Machinery today is a far cry from that found even 10 years ago. As global demand for services and products continues to rise, the need for faster, higher-output, more reliable, time-saving, and cost-effective machinery has increased.
"As always, however, there is a downside to automation," said Fuchsloch. "With businesses across the globe gradually phasing out their need for large manual workforces and switching to automated machinery, it really is only a matter of time before workloads that have until now been carried out manually are achieved entirely through the use of machinery. Our country needs businesses that employ staff and educate staff. This is the key to economic prosperity and social stability."
Here are the advantages of automated machinery.
Speed of production increases dramatically, with up to 140m per minute of metal being rollformed and punched.
A superior safety system means fewer injuries on the job.
Auto stacking allows the packing of materials without handling by humans.
Dual decoilers with coil carts reduce damage to coil inners.
PLCs offer remote management control systems.
Labor costs are substantially diminished.
Workloads are easier to manage with the ability to calculate exact production costs and time taken to produce parts.
Production capacity increases.
Less waste and better yieldsare produced.
Here are the disadvantages of using automated machinery.
Not all automated machines are created equal, and great care needs to be taken when placing your order to ensure that the outcome matches your expectations, the material being processed, and your budget.
The more high-tech the machine, the higher the price. Businesses need to see them as an investment for the future.
Breakdowns can be costly, closing down the entire production line, so care needs to be taken that you are buying a quality machine that offers the least amount of downtime.
Do these machines herald the demise of the laborer and the dawn of the machine for metal rollforming? It is an indisputable reality that machinery has already replaced the human hand in nearly every other industry, from cars to clothing and consumer goods. Sentiment is losing out to profits once again as laborers find themselves at the wrong end of the stick.
"Each business has to decide what is best for its clients and staff alike," said Fuchsloch. "Every business is unique and has a unique set of needs and expectations set by stakeholders. This and other factors will determine whether automation is on the cards or not. It's definitely not for everybody."
Excellent article Dylan. Rollforming is a very old technology but one that has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. The advent of machinery that will completely automate the roll forming process is available--at a price. Set-up, of course, is dependent upon knowledgeable individuals who know the equipment. Some months ago I visited a company that manufactures corrugated roofing panels. Their rollforming operation was a real eye-opener. The speed at which the material was formed was absolutely amazing and the product was definitely well within specifications and tolerances. I can't remember the number of feet produced each minute but the main impediment was storing the inventory. They actually had two buildings for this. As I recall, they produced six or seven colors using pre-painted material. This company fabricated and maintained their own dies. The owner indicated it was a real specialty and trusted no one to do that job. Again, great article.
Thanks for the informative article about something I haven't given much thought to until now, nor knew much about! It does make sense to move to automation in many industries, that's for certain. As, apresher said, it definitely isn't the other way around! And humans can be repurposed more effectively based on the processes machines take over...hopefully, anyway, rather than being displaced.
Good article. Higher levels of automation is generally a job preserver and creator, and a way to achieve productivity, quality and cost improvements. There certainly isn't a trend to more manual labor in manufacturing. Thanks.
As an industry, we now need to up our game and provide contractors with easier ways to properly identify and report counterfeit products and build collaboration between manufacturers, design engineers, industry organizations, and government.
The shift to aluminum is gaining momentum and the demand from automakers for aluminum is soaring, "expecting to reach one billion pounds this year, up from 200 million in 2012, and to grow by more than 30% annually through 2020."
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.