Automation Strategies for Sustainability & Manufacturing Challenges

Rising energy prices and environmental concerns have put industrial enterprises under significant pressure. To tackle these challenges, companies should consider exploring automation strategies as part of their sustainability strategy. Moreover, by implementing comprehensive automation practices, Omron Automation says they can also mitigate the impact of soaring energy costs, address labour shortages, and reduce their environmental footprint.

Energy Costs and Labour Shortages

The escalating prices of energy and fuel have led to financial strain and production disruptions for many companies. Make UK reports that electricity bills have increased by 100% for 42% of manufacturers surveyed, while gas prices have risen by over 100% for 32% of respondents. In response, some manufacturers have resorted to job cuts. To combat these challenges, comprehensive automation strategies offer greater flexibility and energy efficiency by combining robotics, sensor technology, vision systems, and artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge. Real-time data from production plants can help detect anomalies and enhance overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

Streamlined automation strategies and environmental impact

Automation not only addresses energy and electricity costs but also contributes to sustainability by streamlining processes. Manufacturing companies should prioritise waste reduction and environmental targets. Automation enables organisations to minimise rejects and errors during production, thus reducing wasteful practices and associated costs. For example, optical inspection and innovative technologies play a crucial role in avoiding errors, optimising production, and minimising waste.

Flexibility and Adaptability

To meet the growing demands of customisation, traceability, and sustainability, production lines need to be adaptable. Robots and cobots (collaborative robots) ease continuous production and optimise material replenishment on the line, enhance material feed speed and assist with restocking. Conveyor belt tracking automation, image processing, and SCARA solutions further improve efficiency and adaptability.

Faster changeover times and simpler maintenance

Automated machine setup and coordination of sensors, control, motion, safety, and robotics lead to efficient and sustainable operations. For instance, adopting an Omron solution can reduce changeover times in production lines, simplify processes, and optimise adjustments through visual monitoring. Synchronised automation technology enhances speed, accuracy, and time-to-market.

Holistic Solutions and Sustainable Partnerships

To achieve resource efficiency and flexibility, manufacturers should seek technology partners offering diverse product portfolios covering all required areas from a single source. Seamless integration and low-interface solutions ensure smooth and efficient operations. Choosing a supplier committed to sustainability is crucial. For example, Omron Automation practices CO2 reduction, energy savings, and resource-efficient manufacturing practices. Their partnership with VAF and Dassault in battery and fuel cell production demonstrates the merging of design, manufacturing, and digital twins for future-oriented sustainable solutions.

Automation strategies are accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes and industries. By embracing automation, manufacturers can improve quality, become more self-sufficient, save energy, and reduce costs. The integration of modern robotics and sustainable practices is crucial for companies to remain competitive and overcome the energy crisis.

With a comprehensive automation strategy, industrial enterprises can achieve sustainability goals while countering rising prices and meeting environmental targets.

 

 

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