Have you considered lights out manufacturing for 2018?
You may remember our blog last year where we focused on the economic benefits of lights out manufacturing (AKA lights-out manufacturing). The main focus was on how adopting this manufacturing process could help combat rising electricity prices. There are other benefits to lights out manufacturing to discuss.
Goals vary: Whether the aim of lights out manufacturing is to get better quality and throughput rates, to reduce workplace injuries, or to help increase production during a skills gap, shop floors all across America have the incentive to begin this initiative.
Enhancing, Not Replacing, Labor: While it is enticing that lights out manufacturing can lower production costs by replacing manual labor, there can be a stigma across the shop floor that this form of automation could aim to completely replace workers. This is far from the truth.
“By minimizing the labor cost for each part made, manufacturers can compete with the low costs encountered from foreign manufacturers, as well as gain a larger market share among domestic competition,” Aerospace Manufacturing and Design says. “At the minimum, automation is necessary just to stay in business.”
“Shops do not realize how much they rely on operators,” Peter Zelinski writes for Modern Machine Shop. He explains that in order for a shop to successfully put lights out manufacturing into play for their shops, they must first intensely work with the machinists to eliminate glitches that can shut down overnight production.
Machine Monitoring is Crucial to Lights Out Manufacturing: “There is always the possibility of machine failure, cutting tool breakage, power outages and other unexpected issues,” Mark Eddy writes for Production Machining. “That’s when having a remote monitoring system is invaluable.”
“A number of manufacturers use MTConnect for universal connectivity,” Mark continues. “It is, essentially, a common translator based on Internet standards that enables CNC and non-CNC machine tools and other shopfloor equipment to communicate with each other and with a central production monitoring system.”
If you are ready to take on lights out manufacturing, get in touch with Shop Floor Automations today! Our solutions of Scytec DataXchange or Predator MDC will be the best products to get you started, and they are MTConnect compatible. Call (877) 611-5825 or fill out a sales contact form.