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4 Myths about Automating your Machine Shop

CNC Automation

Robot Economic Myths



Published on

Dec 7, 2021

With so many buzzwords and ideas flying around about CNC automation, facts can get lost in the shuffle. We take you through myth and fact in less than 2 minutes.

Read Time: 2 minutes

Word Count: 561

Key Take Away: Myth Versus Fact With Robots

Automation is only for complex, large-scale operations

No matter the size, machine shops face many of the same struggles. Examples of these struggles include the lack of skilled machinists, just-in-time (JIT) production, reshoring, large variations in production demand, and the negative effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the workforce. If machine shops of all sizes are affected by these issues, what stops them from implementing the same solution?

Robotics is a proven solution and can be particularly helpful for small-to-mid-sized manufacturers who are looking to keep up with unpredictable demand and minimize bottlenecks in the production process.

Robots are too expensive

There’s no denying the upfront costs that are associated with purchasing a robot. However, your machine shop can see a return on investment in as little as six months with the correct CNC automation system. Industry professionals can visualize their return on investment through “off-the-clock” operations or running CNC operations outside of a rigid eight-hour work schedule. Something as simple as an extra four hours of production per day could result in an extra thousand hours of production yearly.

There is another view that your banker and your CFO would likely validate. Financing the entire purchase, even at today’s interest rates, your monthly payment would be less than you currently pay your machine operator.

From day one, you have a financial advantage. And, you gain control over both production and costs in ways that you cannot gain with any other move.

When the loan is fully repaid, you are even farther ahead from a financial standpoint. You don’t have labor costs associated with that machine operator. You also are no longer subject to wage inflation for that operator. And, your cost of benefits won’t be subject to inflation.

Implementing automation is too difficult

This myth may be true depending on the automation system. Standard robot installation on a shop floor could take as little to 3-4 days. However, finding robotic software that is easily programmable and user-friendly is essential. This allows for the seamless integration of robotics in a machine shop and leads to an even quicker ROI.

Robots are replacing humans on the shop floor

This statement is simply untrue. A recent Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute study stated that more than half of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs created over the next ten years would go unfulfilled, thanks to the industry skills gap.

Rather than have machinists and other shop floor professionals work on the boring, repetitive tasks, robots enable workers to utilize their skills in different ways – such as robot operation, design of new productions, improving production strategies, and general monitoring of the production line.

We are seeing all machine shops implementing our robots redeploy the machine operator to a new role within the organization. That makes everyone happy. First, the machine operator no longer has the dull job of tending the CNC. That operator can add more value to your organization in another role and you can probably afford to pay them for adding more value.

People take selfies with the robot and post them on social media. That does wonders for recruiting. Hard to believe, but we have customers tell us that recruiting has gotten much easier since they added our robot to their workforce.

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