It has never been easier for manufacturers to drive profits by adopting robotic automation.
In the age of rapid digitalization, robotic automation technology is integrating across manufacturing companies of all sizes and industries. Thanks to the cost of industrial robots falling by more than 50% over the past 30 years1, manufacturers are finding they can achieve a positive ROI on their automation implementation in just 1 to 2 years
The potential value is underscored further when manufacturers are able to identify robots that can not only address current needs but are flexible for future applications as well. While there are many positive factors of robotic automation, here are the top 5 ways that robots drive profit for manufacturers:
1. Positive ROI in under 1 to 2 years
According to the Robotics Industries Association, recouping the cost of an automated robot and realizing a profit can be made, on average, within two years2. Some manufacturers have even reduced this timeframe down to under one year, depending on the management of inbound and outbound queues. Quick return on investment (ROI) is propelled by the greatly reduced costs of new industrial robots and new applications that make programming them easier. In today’s competitive global economy, manufacturers should expect competitors to be developing robotics strategies – both domestically and globally – and an investment in automation can ensure that their manufacturing rates can continue to compete in the digital future.
2. Greater production volume
For manufacturers, the amount of items that can be produced in a set timeframe is directly correlated with future profit. Not only can industrial robots streamline production and output more items faster and more efficiently, but many can also work simultaneously on multiple products and/or alongside your existing manufacturing resources to increase total production capacity (these are known as collaborative robots or cobots). By automating manufacturing processes, manufacturers will be able to better meet growing production demands from consumers, while also reducing manual production time delays.
3. Increased quality & less waste
Errors in product manufacturing can directly result in the loss of customer satisfaction, loss in production time, and loss in profits. Luckily with robots, manufacturers can rest easy knowing that their products are being produced with high levels of automated quality control and precision with regards to product specifications. Robots are better able to inspect products and identify potential errors relative to humans, and they also produce less wasted scrap material and re-work. A well-run automated robot can minimize the risk of errors and ensure product consistency for manufacturers across all industries.
4. Reduction in factory consumables
Another way that robots help drive profits for manufacturers is by reducing expenses for consumable resources, which refers to goods that must be replaced regularly because they are used up or because they’ve been worn down. Consumables include power, raw materials, components like belts and grinding wheels, and more. With the advantage of sensors and simulation software, industrial robots are able to use needed consumables in the most efficient and precise way possible. Once simulations are optimized to the robot’s settings, needed consumables last longer and the annual cost savings are passed to the manufacturer’s bottom line.
5. Improved safety & fewer injuries
Even with the most detailed safety guidelines, factory workers are always at risk when they are doing highly repetitive manufacturing processes. Automating these types of manual tasks can create a safer environment for your workers, reduce occupational injuries, and reduce expenses on health insurance costs. At the same time, this can also free up your workforce to focus on more complex tasks that are likely to increase their job satisfaction. From this lens, manufacturers can profit not only from healthcare cost savings but also from the wealth of engaged workers.
With more and more manufacturers becoming aware of the great profitability of low-cost robots, we can expect to see a continued acceleration of robotic automation across industries. It is exciting now to see manufacturers begin to benefit from lean, automated manufacturing, and we can expect them to help continue to shape the robot revolution in global manufacturing.
1. Tilley, Jonathan. “Automation, robotics, and the factory of the future.” McKinsey & Company. McKinsey Insights. September 2017. Web
2. Anandan, Tanya M. “Why Should I Automate?” Robotics Online. Robotic Industries Association. February 2019. Web