January 25, 2023
Improve Your Move
How many of us committed to a little more physical activity at the turn of the calendar? No one will deny that moving our bodies is one of the best things we can do for our health. The same does not hold true for moving products around the plant floor unless, of course, you are supporting your employee’s New Year’s resolutions. As we talk about Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and movement on the production floor, one of the most obvious places to start is by asking the question: what are we physically moving and why?
From pellet to product, a lot of time and capital calories are wasted in getting the right “piece” to the correct location. Often, the ROI for moving products and materials around the floor is translated into months and not years. While these calculations always include labor and wages, we must also consider injury, fatigue, and lost production time.
Material Conveying – From manually filling a hopper to moving gaylords
Pellet, color and additive loading at the machine is both time-consuming and dangerous to employees. Getting the right materials to the machine at the right time reduces machine downtime, labor costs and plant floor waste.
Have you ever taken the time to evaluate your mold changeover efficiencies? More than likely, there is an opportunity to improve your downtime and increase your output capacity. Changing, transporting and storing molds can all be done better with the right tools and preparation. Quick Mold Change (QMC) reduces downtime and increases equipment productivity, changing a mold within minutes instead of hours.
Many of our successful customers ensure that manifolds are on all machines and that all components needed for a job are stored together to be sent to the machine during mold changes. Some of these include hoses, fittings, and quick-connect ejectors. Mold-mounted manifolds with single-line quick disconnects can reduce time and mistakes in mold changeovers.
This standardization and the time spent gathering the right components are often hidden in downtime numbers when a cost analysis is done.
Part Handling and Conveying
The first thing most of us in the injection molding world think of when we talk about automation is removing the molded parts from the machines. The age-old rule of “don’t let the part go once you have it” still applies, but it is now easier to implement the vision in many plants. Automatically removing parts from the machine not only saves time and labor but provides a consistent cycle time and process that can’t be achieved when opening and closing the gate manually. Today, robots and integrated automation provide solutions for a host of production steps, such as placing inserts, part removal, conveying, inspection, part separation, assembly, packaging etc.
Transporting and Packaging Parts
Getting finished goods off the manufacturing floor is key to maximizing valuable production space. Automated mobile robots (AMRs) can convey or transport parts to centralized areas for packaging and distribution. Enabling the safe and enhanced process flow of semi-finished or finished goods to the next stage of operation. In some cases where additional tasks are required, whether for assembly or packaging, collaborative robots and other types of robotics have become commonly employed to reduce the need for valuable manpower that can be utilized elsewhere.