Investing in automation does more than speed up production and reduce errors in the finished product. Here are examples from three businesses that found the ability to expand product lines, win accounts larger than they had thought possible, and open new markets.
G&W Products in Ohio grew 35 percent in a 3-year period thanks to robotic welding while maintaining a stable staff of 20 welders among the total number of 120 employees. Click here for the full article. The company provides up to 2,500 welding hours a week for customers and the use of robotics allows them to place their human welders in the most strategic positions possible when tackling larger jobs. G&W’s automation strategy gives it a competitive advantage and it has outbid companies that aren’t technically up-to-date.
Medium-to-large welding jobs are completed in a consistent on-time manner and the efficiency aids in G&W’s overall construction management needs. The company has expanded its use of automated systems and robotics is used to manufacture hundreds of the same item each month.
The results from automation have acted as a showcase and sales tool. Customers experience the quality and capabilities and often want to find out more about G&W’s complete manufacturing services that include laser cutting, stamping, and tool and die manufacturing.
New Product Lines
Marlin Steel of Baltimore originally manufactured bagel baskets as its one and only product. Employees bent wire by hand and there were several accidents per year in addition to strain-related injuries. Less expensive products from China hit the market and threatened to put the company out of business, but the company switched from traditional production and automated many processes.
Marlin Steel not only stayed in business but found that its investment opened doors to new markets. Now it makes products for customers in the aerospace, automotive, medical, and pharmaceutical industries. Clients include Pratt and Whitney, Delta Airlines, and Toyota.
Safety has improved, too. Marlin Steel logged more than 1,000 days without a safety incident in pursuit of Maryland’s top safety standard, a level achieved by no more than six companies in the state.
Companies in all industries that automate find they can compete from their hometown on a global scale, increase production, and provide services to brands that have global recognition.
Critics spread the popular notion that automation cuts jobs, but Surface Encounters of Macomb, Michigan has discovered that automating the fabrication of kitchen counters resulted in such high quality the company was able to open more stores and hire more employees.
Broken equipment that temporarily shut down production became a challenge of the past. Greater product output, reliability, and accuracy in cutting to four-thousandths of an inch allowed Surface Encounters to grow market share. The same kitchen is never cut twice so the counters vary in dimension, yet automation led to fewer material costs thanks to a 20 percent waste reduction.
Surface Encounter’s team can cut one job while laying out the next, leading to increased employee productivity. The company has been more competitive with its pricing, boosted profits and reinvested by hiring more people.
Automation is quickly becoming a “must-have” for manufacturers looking for a sustainable competitive advantage in the global economy. How are you using automation in your production process? Share you insights in the comments.
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