program logic
- PCs with the latest automation software
- Automatic gripper and tooling changer for each part
- Advanced Vision systems for part locating and orientation & quality inspection
ROI & Cost
Because robot and automated systems are flexible in design, size, and functionality, they are increasing favored over traditional manual manufacturing operations. Flexible automation systems keep productions costs fixed no matter how many different parts are being manufactured.
Manufacturing for the Future
When considering an application to automate, think about the future growth and potential limitations. Whether it’s a large system or a single process application, your automation solutions should be flexible in design to handle future production.