Low Cost Automation in Manufacturing
Automation has never been low cost due to a number of factors, namely the cost of the automation solution, the cost of integration and the cost of safeguarding human workers against injury. These costs, coupled with the inflexibility that traditional automation solutions offered has led most companies to continue with employing a core of manufacturing staff which they ‘top up’ with seasonal and temp workers.
This has led to many businesses offshoring to countries, such as China, who have far lower production costs, mainly due to lower wages, in order to save money in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
What needs do businesses have?
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Rationalise overheads by reducing reliance on seasonal and temporary workers within the manufacturing operations of the business. The ability to implement an automation solution in a reasonable timescale and budget.
Retain domestic manufacturing
Minimise the need to offshore and keep jobs and manufacturing within the domestic market to increase control and quality in the supply chain.
Increase manufacturing flexibility
Businesses increasingly have to deal with ever changing demands from the marketplace which can often necessitate the need for rapid re-deployment and change within manufacturing operations. Traditional automation solutions are very inflexible, large amounts of time and money are spent to programme them to a task and it’s not a very easy process to change even the smallest adjustment.
Reduce training and downtime
By relying on temp staff there is an inherent amount of induction and training time spent with each person. There is also the associated downtime as when you’re training staff, they’re not being productive. Also, with traditional industrial automation, there is large amount of downtime spent by an external engineer re-programming the robots to their new task which is both costly and time consuming.[bg_faq_end]
Enter the Smart, Collaborative Robot
Robots like Baxter are not an evolution of an existing line of robots, they are a revolution in low cost automation. By working with businesses to identify their needs and working alongside them, Rethink Robotics are producing robots like Baxter which are constantly evolving to improve and deliver more for businesses.
Innovative design and efficient construction has reduced the unit cost of Baxter to only £19,000 (22,000€) to realise Rodney Brooks’ dream of introducing low cost robotic solutions in every workplace. The inherent safety systems designed within the hardware and software of Baxter makes it safe for humans to work alongside, without the need for safety cages and without extensive health and safety reviews. Baxter conforms to ISO 10218, the International standard for industrial robotics.
Baxter is trained, not programmed to operate like humans do and there is no reliance on expensive systems programmers. Empower your workforce so they are able to train Baxter themselves in as little as 5 minutes, Baxter is the power tool of the 21st century and all modern workforces should be equipped with a low cost automation solution.
Intera 3, the latest software release for Baxter, has doubled the accuracy and speed of Baxter though software configurations alone. It also includes features such as the Robot Positioning System to further decrease downtime and the need for re-training across operations.
By utilising smart, collaborative robots for a low cost automation solution the need to offshore is minimised, overheads can be reduced effectively without effecting productivity and can lead to higher value re-deployment of staff within the business.