According to the World Economic Forum, 29% of work tasks are performed by machines. The organisation estimates this will grow to 52% in 2025.
In a recent blog, we discussed how COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of automation. There’s no doubt that automation is happening right now. It may already be implemented in your production today. But what about within your metrology department?
To help manufacturers begin this journey, we have defined task-related areas that can be automated to a) improve the production process and b) free up resources to handle the complex tasks that matter. Here are some steps to ensure a seamless transition when investing in quality automation.
Automate routine tasks
Manufacturing is complex and this requires people. So why waste talent on routine tasks that could be easily automated? Tasks like part setup and measurement routine selection can become a major bottleneck within production if not executed correctly. These tasks are the perfect candidate for automation, ensuring correct measurement every time while enabling operators to handle the more complex tasks that provide a major impact on business.
Eliminate inspection errors
To add to the previous step, if the process isn’t repeated correctly measurement results can cause false rejections and unnecessary rework. Even worse, manufacturers who don’t perform the inspection correctly could accept a bad part, which means unnecessary bottlenecks down the road. By replacing common workflows that can cause data inaccuracies with proven automated processes – such as part-inspection setup – you can avoid shipment delays and unnecessary rework.
When the unexpected happens, manufacturers need to be agile enough to change production on a dime. Unexpected events such as pandemics which produce staggering shifts, the need for cross functional teams and safety precautions all need to be considered. Production processes need to be agile enough to perform certain tasks with limited-to-no human intervention. Quality professionals should be armed with tools that allow them to maintain business continuity from home, including offline metrology software and remote asset management and monitoring systems that alert users of any issues that might occur during operations. Furthermore, lights out manufacturing is now a very real possibility and key to increasing agility and throughput; tools like Hexagon’s TEMPO enable autonomous CMM operations to continue overnight or when operators are unavailable.
In order to be efficient, process stability is imperative to meet the demanding requirements manufacturers are faced with today. Production delays caused by machine maintenance, repair or correction can all be avoided by connecting systems together to communicate with one another. The data communicated from one machine to another helps prepare production for incoming challenges such as machine maintenance early on to help support a smoother production rate. Additionally, monitoring developing trends and automating corrective action such as machine tool correction limits operational downtime while getting the most out of your equipment.
Prepare machines to be integrator friendly
Before taking the jump towards production-wide autonomy, ensuring your current equipment is ready for the future is imperative. Take a look at your current equipment and determine if it is worth it to invest in an integrator friendly I/O kit or to invest in a new system that already has it included. Ensuring you are prepared with equipment that will support your objectives is crucial as you take your autonomous journey.
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