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MFG OutLoud Episode 54: Automation, Evolution, and Growth

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Aug 30, 2021

RoboJob-USA and RoboJob NV are delighted to join Ray Ziganto and Allison DeFord on their podcast Manufacturing OutLoud as we discuss the journey to automation in the manufacturing industry.

Last week, I had the honor of joining Jelle De Roovere of RoboJob NV on an episode of MFG OutLoud, hosted by Allison DeFord and Ray Ziganto. We had a lively (or should I say courageous?) conversation about the journey to CNC automation. The episode won't be available for a few weeks, but I want to give our subscribers a sneak peek into the discussion. This experience was definitely eye-opening for everyone involved and allowed us to dive deep into what it's really like when automation arrives on your CNC machine shop floor.

In our discussion, Jelle and I started with our personal journeys to automation. Although I could go on and on about the benefits of automation, most manufacturers know that automation comes down to addressing a desperate need in the industry. At Fusion OEM, I was deeply frustrated by the lack of skilled operators needed for efficient and timely production. We are in the midst of a huge skills gap which leaves CNC machine shop owners stressed and unable to meet production deadlines. Not only did we not have the manpower to keep up with demand, but we were severely underutilizing human potential by having highly valuable machinists glued to their posts. Employees in manufacturing have the potential to provide amazing contributions but are held back by issues such as waiting for inspections, materials, and loading and unloading of parts.

I think the exercise led by Jelle in the podcast explains this frustration best -

Jelle asked Allison, and I now ask RoboJob-USA blog readers, to think of a task that should take 30 minutes. Now, imagine doing that task while being constantly interrupted. These interruptions can be anything, such as receiving a call from a family member, having to take care of a child, or something else out of your control.

The task that should have taken 30 minutes now turns into one that takes 3 hours. This phenomenon happens daily on machine shop floors. Machinists spend hours on repetitive tasks and dealing with production hiccups rather than providing more meaningful contributions in production. With automation, robots do the work they’re supposed to do - producing quality parts quickly, without the need for operator intervention. After implementing automation, machine shops get the benefit of 50% more production hours on average and an even bigger percentage with continued lights-out operation.

Although increased production hours are only a fraction of the benefits you receive with automation, this information provides a strong message for machinists everywhere: your problems with timely and efficient production can be fixed!

As a CNC machine shop owner, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to speak on the joys of automation from my personal experience on such an amazing platform.I am very excited for you all to listen in on our unfiltered discussion with Manufacturing OutLoud.

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