2020/10/27 08:15:41

Automation goes on!

Automation goes on!

As technology advances, automation is advancing in each industry. It is said that the construction industry and the automobile industry, which are short of human resources, are the most advanced. This time, I would like to introduce an article about a manufacturer that is promoting automation in the automobile industry.

What is automation equipment? Benefits, costs, evaluation criteria, 5 automation manufacturers

In recent years, the introduction of factory automation equipment has been progressing.
By automating the equipment

Elimination of chronic labor shortage
Productivity review
Countermeasures against soaring labor costs
It is expected that the above problems will be solved.
With the declining birthrate and aging population, work styles are diversifying, and labor shortages are a serious problem.
In addition, due to such labor shortage, it is necessary to review the cost-effectiveness of productivity.

Furthermore, if there is a shortage of labor, both domestically and internationally, the problem of per capita labor costs will rise.
Automation equipment has received a great deal of attention to solve these problems, and many companies are implementing it.

In addition, a common question is, "Can automation equipment use general-purpose products?"
The answer is that what you want to achieve and the specifications of the work differ depending on the factory, and it is basically made to order, so it is almost impossible to use a general-purpose product. (May be made by combining general-purpose products)

In this article, we will introduce the advantages and disadvantages of the automation equipment of the factory and the evaluation criteria when introducing it.

If you install automation equipment,

I want to save labor and labor to reduce costs
I want to increase productivity and increase sales
I want to reduce human error and increase quality value
I don't know which manufacturer's automation equipment should be used for efficiency

1. What is automation equipment?

What is a factory automation facility?
In a nutshell, automation equipment is equipment in which robots replace the work that humans were doing.

It is introduced in factory line work.
Please see the video below for a specific image.

I will explain in more detail.

(1) Reasons for automation
As mentioned earlier, there are currently concerns about chronic labor shortages in Japan.
Due to the declining birthrate and aging population, the situation where the number of children is decreasing and the number of elderly people is increasing is becoming more serious year by year.
Then, the number of people in the factory will decrease, the number of people working will decrease, and the productivity will decrease.

If that happens, production will not be possible and it will be difficult.
For this reason, the introduction of automated equipment is being promoted in order to automate the equipment and solve the labor shortage.

(2) You don't have to move overseas
Initially, before the introduction of factory automation equipment, companies were thinking of relocating their factories overseas to solve the domestic labor shortage.
However, although it was good at the beginning, it became less cost-effective due to the gradual rise in overseas labor costs.

Another problem has emerged is that employee education costs are extra and it takes time to maintain quality.
Therefore, by introducing factory automation equipment, we were able to solve the labor shortage and establish a production system in Japan.

(3) Automation equipment is basically made to order
For the purpose of reducing costs, there is a question, "Is there any mass production automation equipment that suits your company?"
The bottom line is that even though specific automation is possible, "automation that suits your company" is made to order.
The reason is that the production line, the work, and what we want to achieve vary depending on the manufacturer, so it is basically impossible to achieve optimal automation with only mass-produced products.
Therefore, we will ask the robot SIer to manufacture the automation equipment.

2. Advantages and disadvantages of automation equipment

Let's see what kind of advantages and disadvantages there are when introducing automation equipment more concretely.

(1) The advantages of automation equipment are as follows.
Reduction of labor costs
Increased productivity
Quality stability
Identifying the cause
I will explain each of the above.

① Reduction of labor costs

As mentioned earlier, the biggest advantage of automation equipment is that it can reduce labor costs.

If a worker retires or takes a leave of absence, automation eliminates the need to stop production.
In addition, the cost of recruiting new personnel and the cost of training new workers can be reduced.

② Improvement of productivity

When people work, they are inevitably tired.
Therefore, the time that can be worked in one day is limited.

It is possible to take a shift system, but even in that case, the night shift is reversed, so the night shift workers will work while fighting intense sleep.
In that case, highly productive work could not be expected, and it was also an issue when operating the factory 24 hours a day.

However, automation equipment allows you to work 24 hours a day without people. You can also work faster than people, which increases your productivity.
Another advantage is that the robot does not need a break, so it can be kept in operation at all times.

③ Quality stability

In terms of quality, it will be stable if automated equipment is introduced.
The reason for this is that when it comes to human work, it depends on the physical condition of the worker and the level of proficiency in the work.

In that respect, automation can eliminate quality variations and ensure a certain level at all times.

④ Identification of the cause

By introducing automation equipment, it will be easier to identify the cause in the unlikely event that a problem or defective product occurs.
The reason is that you can easily see the accumulated data. As a result, the points for improvement are clarified, and production can be restored immediately.

If this is a human error, it will take time to find the cause. For example, "Is there any fatigue?" "Is there any problem in the production process?"
Such time is often a waste of time.

Automation can also solve these problems.

3. Disadvantages of automation equipment

On the contrary, do automation equipment have any disadvantages? Here are some possible disadvantages.

(1) Introduction cost becomes high
After introducing automation equipment, it will lead to reduction of labor costs, etc., but it will cost a lot when it is first introduced.
In addition, it is necessary to make plans such as securing a place to install the equipment and relating it to other equipment.

First, you need to get an estimate and figure out how much it will cost.

(2) Requires operating personnel
Even if it is actually automated, it cannot be completely unmanned.
The reason is that we need at least human resources who can operate the robot.

If you don't have human resources, you need to hire new people or educate them.

(3) Manpower required to maintain the machine
Robots work 24/7, but they require regular maintenance.
Of course, maintenance is done by people.
Therefore, maintenance costs, adjustment costs, and labor costs are required separately.

The current situation is that full automation is still difficult.

4. 5 SIers / manufacturers who are strong in introducing automation equipment

Here are five major manufacturers that develop and manufacture automation equipment.

① Japan Support System Co., Ltd.

Japan Support System is one of the largest robot system integrators in the Kanto region with a track record of 200 units per year. We have an integrated production system, and we provide one-stop support from design to manufacturing. You can optimize without wasting cost and time.

② Core Tech Co., Ltd.

③ Ricoh Elemex Co., Ltd.

④ Hitachi High-Tech Fine Systems Co., Ltd.

We are a manufacturing and inspection system supplier that makes full use of the latest technology.
We are a company that accurately grasps and develops changing needs.

⑤ Pentel Co., Ltd.

A company that provides high-quality automation equipment in the fields of automobiles, medical care, cosmetics, electronic devices, etc.

5. Costs and benefits of automation equipment

It is an element to be investigated in advance when considering how much it will cost and how effective it will be when introducing automation equipment.
I will introduce each of them.

(1) Cost of automation equipment
For the cost of automation equipment, it is necessary to install a series of robot systems such as robot installation, peripheral devices, and programs.
Estimated costs for each are as follows.

Robot body 4 million yen
Robot related equipment 2 million yen
Robot peripherals 3 million yen
System integration 6 million yen
As mentioned above, a total of about 15 million yen is a rough guide.
* Costs vary depending on scale, conditions, and work complexity.

(2) Effect of automation equipment
There are five factors that can be obtained by introducing automation equipment.

① Improvement of productivity

It can be said that the primary aim of automation is to improve productivity by improving work efficiency.
The robot can operate 24/7, except for maintenance time.

As a result, it is possible to establish a production system that is more cost-effective than human work.

② Quality improvement

Due to recent advances in technological capabilities, the accuracy of robots is improving day by day.
In the case of human work, it is absolutely necessary to consider the occurrence of human error, but in the case of automation equipment, the possibility can be reduced as much as possible.

③ Long-term cost reduction

As mentioned earlier, there is an initial cost to install automation equipment.
The cost of introducing one robot is not cheap, but it will lead to cost reduction in the long run.

The reason is that if you calculate the labor cost for each person in the long term, it is better to install automation equipment overwhelmingly.

④ Labor saving

With the introduction of automation equipment, no one is needed in the factory.
A minimum of operating personnel is required, but it can be produced unattended, leading to labor savings.

⑤ Improvement of working environment

Automated equipment enables smooth production and improves the working environment due to chronic human fatigue caused by long working hours and shift work.

6. Automation equipment design and evaluation method

Here are some design and evaluation methods to consider before automating equipment. This is the evaluation method needed to design how cost-effective the equipment is.

(1) For cost / benefit analysis
It is a method of evaluation from the aspect of cost effectiveness. We will calculate from the viewpoint of cost (cost) and benefit (benefit).
This evaluation method is based on a certain facility, and the evaluation is performed by comparing the case where automation is performed and the case where automation is not performed.
Costs are evaluated based on labor costs, purchase costs, and maintenance costs, and benefits are calculated from the following items.

Shortening work time
Reduction of setup change time
Reduction of defective products
Reduction of product accidents
Improvement of product quality
(2) Score evaluation method
This is a method of setting common evaluation items for equipment scheduled for automation and evaluating on a 5-point scale.

The evaluation criteria are

Impact on system performance
Difficulty of implementation
Achievement of requirements
Based on the above, if all the items in the 3rd stage out of the 5 stages are satisfied, the total score will be 100 points.

(3) Elimination method
The elimination method is an effective evaluation method when comparing multiple facilities and methods. Judge whether each condition is met and delete the one that does not meet.
However, there are some caveats that need to be carefully considered before the conditions are cleared.

For example, equipment purchase costs and maintenance costs are inevitable in order to introduce good equipment.
Make sure to carefully consider these particular conditions and unyielding conditions.

7. Equipment automation

Automation equipment has been introduced to solve the labor shortage due to the declining birthrate and aging population.
As a result, automation equipment has various advantages such as reduction of labor costs, improvement of productivity, and stable quality.
In the future, the introduction will progress further, and people will work in the factory, so people will shift to operating machines in earnest.