We have all seen videos of robots at work in large manufacturing facilities, vision inspection systems in the electronics industry, and amazing automation equipment utilized at warehouses and fulfillment centers. Is such technology practical for small plastic components or for low volume programs? The answer may surprise you.
Consider the Consequences
Although your part may be small or have low volumes, the quality expectations from customers remain at an all-time high. The cost associated with quality failures can ruin a program or a company. Replacement costs, engineering costs, administrative charges, punitive charges, and damage to business relationships are real and can be significant.
Here are some examples of how Injection Molders are deploying technology.
Newer designed injection molding presses provide greater stability and processing control than ever before.
Robots + End of Arm tooling protect the tool, maintain cycle consistency, and reduce labor requirements for part handling at the press.
Vision systems allow for nearly perfect 100% part inspection prior to packaging.
Conveyors and robotics assist in part transfer from the press to the shipping area or value-added work stations.
Robots and Vision Systems greatly assist with the completion of value-added services.
System-wide ERP systems ensure accurate material and inventory control.
Although economies of scale remain an important factor in any decision to use automation, technology is no longer limited to the big players and big programs in our industry. The “Tech Savvy” molder has learned how to take the large capital investment costs of robotics, vision, and automation systems and spread those costs over a wide variety of smaller individual applications.
You Might be Surprised
If you are thinking … “My part is too small, or my volume is too low”…. You might be surprised just how much a technology-driven, plastic injection molder can do for you.