- Define your needs (musculoskeletal injuries, return on investment, agility, higher rate, reducing of the working force dependence, standardization…)
It is absolutely necessary to define an automation project’s expectations. Indeed, the return on investment being, most of the time, the first decision-making lever, many other elements need to be taken into account.
Among them, making some difficult work stations less harsh (musculoskeletal injuries, work-related accidents, …) is extremely important for the return on investment. Indeed, according to the French global health insurance, in the industrial field, 12,6% of the workers get a sick leave because of musculoskeletal disorders, once a year. A backache causes, on average, 2 months of work stoppage.
- Create a mapping of the processed references and used processes
Some packing lines deal with different types of references or allow the packing of products in different ways. These various manufacturing processes need a certain flexibility of the manufacturing tools and, thus, of the automation solutions.
To do so, it is necessary to take into account each reference and process to find solutions that might fit the different needs.
- Calculate the opening time for each process
To know the profitability of an automation project, it is necessary to calculate the line opening time of each industrial process.
Line 5 allows to pack three different deodorant lots thanks to two processes. The aim is to determine the opening time for each process and each reference:
||Stick deodorant 50mL
||Roll-On deodorant 75mL
||Spray deodorant 200mL
- Calculate the current packing rate
A last element is necessary to determine the kind of solution you need to implement: the arrival rate of the product to pack.
A line with an arrival rate up to 200 products/minute won’t allow you to use the same solutions as a line with an arrival rate up to 35 products/minute. Indeed, a SCARA or a DELTA robot with a high speed would be much more suitable for a high arrival rate, and collaborative robots would better fit slower rates. Cobots also present the advantage to be less invasive on production lines.