The domain of CNC manufacturing deals with the struggle to alleviate production costs, boost product quality, and meet customer demands without failure. To aid the CNC manufacturing process, one of the most efficient strategies that companies can employ is robotic automation.
The success rate of most CNC shops has been influenced immensely by adopting the latest technologies to mitigate cost-per-part and enhance productivity. The inclusion of robotic automation in your CNC shop can offer substantial benefits such as greater work efficiency, reduced time usage, affordability, and more.
Here are 10 reasons why you should not hesitate to include robotic automation in your CNC shop.
1. Increased Productivity
Be it cutting, grinding, routing, or milling, robots operate with significantly higher levels of uptime relative to human labor, which results in greater throughput. Accounting for this factor, besides the substantial cost savings, implies that robots render higher productivity.
Unlike humans, robots never demand breaks, take days off, or have lousy days at work. Robots seamlessly load and unload parts as instructed, and the latest industrial robots require minimum maintenance checks.
2. Greater Levels of Safety
Besides rendering greater productivity, robots provide high levels of safety in operations. Robots enable human laborers to emphasize more cognitive-oriented tasks. These tasks are not only safer but also come bearing robust features to avert harmful collisions.
As the load on a robotic arm used in machine tending increases, bearings play a pivotal role in maintaining safety and preventing failure.
3. Better CNC Machine Tending
The modern generation of free-standing robotic CNC machine tenders is competent enough to process a distinct range of part sizes, IDs, and ODs. These robots employ menu-driven, touch screen HMIs to streamline setup operations for those with no programming background.
A CNC machine shop that employs robotic automation manufactures 47% more Parts-Per-Hour. Changeovers barely take up to 10 minutes, which helps you satisfy the ever-evolving customer interests and perform cost-efficient small batch runs.
4. Lower Costs
Robots in CNC production ensure swift deployment that mitigates integration costs and facilitates smooth changeovers when automating a different task. Simplistic programming further boosts the deployment and redeployment speed.
Certain self-contained, robotic CNC machine tenders come with a low initial cost and are easy to install and operate by yourself. This affordable initial cost enables manufacturers to rapidly bring in a return on investment (ROI) and observe productivity benefits with no delay.
5. Simplistic Installation
Robotic CNC machine tender units are easy to install. Simply place it in front of the CNC machine, fasten it to the ground, attach power and Ethernet. These robots also come with straightforward installation and operating videos to help you set everything up in no time.
6. Multitasking Capabilities
A robot can competently service more than one machine tool. It can readily load a workpiece into one machine, and while that part is getting machined, the robot can load yet another machine.
Meanwhile, the system gets enough time to complete inspection, tooling exchange or changeovers, and material handling. All these processes get executed while the second machine manufactures parts.
7. Higher Adaptability
Every time new jobs arrive or part specifications vary, you can conveniently reprogram your robotic automation system and alter tooling if required. Such flexibility results in a much greater return on your investment relative to what you would receive from terribly restrictive, dedicated automation systems assembled into specific machine tools.
While a robot can learn a new process spontaneously, a human employee must get trained and transitioned steadily into a modified set of procedures. This situation is not only more time-consuming but financially taxing to the company as well in terms of training costs.
8. Reduction in Cycle Time
By easing their transition towards digitalization, CNC shops can significantly reduce cycle time. They can employ custom automation solutions such as a robotic arm for loading and unloading parts.
The manual loading process demands more operator time and proficiency. As for the robotic arm, the operator puts the parts into a vibratory conveyor, with the Fanuc robot arm loading them into the fixture.
9. Simplified Insourcing
The expansion of capacity for transmission parts by using the robot cell helps companies bring back various other parts that had been outsourced to suppliers.
The automated cell represents an enormous amount of potential capacity integrated into a single compact system. Such concentrated capacity can perform a lot of work, which helps permit insourcing.
10. Efficient Pricing for Contracts
Certain manufacturing companies are producing robots in a high-mix, low-volume mode. When a shop has the luxury of operating at a steady volume, the consistent production of the robots enables the shop to predict timing and expenses accurately.
Due to this, the distinction in pricing between short-term machining and contract production is higher for the robot cell relative to any other production resource. Owing to the price savings, customers who had never engaged in annual production contracts are ready to dive in.
Owing to the enhanced productivity, streamlined operation, and economic efficiency of adding robots to a CNC shop, many have hopped in on the idea of having them implemented in various stages of manufacturing.
Robots render greater precision and offer more reliability relative to human labor. However, a company must ensure that its CNC mills and machines also offer state-of-the-art features and provide significant efficiency rates.
About the Author:
Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general.