As we mentioned in our previous blog post, October was an event-filled month at Automata. Hot on the heels of PPMA (the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association’s event), we attended Robotics & Automation in Coventry. What started as a relatively small event in Milton Keynes has now expanded to a bigger venue and includes both hardware and software companies, from warehouse management through to industrial automation solutions like robot arms.
What really struck us was the difference between attendees at R&A and previous trade shows we had attended, including Hannover Messe; here, manufacturers we spoke with understood how automation could be a solution to their problem. For the team, it was an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of challenges and listen to a series of very interesting talks, from SME manufacturers in niche markets through to bigger players like John Lewis.
Eva can be programmed to integrate with a multitude of other systems, including a Cognex smart camera.
Small and medium manufacturers, particularly in the UK and Europe, thrive on low volume, high mix production, which provides them with opportunities for flexibility and versatility. But it also comes with a lot of challenges. At Automata, our mission is to democratise robotics for everyone and as part of that, we have been conducting research with our customers to try and understand their pains and challenges. The most common themes that emerged were:
- The need to lower the cost of production to main profitability.
- Fluctuations in demand across the year that cannot be predicted.
- Spikes in customer orders, often with short turnaround times, preventing manufacturers from operating at full capacity.
- Shifts in the workforce, often coupled with the need to bring on and train temporary staff.
- Ensuring consistent repeatability in testing.
- Concerns for staff welfare, who may become bored of performing the same menial tasks.
Do any of these challenges match what you’re seeing in your organisation? Then read on...