Automation of the Plastics Manufacturing Process
For many companies, the first step towards smarter manufacturing is automation.
The motivation to automate is often driven by the goal to reduce labor costs, but there are many additional benefits.
Robotics work faster and more consistently, they are precise and don’t tire from repetitive work. Also, inline processes and assembly can be integrated, reducing ineffective process steps while improving quality.
Automation can also reduce the manufacturing footprint and improve the process flow efficiency through the plant, offering more production per square foot and offsetting the premium of floor space.
In today’s world it is not only about reducing labor costs, on the contrary, the shortage of manpower in our industry is a major challenge. Automation can reduce the requirement for direct labor and can also free up reliable workers for the training needed to take on more rewarding and fulfilling jobs, all while improving operator safety.
Automation enables you to reduce costs, remain competitive and be a sustainable manufacturer.
Where and how to start automating the plastics manufacturing process?
An easy place to start is often with a new project where you essentially have a blank canvas to set up everything from the processing machinery to upstream and downstream equipment. In such cases you can analyze all the processing and manufacturing steps and identify where there are opportunities to integrate automation from the outset.
Alternatively, continuous improvement initiatives and automating existing production equipment could be the starting point. Essentially, before mapping an automation path, you must first know where you are now.
Not every company is at the same stage, for some the first step may be simply to add robots for pick and place part handling. For companies already employing robots the next step may be to progress with turnkey automation including inline vision inspection or complete post molding processes and / or assembly for example.
Audit and analyze your processes and production steps, identify where there are the most obvious gains from automating. If you are venturing on the first stage of automation start with some basic improvement steps ensuring winning results.
Help and expertise is at hand.
SEPRO is a leading independent manufacturer of Cartesian robots in Europe and North America for automating injection molding machines. Offering the freedom of choice in robots, with 3-axis, 5-axis, 6-axis robots, servo-electric pickers and collaborative robots to equip injection molding machines of all brands from 50 to 5,000 tons of clamping force.
SEPRO AMERICA’s Automation services extend to include complete turn-key automation systems that could involve multiple robots and specialized end-of-arm tooling, plus a variety of feeders, inspection devices, cavity separation, de-gating / trimming, box filling and other equipment.
Turner Group has been a proud partner with SEPRO for over 8 years and together we have become a major supplier of robotic systems and automation here on the West coast.
How can we help you with your automation needs?
If you’ve already automated, what benefits have you realized?