First the not-so-good news. Maintaining your factory’s workforce, much less growing it, has become one of 21st Century manufacturing’s biggest challenges. Your most highly-skilled machine operators and best team members are getting older and there simply aren’t enough young people stepping in to learn, grow and take their places.
Now for the good news. There’s a one-word answer for today’s workforce dilemma: ROBOTICS. You can continue to worry about widening labor gaps, spin your wheels, and toss and turn at night. Or you can get in front of your company’s future and make specific changes that will enable you to do more, much more, with the team you already have. Because when it comes to automation, the future is now.
“With the labor challenges facing manufacturers today, there’s never been a better time to find out how smart implementation of robotics can benefit your production in terms of quality and consistency, reducing labor costs, increasing productivity and improving safety,” said Matt Fleming, Biesse Canada CCO. “At IWF we will demonstrate how Biesse’s partnership with Automatech Robotik allows us to provide flexible and scalable integrated solutions that combine Biesse machinery with Automatech’s advanced robotic part handling. This collaboration is a direct result of our serious commitment to deliver the best solution to enhance productivity for forward-thinking customers intent on growth.”
How We Got Here
Woodworking shops once had very basic operations and were limited in their speed and capacity. Then with the help of industrial engineers, owners found ways to make one facility crank out the output of two. Now, in the age of digital smart tech and interconnected solutions, all bets are off. The power of solutions like robotics, RFID, manufacturing execution systems (MESs), and even autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) are creating a sea change in productivity. The only question is, will you grab onto a souped-up surfboard? Or sit on the beach under an umbrella and hope the workforce tide turns?
Hello, My Name is Robot
The long-list of advantages of embracing robotics and automation continues to grow. Robots can vastly improve the amount of your output, streamline tasks, and offer the flexibility to be reprogrammed according to your needs. All day, every day, they maximize the flow of product through your facility, working hand in hand with your MES to ensure that you’re getting the most you can out of each square foot of your operations.
With the right automation, a CNC machine that once took a team of three, can be run with greater output with only one operator. It can work on multiple parts autonomously, moving parts and choosing the correct program automatically. Better yet, you can recapture lost productivity throughout the day because the process continues to run even when operators need to step away. But productivity gains are only one advantage. The human impact of robots can be just as important.
Helping Workers Reach Their Greatest Potential
There’s no doubt automation helps you get more product made in a day. To get it made faster. To reduce errors and waste. All of which means your current team can be a lot more productive. But it goes beyond productivity. Automation enables your team members to avoid repetitive tasks and get more job satisfaction from creativity and competitive thinking. Both are major factors in job and career satisfaction, as well as company loyalty.
“Robotics is not about replacing people. It’s about giving manufacturers the tools they need to maximize the skills of their workforce,” said Tommy Gagnon, President and CEO of AutomaTech Robotik. “In a world that is very competitive, increasing efficiency is critical to bringing back manufacturing in North America. AutomaTech is proud to partner with Biesse so together we can provide innovative solution to the industry. Sharing the same value is vital to succeed in this crucial evolution of the manufacturing process.”
Gaining competitive advantage in shifting markets
“Automation is also a matter of survival and a key part of many companies’ growth strategies,” said Randy Jamison, Biesse America CCO. “Biesse’s partnership with Automatech Robotik takes our commitment to support customer growth and performance to a higher level. When you leverage automation and robotics to improve process efficiency and make smart use of skilled teams, you shield yourself from competitive erosion. With automation, you will be in a position to quickly meet demand for orders instead of missing opportunities because of lags in hiring when people simply aren’t available.”
“There’s no doubt that automating our cutting, machining and preparation processes increased our efficiency and competitive advantage, ultimately impacting our bottom line.” -Luke Elias, Owner at Muskoka
Finding “Hidden” Efficiency Gains
Automation has advantages above and beyond increased efficiency and productivity and decreased error rates. For example, automation greatly reduces material handling and idle time, the most often overlooked productivity killers. Instead of walking parts from one station to the next and manually changing CNC programs between part runs, computerized processes speed everything up.
At the end of the shift, the day, and the year, the ultimate benefit of automation is that it addresses one of the key limitations on your production capacity – a lack of reliable, skilled workers. When your existing team can leverage their capabilities and scale up significantly because you embraced automation, you’re well-positioned to meet any future challenge the market will bring.
Automation Benefits at a Glance:
- Capacity: Better quality and consistency
- Character: Maximum productivity and throughput
- Collateral: Greater safety
- Capital: Reduced direct labor costs
- Conditions: New career paths
- Conditions: Workforce flexibility
Discover Biesse's Presence at IWF 2022