Having industrial automation is an obvious must, but when it comes to counting the advantages, there’s a lot of grey area. And a big part of that grey area comes down to how well a facility’s automation is set up. Just because a facility has automation technology in place, that doesn’t mean it's good enough for their processes or their goals.
Having industrial automation is one thing, but having it done well can be a game-changer. Here are five benefits that come along with good, high-quality industrial automation.
How can we do more with what we have? When it comes to boosting production rates, it’s beneficial to look at the whole system design, find bottlenecks, and work to overcome them. A good automation system addresses those things.
A simple example of a production bottleneck is in how ingredients are metered. Say you have a product that is made up of ten different ingredients, and the current system meters each ingredient individually. An automation system that meters all ten ingredients at the same time will increase the speed of every single production run.
With your current automation system, how long does it take to identify a failure or fault in the system and remedy the situation? Oftentimes, increasing productivity means reducing downtime, because when you’re down, you’re not producing. With a properly setup automation system, a fault or failure can trigger a notification to pop up and let your facilities manager know there’s an issue. A good automation system can also run diagnostics and troubleshoot solutions too. Solving production issues before they become problems can significantly increase productivity.
What are your product tracking metrics, and how much waste material is produced during production? A good automation system keeps track of all the different materials, ingredients, or commodities moving through the system and monitors waste. This data can provide insights into opportunities for more efficient material use.
How consistent is your output? Today, product quality has a lot to do with accuracy and repeatability. If your metering is inconsistent over time, product consistency will suffer. A good automation system will help you guarantee product consistency on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis while monitoring for faults or failures in product quality and consistency.
Are you keeping your people at a safe distance? Industrial automation systems play an important role in keeping employees out of harm’s way. A lot of the processes that have been taken over by automation technology used to be done by hand by employees who had to get close to moving equipment. The more you automate, the more you’re keeping people at a safe distance and allowing conveyors and hoppers to fill grinders and mixers with the material.
Of course, there is the reality that more sophisticated industrial automation has a greater upfront cost. Whether or not that cost is worthwhile is going to depend on which benefits and advantages provide the best conditions and return on investment. Talking with an industrial automation expert at our company can help you determine what ways your current automation could be made more efficient in the ways listed above and in additional ways too. Get in touch today.