Industrial buildings are highly complex units that include different processes and systems. The efficiency with which the components are integrated will influence the functionality, productivity, and optimum use of the resources allocated to the manufacturing unit. Several inputs are used in each industrial unit such as materials, energy, equipment and tools, know-how, human expertise, money, and information.
Using automated processes and artificial intelligence, it is possible to maximize the use of these resources. The availability of innovative technologies and the IoT have effectively changed the way industrial buildings perform. As the owner, you absolutely must adopt the latest systems to promote productivity, keep costs down, and maintain product quality and innovation to stay ahead of the competition. Read ahead to understand how.
Should you choose to integrate robotic and automation processes, you’ll optimize repetitive, routine, and time-centric procedures and speed up the administrative and production processes. In this way, you’ll shorten the go-to-market time lapse. Depending on robots will help minimize human errors and ensure greater compliance with rules and regulations while increasing agility in operations. Here are some of the tasks for which you can use automation, robots, and software.
The administrative and managerial aspects of your business can be easily handled with the help of software and automation. You can also use robots and automated tools to assist in storing inventory and finished products, manufacturing, and packaging aspects.
Before integrating automation into your manufacturing unit, you’ll start with a detailed evaluation of the building’s structure. If needed, you’ll reorganize the machinery and processes to ensure the smooth movement of materials and components from storage to the production floor. Coordination and communication are also essential during the sub-assembly and assembly processes right up to the time the product is packaged and stored or readied for transportation out of the unit’s premises.
As part of the organization process, you’ll hire industrial painting services to promote efficiency and productivity. Aside from brand logos, you’ll also use paint for line striping and segregating paths for foot traffic and the movement of inventory, tools, equipment, and finished goods. Painting signages, precautionary messages, wayfinders, and safety markers on the floors and walls streamlines the processes and helps avoid backups. If you operate a large production unit with complex workflows, the right painting can improve efficiency and eliminate errors.
Automating processes include digitization of the entire unit by adopting computers, the internet, and robots that can mass-produce, high-grade products. Cyber-physical systems (CPS) are also part of the automation process, which includes operating machines using computer-controlled protocols. You’ll achieve lower energy costs, better customer satisfaction, and optimum usage of materials. Maintaining product quality and maximizing profits are only some of the other advantages.
The entire unit from the top down can be transformed into a single, smart process using the Industry Internet of Things (IIoT). The connected devices communicate data to a single central system that analyses the information and maintains their proper functioning. The interconnected network integrates sensors, terminals, input/output points, and edge devices, thus converting the production unit into an “intelligent” work environment. You might also call this Totally Integrated Automation or TIA that integrates simulation tools to conduct testing and diagnostics from time to time to ensure maximum productivity.
The network provides relevant and up-to-date data to assist in evaluating what works well and how the workflows can be improved and refined in real-time and over an extended time. Since the systems are mechanized, the minimum of human involvement is needed.
You can choose from automation according to the kind of products you manufacture. You’ll go with programmable processes if you produce goods in small batches where each batch is customized and altered according to client specifications. Each operation is controlled by a new program configured into the machine’s computer. The system reads the program and follows instructions to deliver items as needed. You can always enter a new program into the automation to change the product design. A few good examples of programmable automation include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Computer Numerical-Controlled (CNC) machine tools, and industrial robots, among others.
Fixed or hard automation employs a single process or assembly to produce large quantities of the products without the need for changes and alterations. The machines are assembled and configured with a singular objective or application. Some good examples include automated material, inventory, and product handling, and streamlined transfers. Assembling products with an array of components can also be accomplished with hard automation. Choosing these systems is highly beneficial since you can economize on per unit costs and expect high productivity levels quickly.
You’ll invest in soft automation to continuously produce various products or different kinds of parts with a minimum loss of time for changeovers. You might consider soft or flexible automation to be a variant of programmable automation. Altering the setup or reprogramming the system can be quickly done by making configuration changes, and you can expect a medium production rate. Use this automation form to complete tasks like welding, drilling holes, sanding, inserting screws, fitting rivets, and spray painting product components quickly.
Having organized your production unit, you’ll move on to the essential equipment and protocols needed to clean and maintain the premises. Dirt, spills, and both minor and major wear and tear are a part of the day-to-day activities. You must undertake regular cleaning to stay compliant with health and safety regulations and prevent the risks of trips and falls. A clean and well-maintained workplace environment also fosters productivity and employee morale. Accordingly, you’ll invest in heavy-duty cleaning equipment and supplies and assign sections of the unit to each employee through Preventative Maintenance.
Set up regular cleaning schedules and hold workers accountable for neatening and clearing away debris in their workplace. Setting aside 10 minutes at the end of each shift for cleaning is an effective way to ensure the unit is ready for the next day’s work. You could get sweeper and disk brush attachments for forklifts that enable workers to clean up larger sections in the shortest time possible. As for maintaining the lawns outside the facility, employ robot lawn mowers that can be configured to maintain the grasses at the desired length. These nifty devices don’t need charging or supervision, but can be totally automated to self-charge at the charging stations you set up for them.
Depending on the industry you work in and the products you manufacture, you could opt for predictive maintenance procedures. You need not wait for the end of the workday to carry out inspection and upkeep. Instead, you’ll integrate real-time condition monitoring with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In other words, you’ll adopt a proactive approach to identify and resolve potential issues before they result in expensive breakdowns and production delays. Predictive maintenance can be done while the unit is functioning at full capacity and effectively prevents the need for extended downtime and loss in revenues.
Mobile integration is a speedy and user-friendly strategy to access information about the systems and ensure their proper functioning on the go. Monitoring and tweaks can be made quickly with the tap of a finger or a side swipe of the thumb. Mobile accessibility helps you save time, labor, costs, and the need for extensive maintenance. You’ll enable identifying potential issues and resolving them from a remote location without the need to be present onsite. Invest in and take advantage of the flexibility and interconnectivity between mobile apps and the hardware used in the manufacturing unit.
Automation processes have effectively altered the manufacturing and work environment drastically. New industry-wide protocols are being employed thanks to the extensive and in-depth research being conducted into automation and how robots and computers can be used in production. Stay ahead of the competition by delivering on-schedule, exceptional-grade products with easy customization. You’ll maximize the use of resources and energy while lowering the go-to-market time lapse. Automation has easily become indispensable for the long-term success of any industrial building.