Why Automate Centerless Grinding Cells
Centerless grinding cells are the future of precision Grinding. This high-speed production technique has proved to be an efficient and effective technique allowing manufacturers to remain competitive in the global market. Many manufacturers are considering why they should look to automate their centerless grinding cell operations.
Automating centerless grinding cells allows manufacturers to become more competitive in global markets as competition stiffens. Reducing costs, improving production, and raising quality control standards are attainable goals when automating centerless grinding cells.
The precision machine industry has begun to recognize the value of automation and robotics and is embracing this new technology. We’ll explain why this change is attractive and evident across the balance sheet for most organizations.
The Issue of Labor Costs – Productivity and Potential
Perhaps the largest cost center of any manufacturing operation is labor costs. Being the largest cost center makes these costs an attractive target for cost reduction. Finding ways to make operations more labor efficient and cost-effective Is a driving force behind automated, centerless grinding cells. The reasons for these savings include:
Better utilization of skilled labor
More effective use of available skilled labor
Higher job satisfaction among skilled labor
Using Skilled Labor as Skilled Labor
The typical installation of automation in centerless grinding cells focuses on removing the need for a human operator to perform the repetitive and routine tasks associated with the process. In most cases, automating these tasks yields many benefits to the manufacturer, such as:
Quicker turn around between tasks
Less labor cost in the production process
More precise setups reducing DPPM
Easier modification of processes
Rather than spending time performing routine tasks associated with the centerless grinding cell operations, automating these processes free your skilled workers to focus on tasks that require their skills. This focusing of skill sets is more cost-effective and often results in higher production yields.
In many cases, workers are happier when relieved of the repetitive housekeeping tasks associated with these mundane chores. Focusing on the portions of their job that require them to use and improve their skill sets enhances job satisfaction, which can be a factor in employee retention.
Better Throughput During the Manufacturing Process
Increasing throughput during the manufacturing process is a key part of making systems more profitable. Anytime a manufacturer produces more units in each period, the company’s bottom line improves. Automating centerless grinding cells often improves throughput in several ways.
Faster turnaround times during process setup and takedown
More precise control of setups that are prone to human error
Reducing operator intervention uses skilled labor more effectively
Robotic operations performing routine, repetitive tasks tend to have fewer discrepancies. The robotic systems can perform these tasks without fatigue or loss of focus. The fatigue factor is the root cause of many mistakes in these processes, leading to higher quality control losses.
Hedging Against Labor Shortages
The availability of skilled centerless grinding center operators plagues many manufacturers. Automating centerless grinding cells allows manufacturers to leverage their skilled labor resources for more effective use.
When growing or expanding operations, manufacturers can often accomplish these expansion plans without hiring additional skilled centerless grinding cell operators by automating the processes. The more efficient use of available labor can reduce the challenge of finding or training new skilled operators.
Reducing Costs by Producing Better Products
Costs associated with quality control issues plague many manufacturers. These quality control issues are often traced directly to human error during the human involved portion of the manufacturing process. It is the mundane and repetitive portions of the process where human error occurs most often.
Incorporating robotics to perform these tasks almost certainly ensures that these portions of the process happen precisely and accurately. The reduction of DPPM losses can dramatically improve cost management and profitability.
Becoming More Competitive – Facing the Challenges of the Global Market
Increasingly manufacturers, especially U.S.-based operators, have trouble competing in the global market. Any opportunity to reduce these costs is imperative to stay competitive globally. Leveraging any means of reducing costs and adding value warrants consideration.
Recognizing the challenges of the global market provides the opportunities to meet these challenges with innovative technologies. The challenges in the global market include:
Labor costs in the global manufacturing sector
Quality Control vs. Cost
Often, meeting these challenges requires a move to automation to remain competitive in a global market.
Maintaining a Level Playing Field Globally – Labor Issues
There is no debate that U.S.-based manufacturers face an uphill battle competing globally. In many countries, the cost of labor is cents on the dollar compared with the U.S. Automating as much of the manufacturing process is critical to remaining competitive.
The Time Factor – Responding to Market Demands
The more automation present in a centerless grinding cell operation, manufacturers can implement faster changes driven by market demands or customer requirements. Updates to robotic systems are quick and easy. Precision and reliability remain high with cost containment.
In non-automated centerless grinding cells, skilled operators must be re-trained for new specifications with each change. These changes are time-consuming and expensive. Errors in setups and operations are common, leading to higher costs and larger DPPM.
Getting the Goods to the Customer – Location and Proximity
U.S based manufacturers have one great advantage over their global competitors. The proximity of manufacturing to customers is an advantage that manufacturers must leverage to their benefit. The key to this leverage is cost containment.
The advantage of proximity reduces costs for transporting finished goods to their intended use. However, if manufacturers cannot offset the labor cost disadvantages, the proximity advantage is negated. Automating the centerless grinding cell operation is a tool that can help increase the proximity advantage.
The Value of Quality to the End-User
Providing a product with fewer quality control issues and a higher level of precision can make the difference in getting and keeping customers. Lax quality control and less precision machining are known issues with products manufactured in shops that rely on a cheap labor pool.
Many end-users are willing to pay more per unit for a product with higher manufacturing standards. Higher standards can give operators who leverage automation of their centerless grinding cell operations an advantage. End-users tend to perceive value differently than many manufacturers.
Automating a Centerless Grinding Cell Operation – Why?
Automating many of the tasks associated with centerless grinding cells is one way of increasing value and containing costs while at the same time increasing product quality. Value and cost control can dramatically affect the organization’s profitability and, ultimately, its success in the marketplace.
Have a project that requires centerless grinding? Start your project with Tecton Industries today! We specialize in making complex component parts for original equipment manufacturing companies and offer quick turnaround times.