7 Ways Robots can affect your Lean Manufacturing Efforts

7 Ways Robots can affect your Lean Manufacturing Efforts

As manufacturing technology continues to advance, many machine shop owners are choosing to apply the principles of lean robotics to remain competitive in a growing industry.

The principles of lean robotics stem from lean manufacturing, originally called “just-in-time” manufacturing, and allow for seamless integration of automated systems on a production floor. In Samuel Bouchard’s book Lean Robotics, Bouchard lists seven ways robotics can positively impact your CNC machine shop’s lean manufacturing efforts.

  1. Product quality improvement – Robots allow for consistent production with minimal, if any, defective products. The repetitiveness robots endure allow for increased efficiency on your shop floor.
  2. Elimination of human limitations during production – A production line’s capacity can sometimes be constrained by human limitations; manual operators can tire or be slowed down by circumstances outside of their own making. This is not an issue with robots.
  3. Time savings – Robots don’t get tired. By allowing a robot to work continuously, production is able to complete projects more quickly and efficiently.
  4. Prevention of health and safety issues – Delegating repetitive, strenuous tasks to robots reduces the risk of health and safety issues (ex. carpal tunnel, joint pain) for CNC machinists and operators.
  5. Elimination of non-value-added tasks (minimizing waste) – When robotics is implemented into a machine shop, we are forced to evaluate our production process. By doing so, we delegate the repetitive tasks to robots, eliminate the “non-value-added” tasks (such as part preparation, cleaning, etc. by manual operators), and make waste reduction in the production process a priority.
  6. Automatic “error-proofing” – Advanced software in robotics allow robots to identify when there is an issue in production and notify your production team of the issue.
  7. Avoidance of wasted human potential – Bouchard notes that humans can contribute in a variety of meaningful ways during production. Forcing employees to focus on loading and unloading of parts is a waste of human potential; having robots take care of the dull, repetitive tasks allows humans to focus on bettering production efforts in a more impactful way
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