It’s hard to dispute that technology, on the whole, has made our lives easier and more convenient. Myriad functions have been automated – and improved – to mitigate the effects of human intervention. We make purchases more intelligently, we manage data more efficiently, we can control devices with our voices and eye movements, and we ultimately move through life with less left to chance.
In the world of manufacturing, this mitigation of human intervention promises even greater and more measurable, efficiencies. At Rosler Metal Finishing, quality improvements and cost benefits that have resulted from the mechanization and automation of mass finishing and shot blasting operations deliver dividends that transcend the manufacturing floor.
Since the first microprocessor-controlled machine appeared
on the manufacturing floor in 1974, hundreds of new varieties have been shipped
across the world. With each improvement, these automated attendants encompass a
larger footprint, are able to handle heavier loads and more axes, and require
fewer controllers to do their work, according
to a McKinsey study.
Automation has revolutionized smaller tasks as well,
including simple parts bin handling, lift assists, automatic media adding
systems, or multi-step process control systems (like those where noxious
chemicals are dosed, without human risk, into the process).
So how do these automation
upgrades pay off for you? Let’s start by taking a look at where mass finishing
and shot blasting has fit into the manufacturing paradigm. Then we’ll dive
deeper into the benefits of today’s automated processes which have a lasting
impact on the finished product.
Automation is changing the way mass finishing and shot blasting processes are delivered. In this five-part blog series, Rosler Metal Finishing will explain what has given rise to automation trends, the human factors of these manufacturing upgrades, and how such automated processes deliver benefits to your business.
Those of us of a certain age remember a portrayal of robotics
that, in hindsight, was rather quaint: human-looking automated machines would
be crisscrossing our landscape, delivering us food and wardrobe, pumping our
gas, collecting our garbage, or – in a more macabre rendering – leading a rise
of the machines that would eliminate the human race.
In reality, Rosie the Robot and the Terminator have not ruled the world, as predicted by Hollywood. Today, faceless, automated machines, arms, and processors are streamlining the way in which products and services are delivered.
In fact, a World Economic Forum article found that the 2020s will be the “age of automation,” with manual jobs making up only 35 percent of the manufacturing labor force by the end of this decade (a drop from 48 percent, as measured in 2016).
While today’s foundry operations are mostly automated, surface treatment frequently still involves a lot of manual labour resulting in one of the most costly operations within a foundry. Automated systems tailor-made to the unique requirements of desanding, deburring, cosmetic finishing and overall surface finishing of raw castings not only significantly reduce costs but also increases process safety.
Regardless of how a component is cast, tasks such as desanding, deburring, and surface cleaning are often still carried out manually. Not only are they extremely time consuming and highly labour intensive but the quality of manual blasting strongly depends on the skills of the person who is blasting, resulting in a process that is neither consistent or documentable. High quality shot blast results are however a crucial aspect for any foundry product as well as being an important competitive factor.
Surf-Finisher – a new standard for automated precision surface finishing
Surf Finishing is a new surface finishing technology that can be incorporated in an automated system combining; loading, handling, processing and even inspection all in one which can give an added benefit of retaining traceability on parts.