Don’t be Phased by Your Automation Project

PostedMonday, July 16,2018 at 8:30 AM

Jason Fortune
Jason Fortune
Don’t be Phased by Your Automation Project

Finding yourself with more questions than answers about your automation project? Make or buy? Robots? Conveyors? Tooling? How much will this cost? Do we have the expertise in house to even try to tackle an automation project?  Taking on an automation project can be overwhelming. The amount of guesswork involved, and risk associated with making the wrong choices is enough to make any project stall.   At AMT we’ve developed a method that replaces what sometimes feels like a roll of the dice with a solid scientific process.

Begin with the end in mind. When it comes to making your final decision, the options you are considering should be the result of a structured empirical approach that removes the guesswork from the choices you’ve made along the way.

Every Solution will yield results at some cost and have caveats along with it. Conceiving, designing, and implementing custom automation solutions is a science. It begins with gathering the right data, following a structured analysis, and presenting multiple fact-based solutions.

Phase 1 - Analyze

Engineers tend to focus on process requirements and can sometimes lose track of everything else that matters. Sometimes they even forget the reason for doing the project in the first place. The process we recommend keeps all of these things in mind. Start with results you want to achieve, determine the metrics and make them quantifiable. Capture a snapshot of what currently exists.  Get out on the floor, map it, field check it and collect data in all areas. Double check your measurements before you go any further.  A misstep at this stage can be very costly.   Refer again to the results you want to achieve focusing on the key areas and processes using metrics to determine project priorities.

The Phase 1 Preliminary Analysis is all about data collection. You will need do make some assumptions.  Clearly state the assumptions and reach an agreement with your stakeholders.  Do some preliminary analysis with initial concepts and investigation, and then assemble an automation team and begin brainstorming concepts.

White board the process:

  • Material flow, product handling
  • Review available off the shelf technology
  • Capture Every Idea - What it does? Why it helps? What investigation is required?
  • Research supplier and automation partners to see what’s right for you

Phase 2 - Concept

The team, data, and rough concepts are taking shape. Take it to the next level with more realistically engineered ideas. Develop relevant simulation concepts based on actual sequence, throughput, and floor space. If you can, do some early investigations on manufacturing concepts and bring them to life with CAD and simulation tools for manufacturing relevance.

Phase 3 - Define

Put together a functional specification. Define the system with functional and technical specifications so you know what to expect with hardware and software and multiple suppliers can deliver consistent quality.

Create layout and cost estimates based on initial investigations so you’ll have a good handle on cost and project scope.

Turn it over to your Automation Team to execute with confidence that you understand what the end result will be and what it will cost to get there.

AMT’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Process (AME)

 

 

About Applied Manufacturing Technologies (AMT).  AMT's experienced team of engineers provide creative solutions for any and all robotic automation challenges without a product or hardware agenda. This allows us to offer unique and unbiased automation solutions based on your goals. Through the AMT Advantage, you will receive the highest quality products and installation from the most intelligent minds in the industry. As an Automation Solutions Integrator for over 25 years, we have the unique ability to engage with a manufacturer at any point in their process.  At AMT, we have successfully built a company of relevant automation robotics technologies under one roof with a mastery of knowledge and abilities that enriches our customers' experiences. With over 5,000 successfully executed automation projects worldwide, we will bring the same drive and ingenuity to your company. Let us show you how!

Filed Under Process Manufacturing Manufacturing Information Systems Simulators, optimizers Data collection, management and reporting Simulation Systems