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CNC manufacturing is locked in a constant battle to curb production costs, enhance product quality, and adhere to customer demands, all amidst rising competition. To meet these challenges, CNC shops have adopted state-of-the-art technologies to reduce costs and boost productivity.
Robotic Automation in CNC Shops
To streamline the CNC machining process and increase efficiency, companies are increasingly implementing robotic automation in support of various types of CNC machines, such as Lathe, Milling, and Plasma Cutting machines. Incorporating robotic automation into CNC shop provides many benefits, be it for a single production cell or an entire workshop. Examples include the following:
Greater Efficiency and Productivity
Robots can perform cutting, grinding, or milling at higher uptime levels and produce 47% more parts-per-hour compared to traditional approaches. While the benefits of a CNC Machine are enormous, adding robotic automation to a CNC shop can significantly increase throughput without exceeding budget limits.
Robots can operate without fail for hours and do not demand off-hours or breaks. Part loading and unloading can be done effortlessly without frequent maintenance checks, thereby resulting in less downtime.
The modern free-standing robotic CNC machine tenders can process several component sizes, IDs, and ODs more efficiently than human labor. The robots themselves are operated using menu-driven, touch-screen HMIs, which are ideal for non-programmers.
Custom automation solutions utilizing robots have been shown to reduce cycle time by 25%. With robotic work cells, only a small amount of time is required for changeovers. Such time efficiency helps companies better cater to customer needs, as well as achieve economically efficient small batch runs.
Improved Labor Safety and Security
Robots include a number of features to ensure that the workforce enjoys a high level of safety when executing core tasks. As an added benefit, implementing robots for specific processes lets humans prioritize cognitive-oriented tasks.
You can look out for certain self-contained robotic CNC machine tenders if you are running on a tight budget. These tenders bear minimal initial expenses and can be conveniently installed and operated without professional supervision.
The rate of deployment when robotic automation is involved is typically swift and efficient. This helps minimize the expenses of integration.
Companies can utilize self-contained robotic CNC machine tenders if they are running on a tight budget. Since the initial expense for machine tenders is relatively low, manufacturers enjoy a swift return on investment (ROI) without compromising productivity.
The tenders themselves can be installed and operated without professional supervision. In addition, programming tenders is relatively simple, which speeds their deployment and redeployment.
Simplistic Installation / Robust Multitasking
Robotic CNC machine tender units can be installed by personnel with minimal experience. A person only needs to place the tender in front of the CNC machines, fasten it to the ground, and connect power and Ethernet. Typically, simplified installation and operating tutorials are available to help companies set everything up with little hassle.
Unlike human labor, robots can efficiently service more than a single machine part. Loading a workpiece into a machine is easily accomplished by a robot, and during the machining process, you can program the robot to load yet another machine. This practice is time-efficient as the two processes are executed simultaneously.
A robot can spontaneously adapt to a new process in contrast to a human employee, which requires training to facilitate transition into the new procedure guidelines.
Greater Adaptability and Insourcing Rate
There are times when shops receive unfamiliar job requests or varying component specifications. This can be a challenge, but if you have implemented a robotic automation system, you only need to reprogram the system and alter the tooling as necessary.
Despite their compactness, the production capacity of automated cells is enormous. They can also execute multiple tasks simultaneously, which further boosts production rates and increases efficiency. With this increased throughput capacity, CNC shops can reduce the need for outsourcing, and in some cases, production work that was formally outsourced can be brought back in house.
Better Contract Pricing
Robots ensure manufacturing consistency in CNC workshops. This enables firms to more accurately estimate production durations and associated expenditures, which, in turn, has improved contract pricing.
Robots have rendered the annual production contract expenses more affordable than ever, which has persuaded more clients to engage in the same.
Robots are exceptionally productive and relatively simple to operate, all while being economically feasible. As a result, robotics automation has gained widespread acceptance in the CNC industry, with an increasing number of CNC shop owners incorporating robots into various manufacturing and production processes.
The clients of CNC shops, too, have recognized the many benefits of robotics automation for CNC operations, including higher consistency and quality, as well as lower production costs. For client companies, these advantages, in turn, have made contracting for CNC work easier and more affordable than ever.
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.
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