On Automating Factories
By: Shannon Karels & Kathy Miller
Adding automation to factories is a multi-faceted initiative. Both the benefits and the challenges are plentiful. The issues associated with the workforce alone are varied and complex. Additionally, there are processes associated with “hidden factories,” those that may not be documented, but do, indeed take place to flow value through an operation. How to characterize the return on investment also requires rational and sometimes creative justification depending on the goal one is hoping to achieve through the automation project(s). In spite of these challenges, the benefits of automation cannot be ignored, and may, indeed, be just what is needed to have a competitive factory.
Some benefits of automation from our experience in machining operations include:
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