Are you ready to implement robotics? Answer these 7 Questions First!

Implementing robotics in manufacturing can inject greater flexibility in product customization and increase productivity from the workforce. With simplification being a key trend in this field, robots are becoming smarter, faster, cheaper, and more accessible to a wide variety of SMM operations. Here are a series of questions to consider when determining if the time is right to implement robotics.

What are the Goals of your Robot Project?

Like any other technology, manufacturers should implement robotics to address a need.  During the process of identifying the need(s), manufacturers must  understand short term implications as well as future needs before adding robotics to their organization. Understanding the big picture growth goals, and establishing a relationship with a robotics vendor that can grow with you, will save significant time and money in the long run. 

What do you want the Robot to do?

Knowing the applications that the robot will work on will allow SMM’s to choose a reliable and high performing system. Vendors can run through simulations or demonstrations, allowing manufacturers to see solutions before they commit to a large purchase.

What is the Rough Layout for the Robot Work Cell?

Having a general idea of the Robot Work Cell layout will allow vendors to provide more accurate proposals for implementation. With ever-changing and fast-growing technology being offered to the market, there is a wide variety of equipment options available to meet specific needs.

What Level of Precision is Required?

Knowing what manufacturing tolerances are necessary for success will help a vendor narrow their focus to choose the best robot to install. Understanding the specific needs of current and future standards is critical to purchasing decisions.

What are the Throughput Requirements?

Robotics in manufacturing is helping to achieve goals of efficiency and productivity across the board, and knowing how to leverage robot productivity to perform tasks faster & more accurately will lead to greater success. It is important know overall output needs in terms of parts per minute (ppm), cycle time, production per shift, etc.  Understanding these needs will set the stage for defining potential solutions when working with robotics vendors and integrators.

What Kind of ROI is Necessary for Success?

An acceptable ROI is specific to your particular operation and can vary tremendously. Low capitalization or access to funds can be a deterrent for many SMM’s, so understanding how to leverage the strengths of the robots and analyze the risk/reward benefits is an important step.

What Level of Support do you Need and Want?

Evaluate your internal capabilities and preferences for implementing a robotic system.  Then have an open mind as you discuss potential projects with vendors to learn from them as well as collaborate to determine the best approach for your situation. Systems integrators today are willing to establish a scope of work that provides for you being as involved as you want to.  Staying engaged with your project leverages (and grows) your internal resources and can reduce your upfront cost by taking on some of the work yourself.

Catalyst Connection is the perfect partner to help answer the above questions through strategic partnerships with a network rich in manufacturing and robotics expertise. Contact Catalyst Connection to learn more about available training, assessments, regional working groups, ROI calculators, and much more as you decide if robotics in manufacturing is right for you.