As the UK economy recovers from the turmoil of the global credit crisis, many manufacturing organisations which survived the recession are now looking to drive forward and switch their focus from survival to growth.

The UK manufacturing sector is in prime position, when compared to much of their European competitors, to position themselves in order to capitalise on the growth potential across developing markets. To maximise this advantage, any growth plans which organisations develop must make appropriate use of existing sources and take advantage of additional resources and technologies which have the potential to provide more efficient growth combined with improved productivity.

Large manufacturing companies have long recognised the productivity benefits of automation of the manufacturing process both in terms of improved production rates and improved quality. Robotic automation systems have the additional benefits of being able to adapt to process changes and new product lines with ease.

Robotic technology has demonstrated its advantages over conventional automation in a wide range of applications from medical care to car and aircraft manufacturing. It is small and medium sized organisations in the manufacturing and processing sectors which are possibly in the most advantageous position when considering implementation of robot technology as they can achieve massive improvements over the business as usual case to support their sustainable growth ambitions.

The benefits achieved, by implementing robot technology, can include:

  • reduced operating costs
  • improved product quality and consistency
  • improvements in the quality of work for employees
  • increased production output rates
  • product manufacturing flexibility
  • reducing material waste leading to increased product yield.

These benefits combined with reduced Health & Safety and contamination risk, through the elimination of the human machine/product interface, makes a strong case for adopting robot technology.

However, for many SMEs there have been concerns over capital intensive technology change, business interruption and the risks associated with speed of response for ongoing support and technical service.

Thankfully this perception of the risks is changing, as robot technology becomes more established and readily available. The cost of implementation of robot technology has reduced dramatically and this, combined with innovative pricing schemes where by companies can take the advantages of robot technology without incurring capital expenditure, means robots are becoming accessible to more and more manufacturing companies.

The North East of England has accrued over 20 years of robot experience within its major manufacturing plants resulting in the development of local service and maintenance skills. This robotics experience is ready to be deployed in manufacturing organisations whom have the ambition to grow in a sustainable and efficient manner but perhaps have not previously considered advanced automation. Adopting robot technology can drive the next wave of manufacturing improvements and increased productivity for the Region.

Article by Andy Reay of OBV Robotics.

Contact Andy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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