GUEST BLOG: Technology’s impact on efficiency in manufacturing
Technology is providing many improvements to processes across sectors, including within the manufacturing industry. From CRM computer systems that help to plan and schedule workloads to analytics to support decision-making processes, the impact is undeniable.
Quality control: embedded metrology
Faulty parts that slip through quality checks can spell a PR disaster for companies. That’s why the ever-improving embedded metrology will continue to help manufacturers produce a better product. This quick and convenient solution is a lot more accurate and requires little human interference.
Traditional quality control processes are laborious and time-consuming. There would be randomly selected machine-made parts that would be individually tested, and if they passed the test, the batch it came from would be validated.
Technology isn’t just in gadgets; we can also wear our newest innovations. Ford’s Michigan plant is also using innovative technological developments to help its workforce. It was announced in 2017 that line workers in the plant would pilot exoskeleton suits — wearable technology that can help support a worker’s arms while they undergo tasks above their heads.
These suits can also be adjusted to support different weights, depending on the wearer’s needs. While such suits were more likely to appear on the big screen in movies such as Iron Manjust a few years ago, the creation is having positive feedback from its users, with many claiming they aren’t as sore after a shift if they’ve been wearing the technology.
Drones have proven useful in the industry already. Ford has started to use drones to help perform risky inspections on the factory’s equipment in its Dagenham engine plant. The company is benefitting massively, saving almost 12 hours on each inspection and reducing the time it takes to check the equipment from 12 hours to 12 minutes. Not only can drones provide a quick and thorough inspection, but they eliminate the health and safety risk of someone needing to scale up to 150 feet to look at gantries.
That’s not all. As well as making sure the equipment is still in a good enough condition, the drones are providing the company with video and still footage that can be stored to allow the plant to compare its findings over a period of time to monitor any changes or patterns that are noticeable. This has become an indispensable tool for the factory, with the drones greatly improving productivity and efficiency.
Assembly line update: 3D printing
3D printing has made leaps and bounds since its first introduction. Automated printers, like those used by Voodoo Manufacturing, don’t need to be manned anymore and can continue working 24 hours a day. The use of robotics isn’t aimed at replacing humans, but more so making employees’ jobs easier.
Human error can have a massive impact on profits. That’s where 3D printing can come into play. While it’s still early days for the technology, it has the potential to have a massive impact on practicality. It’s expected that this invention will transform nearly every industry as it changes how manufacturers will do business and will impact material costs, the traditional assembly line and product pricing strategies.
The human aspect of this process could, potentially, be removed in the future. While some of the public are concerned that jobs will be lost as it keeps progressing, it can only be a good thing for manufacturing companies as it continues to help improve productivity and efficiency. It will be interesting to see what we welcome to factories next! Technology is continuing to amaze us in all walks of life. The automotive industry is no different, either, taking advantage of new inventions. It’s not only our cars that are benefitting from technological advances, though — the manufacturing industry is, too.
Lookers, who offer Ford Servicing, is an example of this.