As a complete solutions provider, we get asked this all the time.
Some simple key do’s & don’ts
1) Do not try automating the most complex process in-house. Start small and find small wins to build on.
2) Do not expect your robot to do everything. Robots do not make your lunch and clean toilets at the end of the day. Be realistic in your desired outcome.
3) Do not expect the robot to be twice as fast as the human in cycle time. The robot over time will yield better output over a month and if done correctly, more consistent parts.
4) The last 10% of parts automation can increase the price of a project by as much as 25%. In most cases, it’s best to start with your highest running parts. Add the lower volume parts later if possible, or continue running them manually.
5) Get buy-in from your team, including CEO, CFO, engineering, and floor production staff. Usually, the process you’re trying to automate is something your business has a high turnover in or quality or delivery issues with.
6) For the long term sake of your business health & growth, make a realistic ROI needs. Just an arbitrary “1yr or 18m payback is simple to say, but it’s usually not addressing the need to automate in the first place. Consider your overall need, shortage of trained labor, safety, redundancy, customer request for shorter delivery, or quality issues.