Automation And Robotics Come Of Age For Machine Tools

Automation and robotics: partners in productivity

Today’s labor shortages are only the tip of the iceberg, according to The Association for Manufacturing Technology. AMT strongly urges all manufacturers to automate their operations by 2025 or face much larger labor challenges.

Experienced machine-tool operators are already retiring in record numbers, taking their wealth of knowledge with them. Many manufacturers are already finding that it’s hard to hire younger, experienced people to replace them. As a result, machine tool automation has quickly transformed from a nice-to-have technology to an absolute necessity.

Investing in automation can not only help your manufacturing operation to sidestep these serious labor issues, but it can also help it to remain cost-competitive in the years ahead. That, in turn, can enhance your ability to retain your existing OEM contracts and attract new machining business.

Loading and unloading of machine tools

The most common use of robotics and automation on machine tools is seamlessly moving incoming parts from an infeed system into the work cell and moving finished parts away. 

The reliability of today’s robots and cobots (collaborative robots that can work close to human workers) is excellent, making them a productive addition to even smaller machine shops and manufacturing facilities. 

In any application, a robot provides higher, more consistent throughput than a human operator ever could. It works with stunning efficiency and reliability, day in and day out. It doesn’t take breaks. 

Depending on part processing cycle times, one robot can also handle one or more secondary operations, including part marking, inspection, pressure/leak testing and part washing.

Vision systems and sensors can be used with robots to verify the critical dimensions of finished parts. They enable automated inspection of every part and remove human error from the process. 

Unlike human inspection, which was typically done by periodically sampling and testing finished parts, automation enables the inspection of every part. This automated process ensures that defective parts never reach your supply chain.

An easy to justify ROI

Today’s strong demand for components and the incredible reliability of today’s robots make an investment in machine tool automation a no-brainer. Here’s a breakdown of typical costs:

Labor costAutomation Investment
$60,000 – average annual salary and benefits of a machine tool operator$200,000-$250,000 – typical cost of adding automation to a machine tool
3 shifts per dayPayback: Less than 2 years
$180,000 – total labor cost/ year

Why Kaufman Manufacturing?

Kaufman Manufacturing has extensive experience in designing and implementing many types of automated and semi-automated manufacturing solutions – which we tailor to the needs of our customers. We offer a combination of machine tools, controls and integration expertise that automation houses can’t match. 

We also service the automation systems we install, providing you with a one-stop solution to your high-production manufacturing needs.

Contact us today to discuss your machine tooling and automation needs.

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