by Doc Nickel

The issue isn't whether it CAN be done, but more along the lines of can it be done economically.

There's no question that if you're making 100,000 or more of something, the more automation you can throw at it the easier and presumably faster the job will go.

The question is, can we automate somewhere where we're only making 20 or 30 of a part. Again, the simple answer is yes, of course. But will it take longer to set up the automation than the automation will save in production time? Run the parts manually in 20 hours, or spend 65 hours setting up the automation and then run everything in 10 hours?

And, will the automation produce enough savings to offset it's own cost? Even if you could set the automation up in 2 hours, and have it cut production time in half, if you're making so few parts the savings is time is only half of what it cost to install the robots, that, too, isn't worthwhile.

The OP seemed to hint that he's using small, if not even hobby-grade machines to make what sounded like a limited number of a specialty product. A limited amount of automation could indeed help, given budget limitations and a willingness to put in the time to develop and troubleshoot, but again, it sounds like a better, easier solution- at the moment- would be to simply add a second or even third machine, so that parts can be run in parallel, rather than in series.


Posted on Mar 6, 2017, 11:09 AM

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