Cover story ST Robot Investments – How Robot Investment should be done?
In addition to minimize wastage and reduction in labor costs in robot investment feasibility studies also production quality, timely delivery, customer continuity and growth in the market with newly acquired customers should be taken into consideration.
Today, robots investment is a prerequisite of achieving certain quality and production quantity standards and it became a necessity to enlarge the size of the company by taking new jobs instead of earning fees from the operator. We discussed requirements of a true investment in robots in our cover topic with Arzu Akdag and Emre Fırıl.
How to make robot investment, what must be taken into consideration during the process?
It is important to make analysis and research for automation needs of companies intending to invest in robots. In the first stage basic requirements of the enterprise should be disclosed. Whether existing robot infrastructure is appropriate for automation should be examined. If necessary prior works must be completed to prepare company for robotic operations. Robot is an equipment performing taught task as standard. Therefore, side equipment that will operate with the robot must be eligible for work (magazines, fixtures, pallets, etc.).It is extremely important that users also receive the necessary training in order to run a successful robotic system. The technical team must be trained about operating principles of the system and informed about the problems that may occur and necessary interventions. For companies making robot investment for the first time it is very difficult to do all of this work themselves. Making necessary collaboration with an expert and reliable consulting company in the robot production area and establishment of right system and infrastructure for the right target are essential.
With whom to make analysis for investment?
The robotic system integrators active in this regard will be the right address. But in addition to analysis continuity of company if after-sales support and commissioning experience are taken into account especially in project procurement stage robot will work in a more efficient and trouble-free operation throughout the operating life and thus it will be able to maximize the benefits to be derived from robot investment. To investigate the references of company to work and to visit one or more reference customer ensure correct understanding of the system and customer satisfaction created by the company.
Robots can have superiority changing from application to application. For example, while press robots of X brand is superior to transport robot of Y brand painting robot of Y brand can have better features compared to painting robots of X brand therefore it is important that integrator of your choice makes the right choice in the design stage. That’s why working with experienced integrators will be the best choice for investors. After this preliminary analysis among alternative brands proposed by robot integrator those with better local support, service and spare parts should be preferred. For a reliable automation price / performance balance should be well analyzed.
What will Robot investment gain to user?
Although robot investment varies from project to project basically it provides the following benefits,
- Increase in production efficiency with speed and stable operation
- Eliminating hazards caused by human interaction and risks to health of workers by undertaking heavy loads, repetitive movements or additional machines as presses, etc.
- With high accuracy and repeatability it provides continuity in sensitive processes,
- With low maintenance costs and regular maintenance it can be used for a period between 8-12 years. At the end of this period some of the mechanical parts of the robot must be renewed to protect the sensitivity.
From where end-user decided to produce with robot should begin?
First of all a basic specifications should be prepared by investor deciding to apply robotic production where characteristics of the system and work process descriptions are provided and intended objectives with robotic aid should be explained and all of these will ensure correct definition of system concept operated by robot.
What are the key points in profitability-efficiency analysis, feasibility studies and procurement processes?
The main objective is to improve the quality and efficiency of robotic automation in the production process. This brings profitability. Although it is thought as common belief that it is intended to minimize the labor cost in transition to robotic automation, with increased productivity and quality profitability, continuity of customers and the creation of new markets become more important. As much as importance of reduction of manpower in decision to switch to robotic automation also increase in production quality is important as well. Therefore, while making feasibility study in robot investment decrease in labor costs and to minimize the wastage constitute only one of the parameters to be calculated. In addition, growth in the market with quality products and customer continuity with newly acquired customers and timely delivery should be taken into consideration. Another important point when calculating profitability are that some robotic applications and amount of production are also increased and cost per part produced is reduced. Because of the increase in amount of production and regular manufacturing delivery times also become shorter. Better production planning can be done in companies. Wastage and production rate becomes more controllable. All these elements are factors influencing the return of investment (ROI). If we are to summarize briefly; though the firs factor causing investment in robotic application seems to be labor costs following elements should be taken into account by company.
- A flexible production can be achieved.
- Three shifts can work uninterruptedly.
- Production eliminating human errors, without loss and better quality.
- Robots can work in environments risky and not suitable for occupational safety.
- Delivery and planning can be achieved in a more controlled way compared to manpower.
Well, in what time robot investment cost returns?
This issue is directly related to process to be automated, number of shifts to work, and other reasons that force robot investment for example into a one it can be predicted as 2-3 years for transport project. In general today robot investment is a pre-condition for securing a certain quality and production quantities and it is a necessity to enlarge the volume of the company instead of earning from operator. Companies unable to reach certain quality standards by automation of production process are in significant risks to survive in long-term.