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How Modular Automation Can Scale With You

June 30, 2020 | Jennifer Sewell

If you currently have a low-mix, high-volume production or just landed a large contract, you may want to jump directly into high-speed automation from the beginning. But if you’re like most manufacturers, you will want to scale your production as your product gains traction in the market or as you move through the various product development phases.

Taking a modular approach is a great way to manage risk from development to deployment. It allows you to start small, test quickly, and scale just in time. With Vention, manufacturers can make low-cost, low-risk, quick-to-deploy changes to the manufacturing process. Modular automation lets you add automation when and where automation is needed.

Stage 1: Manual process development

Start small and automate high-value-add, discrete parts of the manufacturing processes over time. Utilize modular automation to develop critical manufacturing processes, like inspection and part loading, while IP is in development or regulatory processes are in progress.

Stage 2: Semi-autonomous

Integrate manual stations into autonomous systems to demonstrate cycle time capabilities. In this phase, automation is not particularly high-speed, but it is used for relatively straightforward things that do not require a lot of custom development.

Stage 3: Fully automated

When the product is ready for the market, scale up to a low volume cell (example 6 parts per minute). Where appropriate, convert manual load stations into auto-feed stations. This provides the reliability and all of the benefits of automation, available as an extension to the system already built in stages 1 and 2.

Stage 4: High-speed, full automation

Once the initial market reaction is measured, invest in stage four automation. Utilize asynchronous transport to duplicate stations and increase the system rate for high-volume manufacturing. Go from 6 parts per minute to 140 parts per minute, with a high-speed and fairly complex automated production line.

The world is changing, and we need to start thinking differently. Modular automation is unlocking a world of potential improvements in the manufacturing industry. The automation projects that once seemed impossible or financially out of reach can now be tackled at lower risk, lower cost, quick deployment, and a fast ROI.

To learn how Vention can help you with your next automation project, reach out today.

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