Companies in manufacturing are looking for ways to create greater mobility, flexibility, and solid solutions to help their business meet the needs of the market. The competition is evening out as manufacturing companies integrate the solutions of tomorrow. One of the great milestones of tomorrow is to achieve a true lean automation system. Every system is unique to a company. No two companies are exactly alike which is the reason choosing the right automation equipment to define an assembly is so important.
In any system, the processes with the least amount of intelligence, steps, and variation must first be identified. The automation equipment can then be chosen to perform that task. Many different solutions are out there. Today limitless amounts of hardware and software can be purchased, but only through experience can cost effective systems be put together. Setpoint has a great line of experience to help companies design and build their industrial automation system. As an example, many robots are available that may theoretically perform the simple task identified; however, it may not actually perform the task. Setpoint can help create robot integrators that take a capable robot and allow it to do the welding task or the gluing task. A cloudy area exists between purchasing the robot with all the right specifications and getting the robot to do the task. Robot integrators can help and Setpoint knows how to eliminate the frustration.
If a company has a need for swaging wire and the current process is a manual operation requiring a tremendous amount of repetition and force to complete the task, automation solutions are out there. One example is a swaging machine. This operation feeds the wire into a die and swages the ends without the use of expended manual force. These types of solutions can save companies a lot of money if they are done right.
Some processes require an end torque to some specific value. The correct torque ensures the product is fit for use. This is another process where manual labor may be heavily used. A solution to this process may be a torque station where the process can be performed by a machine saving time and resource. Operators can be doing something else that adds greater value to a company if good industrial automation is implemented.
An important aspect in automation equipment is its ability to adjust to the needs of tomorrow. An automation assembly built for one purpose only is not lean. Modular assembly lines are a good example of a system built for more than one purpose. The ability of any given assembly to adapt, adjust, or flex to a different purpose is modular assembly. The components come together in an assembly to perform a task and can be dissembled to perform another task without buying more equipment. A good example of this is a Lego set with three sets of instructions to build three completely different products using exactly the same pieces.
One unique and cost effective automated solution is the ability to perform non-destructive testing on parts or assemblies. How does the manufacturer know they are sending out good parts to their customer? Many times destructive testing can be non-conclusive. Destroying the component to find out if the component will work can provide some doubt and may not be very reassuring. One non-destructive test solution is the use of ultrasonic. Sound waves can detect the cracks and deformities in parts. Other solutions include eddy-current testing, radiographic, magnetic particle, and liquid penetrant. A method used quite heavily by the military is using a spray penetrant that illuminates the existence of cracks under blue light. Each of these methods may provide great results when looking for problems. Automation equipment can be equipped with fast and reliable inspections to ensure good quality. Setpoint has proven experience in determining the needs of a company. The right solution becomes the most cost effective solution.