Out Front with Andre Ey
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Automated Mold Making Goes Beyond the Equipment
Across North America, manufacturers in the tool, die and mold industries are rapidly turning to automated mold making to fuel competitiveness and grow their business in the face of global competition. Automation can be a powerful tool in achieving these goals; however, many manufacturers place too great an emphasis on the automated technologies themselves, particularly during the process of initial consideration. The key to establishing a complex, highly engineered automated mold making system is the knowledge and expertise that go into designing, developing and integrating the technologies.
Many of our customers reach out to us with questions about automation in order to solve issues of skilled labor availability and to maximize machine investments through increased utilization rates. While all are valuable outcomes that manufacturers can expect from automation, we are quick to emphasize that successful implementation of an automated mold making system begins with understanding the workflow and process requirements of the applications they produce. It’s this level of consultation and dialogue around defining processes that truly makes automation effective.
Many suppliers are on the market that can simply sell and install a robot. Could this level of service improve current productivity and efficiency? Without a doubt. But when taking on a sizable investment that is meant to position a business for the future, achieving bare-minimum results is a disservice to long-term competitiveness and return on investment. It’s also important to remember that successfully implementing automation does not end with equipment installation. Manufacturers should expect to work with their automation supplier to conduct post-process checks and ongoing process optimizations to ensure continuous improvements. A highly dynamic and intelligently applied automation system can provide nearly unlimited opportunities for process enhancements, including these capabilities:
- Reduce part and labor costs.
- Enhance throughput and overall capacity
- Improve process consistency and quality
- Increase production flexibility
Customers have many options when it comes to machines and automation, but only one solution for total support and integration of processes and automation. With more than two dozen applications engineers focused on milling and EDM for tooling, Makino guides its customers through the automation process by deploying best-in-class techniques from concept to implementation, and from production to continuous improvement over the life of the equipment.
We all want to win new business. Achieving this goal takes not only the right automation investment but also excellent support.
Makino Die Mold & EDM Technologies