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Economic Benefits of Automation in Stainless Steel Fabrication Made Easy with CNC

CNC machining is the new-age solution for most of the stainless steel fabrication work. The precision, speed and repeatability of the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines far outweigh any old school method followed.

It can be employed in stainless steel fabrication as it is a versatile metal for crafting complex parts and components. But the industries are continuously striving to maximise the ROI (Return on Investment). Automation will do wonders when employed with CNC for stainless steel fabrication.

Automation can be a cost-effective and productive method for CNC stainless steel fabrication. Automation is having a significant positive impact on our ability to manufacture virtually any product, in any industry.

Combining CNC machines and automation provides a competitive edge that has numerous benefits for manufacturers.

The Benefits of Automation

There are a large number of economic benefits that include labour savings and increased throughput and reduced defects when used correctly for automation.

With the future looking bright for further economic gains, contradistinctive strategies are to be adopted while you maximise ROI from robots and automation.

However, you will learn the benefits of automation, the method to carry a return on investment (ROI) by automation, and a few tips while enforcing this methodology.

The power of automation: Boost your stainless steel fabrication

One of the most notable advantages of employing automation in CNC stainless steel fabrication is the significant labour saving potential. Humans would have to undertake some repetitive tasks while now they can only enable machines to take charge. A few tasks that can be automated are:

Material loading and unloading: Automated robotic systems will take care of the loading and unloading of the raw material and finished parts in and out of a CNC machine.

Most of the newer CNC machines have incorporated an automatic door that allows easier access for the loading and unloading process. A few machines have robotic arms built into them that will take of the loading and unloading process.

Tooling changes: Manually achieving the precision and accuracy when switching between cutting tools, drill bits can be difficult and time-consuming. Automated tool changing mechanisms can achieve precision and accuracy while not involving any kind of manual intervention.

Part handling: A robotic arm can be used to handle a part and move it from the machine slowly. They are readily available off the shelf from many manufacturers.

However, other machining operations require human intervention. A robot could be programmed through its range of motion, speed and other details to obtain the exact motion of the human hand.

It can be installed below the arm and as an add-on to turn any standard CNC machine into a fully automatic CNC machine.

Beyond labor savings, automation offers several other advantages:

Boosting the overall productivity: Even the most skilled and fastest human operator will experience minor downtime due to fatigue and inevitable mistakes. With automation, there are negligible amounts of downtime, and the lack of human fatigue or error means faster cycle time.

Reduce Setup times: Automation is the latest ‘date, and more if not all industries. Any method that has a practical advantage or cost-effective opportunity over other known methods.

The method needs to calculate the ROI from robots and automation. Correct implementation of methodology is essential for making future economic gains from automation.

You can fulfill more of your orders and also satisfy more of your clients with automated production. Automation in stainless steel fabrication services leads to minimal idle time and reduced setup times, thus enhancing throughput.

Benefits of Using Automation for Improved Throughput

Capacity to Fill Orders and Take on New Projects Faster

With stainless steel fabrication services, automation can make it easier for you to fulfill your orders and also take up the new ones because it reduces setup times.

For Example:

Ability Fabricators AbilityFab drastically increased their production of stainless steel fabrications by installing a robotic automation system for material handling and part transfer.
Ultimately, they introduced a labor saving of 20%

Reduced Setup Times

Robotic automation systems require minimal setup time and transition between jobs.

Reduced idle time

Your automated system can run 24/7 steadily without any breaks.

For Example:

A manufacturer of stainless steel countertops achieved a 30% increase in throughput when they introduced automation in the form of a loading and unloading system for their CNC cutting machines.

The final result was that reducing setup time makes it easier for stainless steel fabrication metal workers to finish their productions faster. It will stir the interest of more clients to come to you for such products. Using CNC machines will help you by increasing efficiency

Automation can significantly contribute to defect reduction by:

a. Increased Precision

CNC machines operate with unmatched precision, thereby eliminating the human error quotient and the scope for inconsistencies in part dimensions as well.

b. Reduced Human Error

When repetitive tasks like tool changes and part handling is automatically taken care of, there remains little scope for human error.

c. Real-Time Process Monitoring

Modern CNC systems come with the sophistication of real-time monitoring. Even the slightest of discrepancies can be pointed out, and corrective measures can be issued in time, as and when the part or batch is being fabricated. In this way, the production of the defective part can be avoided.

Market Expansion: Reaching New Horizons

Automation also comes hand in hand with a horde of new market opportunities for your stainless steel fabrication business. Here is how you can leverage on the same:

a. Taking On Complex Projects

With automated CNC systems, you can put into action the machining of difficult geometries and tight tolerances. Therefore, you can now take on projects that are otherwise challenging or impractical to perform with manual operation.

b. New Product Lines

You can also fabricate new product lines, all thanks to higher precision and intricacy, with the help of automation.

Making inFormed Decisions

Once you understand the benefits of automation, and before you decide to implement it into your stainless steel CNC machine shop, it will help to know how to calculate the return on investment if you do this.

Here, we will find out how exactly we can calculate the ROI of implementing an automation solution in your CNC Shop.

Key Metrics:

The key metrics to calculate ROI will include:

Direct Labor Cost Savings: Estimate the cost of labor that will not occur for tasks you automate. Keep in mind things like wages, benefits, and number of hours the operator is running the machine.

Increased production volume: Look at your current production quantity and estimate the increase in volume you will get from automating an operation.

Reduced Scrap Rate: Determine how much scrap is a result of defects in your fabricating process. Estimate how much of that scrap will no longer be produced, due to proper machine control, with the use of automation.

Potential Increase in revenue: how much of your highest earning power would you be able to realize with automation in place?

Cost to Implement Automation

Initial cost of investment: Estimate the total cost of obtaining the CNC automation equipment. A few examples of this are robotics systems or a system of automatic tool changers.

Installation, training and maintenance cost: It is also advisable to factor the cost associated with the installation of the automation solution, the training of your staff to operate it and the ongoing maintenance and related expenses.

Software or tooling upgrade: There can be a requirement to purchase any additional software licenses and specialized tooling to make the most out of the benefits of an automation system based on the production requirements.

The process for the calculation of the ROI involves the comparison of the total benefits of the CNC automation system with the total costs of purchasing and installing the device and the benefits it would provide to the manufacturer. Mathematically, the formula to calculate the return of investment is:

ROI = (Benefits – Costs) / Costs x 100%

The benefits are the total quantifiable benefits obtained by a manufacturer after the automation changes to the production after a year.

These include the increased revenue generation due to more production and potentially a market to sell and the reduced costs for labour and materials due to lower labour costs and scrap rates.

Costs mean the total investment in adding the automation device to the manufacturing facility. This cost would include the cost to purchase the automation device and installation and training costs to the manufacturer and any software or tooling cost it would require.

Once you calculate the ROI, it gives an easy way to achieve the ROI of the machinery which is beneficial for investment and also completes the manufacturer’s expectation.

It is better to go for a higher ROI as it reflects the positive conversion into benefits for the producer companies, lower ROI reflects that benefits and costs are equivalent. For successful execution, skilful employees and workforce training have to be considered.

Existing employees are required to be up-skilled for the new equipment and surroundings. For instance, the CNC needs to be operated and maintained under the guidance of the developer.

Hence, up-skilling is required. Create a training plan that equips your workforce to transition and deploy the CNCs most proficiently. Be prepared to face questions and overcome them.

Finally, service your employees with the long-term benefits of automation for both their career in your industry. Maintenance and service equipment are the most important benefits after installation.

Maintain the equipment, and the resultant product for preventing fixtures of the machine. Data analysis is another great opportunity provided by the modern CNC automation systems. We can analyze the produced parts and make them efficient in every four possible ways.

Cause of Bottleneck:

This set of problems received data analytics on potentially required services, bending and cutting times, and the speed required per part and can precisely be obtained from data analytics. The made product can have 100% up-time and is provided as per customers’ request and schedules.

Therefore installing CNC automation solutions can be an innovative step especially when considered for stainless steel. For investing in this automation solution and to gain greater profits, bandwidth expansion can also be thought of.

Therefore the automation solution should certainly be dealt with a great ROI and along with other numerous benefits.

First, you have to know your necessities. Further, you should seek what kind of automation you require checking the steel fabrication flow.

After looking into your needs, you will be required to analyze what type of automation systems are available in the market which includes the robot system, changing tool software system.

Then consult with an expert in this field who can guide you through the process and finally prepare an implementation plan so that you can stick to it.

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