Blog / #automation

How modular automation can scale with you

Jennifer Sewell Marketing Director / Jun 30th, 2020

If you currently have a low-mix high-volume production, or just landed a large contract, you may want to jump directly into high-speed automation from the beginning. But if you're like most manufacturers, you will want to scale your production as your product gains traction in the market or as you move through the various product development phases.

Taking a modular approach is a great way to manage risk from development to deployment. It allows you to start small, test quickly, and scale just-in-time. With the Vention and ATS partnership, manufacturers can make low cost, low risk and quick to deploy changes to the manufacturing process.

Modular automation lets you add automation when and where automation is needed.

Stage 1 : Manual Process Development

Start small and automate high-value-add, discrete parts of the manufacturing processes over time. Utilize modular automation to develop critical manufacturing processes, like inspection and part loading, while IP is in development or regulatory processes are in progress.

Stage 2: Semi-autonomous

Integrate manual stations into autonomous systems to demonstrate cycle time capabilities. In this phase, automation is not particularly high speed, but it is used for things that are relatively straightforward and do not require a lot of custom development.

Stage 3: Fully automated

When the product is ready for the market, scale up to a low volume cell (example 6 parts per minute). Where appropriate, convert manual load stations into auto-feed stations. This provides the reliability and all of the benefits of automation, available as an extension to the system already built in stages 1 and 2.

Stage 4: High speed, full automation

Once the initial market reaction is measured, invest in stage four automation. Utilize asynchronous transport to duplicate stations and increase system rate for high volume manufacturing. Go from 6 parts per minute to 140 parts per minute, with a high speed and fairly complex automated production line.

The world is changing and we need to start thinking differently. Modular automation is unlocking a world of potential improvements in the manufacturing industry. The automation projects that once seemed impossible or financially out of reach can now be tackled in lower risk, lower cost, quick deployment and a fast ROI manner.

To learn how ATS and Vention can help you with your next automation project, reach out today.

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