Over the past several years, advanced technology has come to the forefront in the manufacturing world.
This technology not only enhances processes via automation, it has also allowed for a huge resurgence in U.S. manufacturing. In fact, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed that as of October 2017, the U.S. manufacturing industry had expanded at its fastest pace in 13 years.
Evolutions in additive manufacturing, automation and industrial robotics are changing every step in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers are adopting robotics and technologies to collaborate with human engineers and operators, freeing them up for higher-level tasks and thereby increasing overall efficiency.
At ESI, we’re proud to be a part of this exciting shift. We make use of various advanced manufacturing and industrial automation technologies, allowing us to provide cost-efficient, high-quality products with extremely quick turnarounds. Take a look at some of our automated processes below to see just how much time manufacturing technology saves us — and our customers.
Time saved for prototyping jobs: Over 200 hours
The use of 3D printing has dramatically reduced the amount of time needed to develop and produce prototypes, as well as the overall costs associated with the process.
Before we started utilizing 3D printing, it could take up to two weeks to design and develop a prototype. Additive manufacturing has reduced that time to just three or four hours. And since less time is required to build the prototype, ESI can now devote more time to thoroughly testing and evaluating the part, which, in turn, allows us to more easily adjust and optimize the design as needed.
Time saved for packaging: 15 hours
The team at ESI also makes use of a sophisticated automated packaging machine that loads parts, weighs, and packages them according to weight. With this manufacturing technology, ESI has been able to significantly reduce the overall time and costs needed for all packaging processes.
What used to take 20 hours with manual packaging now takes just five hours. This allows us to get products to customers faster, at lower rates than allowed by manual packaging.
Time saved for inspection: 10 mins. per part (for million-part jobs)
To ensure our products are of the highest possible quality, we employ an integrated vision inspection and assembly system — a unique, customized assembly machine featuring built-in technology that inspects part runs in the millions.
This allows for high precision and nearly eliminates the risk of any defects or problems. With this technology, we’ve significantly reduced the amount of time needed to check dozens of specified criteria; now, this complex analysis can be done in just milliseconds. And since this system combines assembly and inspection processes, we can more effectively manufacture large runs of parts with greater accuracy.
Before we started using this technology, the turnaround time for inspection and assembly was about 10 minutes per part, but now it’s just half a second! Jobs that would have been nearly impossible to complete are now easily doable.
Every manufacturer knows that product defects are a major cause of cost overruns and project delays.
Quality of parts is an essential piece of the manufacturing puzzle. It is even more critical to the safety of applications, such as automotive parts. When there is absolutely no room for error, the inspection portion of the manufacturing process takes on a vital role.
As an indication of our commitment to both quality and safety, our team at ESI has designed a customized assembly machine with the ability to inspect parts based on dozens of specific criteria. In just milliseconds — a speed faster than the blink of an eye — our machine can confirm that a part has been manufactured within the tolerances specified by our client.
By leveraging the power of a vision-based inspection machine, we are able to verify parts with unparalleled speed and accuracy. The vision systems we use are capable of working far faster, and far more accurately than any human inspector.
In the end, this means that we are able to deliver cost savings without having to sacrifice the quality of our products in any way.
Automation and robotics deliver a range of benefits for both industrial companies and their customers. At ESI, our advanced manufacturing technology provides shorter turnarounds, faster production times, and higher-quality products, giving us more time to work with our customers to perfect part engineering, design, and functionality.
To learn more about our manufacturing technology, or to further discuss the benefits of automation, check out our eBook on high-volume production, available in our comprehensive resource library.