Customers seek consistency and quality. Automation helps companies deliver both of these by eliminating the repetitive and dull tasks often done by humans.
Robots, automated cells and bar feeders perform the manufacturing process more consistently than human machinists, ensuring better quality control and less waste. Additionally, many automation solutions are fully integrated into warehouse management systems, allowing outside stakeholders to monitor inventory in real-time.
Order picking is crucial when items are selected from warehouse inventory to fulfill customer orders. Automated picking systems streamline this process for better productivity and reduced labor costs.
When an operator scans a pick list, it activates a robot or automated system that retrieves the desired product from a storage location and then brings it to the order picker for selection. This type of automation reduces travel time, eliminates dead times and increases picking accuracy.
Pick and place automation can improve efficiency by selecting products from a conveyor line or tote and placing them in shipping receptacles ready for outbound freight. This can also remove the need for additional quality control steps by eliminating the need to check each shipment’s contents manually. This system for auto logistics is especially useful in temperature-controlled environments like cold stores.
Assembly line automation allows manufacturers to streamline production processes and increase efficiency and quality. It reduces human error, improves product consistency, and cuts production time to market, resulting in greater business profitability.
Robotics and conveyor systems are the most common forms of assembly line automation. These solutions require less manpower than manual lines and eliminate the potential for worker fatigue and error. They are also safer to use in dangerous applications.
Continuous motion automation increases production speed by eliminating the wasted time starting and stopping machines. It can also reduce the number of parts needed to complete a task, reducing overall costs and the time it takes to assemble a PCB. In addition, integrating data analytics with automated systems helps identify issues and perform maintenance before they cause significant downtime or quality issues. The same engineers who test and qualify automation equipment before shipment can also assist with on-site start-up and commissioning.
A streamlined shipping process means less time spent filling out paperwork and more time focused on business-building activities, like increasing your customer base or improving your website. A well-automated shipping system also increases your capacity to grow, so you can take on new orders without worrying about bottleneck issues or shipment delays.
For example, an automated shipping solution can set rules prioritizing the most affordable carrier rates based on an order’s weight and insurance. This can help you avoid costly dimensional surcharges. Similarly, an automation solution can segregate shipments based on country and courier services to reduce the number of manual steps needed for each step in an operation. With an automated shipping system from plant-to-railyard transportation, shipping can be made more convenient.
Some shipping automation solutions even automate shipping by generating digital packing slips and shipping labels for each order. Then, fulfillment associates automatically scan the barcodes to update warehouse management systems and shipping software. This automation can also cut labor costs and improve shipping speeds, reducing the cost of each order shipped.
Incorporating automated inspection into the manufacturing process reduces human error and improves quality. Using machine vision, these systems can identify suspect areas of the product and compare them against a set of criteria to detect defects and errors. This allows them to reject defective products and ensure higher-quality finished goods.
Unlike humans, automation can inspect items more quickly and accurately. Automated inspection systems can also work continuously without getting tired or needing a break. In contrast, a human might need to take an interval between inspections or may become frustrated with the task and slow down.