4 Myths about Automating your Machine Shop

4 Myths about Automating your Machine Shop

We have previously addressed the hesitation many machine shops have when implementing robotic automation. These hesitations are derived from the many myths surrounding automation processes. But which of these statements are baseless, and which are legitimate? Let’s discuss.  

1.     Automation is only for complex, large-scale operations 

No matter the size, machine shops face a lot of the same struggles. Examples of these struggles include the lack of skilled machinists, just-in-time (JIT) production, reshoring, large variations in production demand, and the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the workforce. If machine shops of all sizes are being affected by these issues, what is stopping them from implementing the same solution? Robotics are a proven solution and can be particularly helpful for small-to-mid sized manufacturers who are looking to keep up with unpredictable demand and minimize bottlenecks in the production process. 

2.    Robots are too expensive 

There’s no denying the upfront costs that are associated with purchasing a robot. However, with the correct CNC automation system, your machine shop can see a return-on-investment in as little as 6 months. Industry professionals can visualize their return on investment through “off-the-clock” operations, or running CNC operations outside of a rigid eight-hour work schedule. Something as simple as an extra four hours of production per day could result in an extra thousand hours of production yearly.  

3.   Implementing automation is too difficult 

This myth is one that may be true depending on the automation system. Standard robot installation on a shop floor could take as little to 3-4 days. What is essential, however, is finding robotic software that is easily programmable and user friendly. This allows for seamless integration of robotics in a machine shop and leads to an even quicker ROI.  

4.   Robots are replacing humans on the shop floor 

This statement is simply untrue. A recent study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute stated that more than half of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs created over the next ten years will go unfulfilled, thanks to the industry skills gap. Rather than have machinists and other shop floor professionals work on the boring, repetitive tasks, robots enable workers to utilize their skills in different ways – such as robot operation, design of new productions, improving production strategies, and general monitoring of the production line. 

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