How can automating flat-part finishing in a metal fabrication shop be beneficial?
Increase productivity and throughput – Automated systems for grinding, polishing, deburring, etc. can process parts much faster and more consistently than manual labour. This allows more parts to be finished in the same amount of time.
Improve quality control – Automated finishing processes are programmed to follow the exact same steps for each part, removing variability and human error from the equation. This leads to more uniform and repeatable results.
Reduce labour costs – With automated equipment doing the finishing work, less manual labour is required. This reduces labour overhead costs associated with finishing operations.
Improve worker safety – Automated finishing stations minimize the need for workers to handle dangerous grinding/polishing wheels, chemical deburring agents, etc. This creates a safer working environment.
Reduce variability – Manual finishing relies on the skill and technique of the operator. Automated equipment provides consistent results, independent of who is operating it. This reduces part-to-part variability.
Increase flexibility – Automated equipment can be programmed to handle a variety of parts and processes. The same system could grind, deburr, polish, etc. based on the selected program. This improves flexibility compared to single-purpose manual stations.
Improved regulatory compliance – Automated systems with enclosed finishing processes can help control waste material and effluents better. This helps meet environmental regulations more effectively.
In conclusion: The main challenges with automating finishing are the initial capital investment required and integration with upstream/downstream processes. But overall, it can provide significant gains in productivity, quality and safety for many metal fabrication shops. Proper selection of equipment and processes is key.
Metal fabricators turn to automation to address staffing challenges and elevate human work
Metal fabricators are facing challenges in maintaining a fully staffed shop floor due to hiring difficulties and limited staff. They are turning to automation to address these issues. Sheet metal fabricating companies have incorporated flat-part finishing machines into their operations, such as the 32 Series RB from Timesavers. These machines automate the process of loading and unloading parts on the conveyor belt, surpassing the productivity of multiple manual workers. This allows shops to redeploy their trained machine operators to more complex responsibilities, elevating human work. The efficiency gains from automating finishing processes allow these shops to utilise their skilled workforce more effectively on higher-value tasks.
Timesavers pair cobot with a flat-part finisher for quick, safe automation
Timesavers demonstrated an innovative approach to automation at FABTECH by pairing a flat-part finishing machine with a collaborative robot (cobot). The cobot handled the pickup and placement of parts onto the conveyor feeding the machine, eliminating the need for traditional protective fencing around industrial robots. This is possible because cobots are designed to work safely in close proximity to humans. Programming the cobot is straightforward, even for non-engineers. The operator simply guides the arm through the desired motions to establish pickup and drop-off points. With just a few points logged into the system, the cobot can be programmed on the fly to automate repetitive material handling tasks. Timesavers noted this plug-and-play automation allows metal fabricators to accomplish simple tasks without hiring additional labour. Recognising customers’ interest in integrated solutions, Timesavers is actively developing more offerings that combine machinery and smart cobots to provide one-stop shopping.
Are you a sheet metal fabrication shop still finishing parts manually? There’s a better way!
Don’t settle for slow, inconsistent hand finishing. Contact Headland’s Timesaver experts today to learn how automated flat-part finishing can transform your fabrication shop. Increase capacity, quality, and profits with Timesavers. Call 1300 138 285 or visit the website to get started.