Three ways to automate a system by Kevin Jones

There are essentially three approaches to automating a system, according
to Jason Markesino of Applied Manufacturing Technologies, depending on
the extent to which you want to engage professional help with attendant
expense:

1. Do it yourself. This is cheaper than going to a professional, but it
can disrupt workflow. Also, you may not know as much about robotics as
you think you do, and “saving money” may turn out to be expensive in the
long run.

2. Get specialized help. This allows you to focus on what you know and
do best. Such help is available from robot manufacturers. It may be the
best option for many.

3. Have an expert build the system. This option takes the load off of
you, allowing you to stick with doing what you know best, and it brings
years of experience to the job. The work is done by “integrators,” who
are evaluated by the Robotic Industries Association, so their expertise
is generally assured. While this option is the costliest of the three,
the expense can pay off in the long term.

There are certain pitfalls to avoid regardless of the approach one
chooses, Markesino warns. One is to view a robot as a “silver bullet”
that will magically solve a particular problem. Another is to buy a
robot simply because you “saw something cool at a trade show.” A third
mistake is to automate a process solely because that’s what the
competition is doing. How do you know the competition isn’t making a
mistake?

Kevin Jones

You can find more photos and articles on Automate 2019 in our May and June 2019 print issues. 

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