HALTER LoadAssistant® for loading batches from 10 to 1000 workpieces
Ten reasons for metal companies to invest in robot technology in 2017
Wouter van Halteren, the founder of HALTER CNC Automation, asks himself every day how machining companies can efficiently produce small and medium-sized series. HALTER CNC Automation develops standard plug-and-play loading robots, which automatically load CNC machines.
Automation is no longer a theme
“The automation of CNC machines is entering a new phase. The question is no longer whether to automate, but rather how companies are going to apply automation. It is just as it was in the nineteen eighties, when companies had to decide between conventional machines and CNC machines. The turning point meant that only CNC machines were sold. The same things is now going to happen with automation”, explained Wouter van Halteren.
Investigation: “The drawbacks are being overcome in continuously better ways thanks to clever solutions”
HALTER CNC Automation investigated the reasons for investing in robot technology. Wouter van Halteren gives a short explanation of the investigation: “We investigated the reasons metal companies have to invest in CNC automation and saw that the drawbacks are being overcome in continuously better ways thanks to clever standard solutions. Plug-and-play solutions mean that you no longer require a robot specialist that tackles that particular drawback. The uncertainty in supply chains is also no longer an issue. CNC loading robots can be adjusted quickly and easily and can be used for a wide variety of tasks. Loading robots are not linked to a specific product. It is also interesting to mention the changing view on automation. Companies sometimes see loading robots as an accessory for CNC machines, which should not cost the same as the machine itself. We see that an increasing number of companies are doing the sums: which investment must be made and what is the return?”
The investigation carried out by HALTER CNC Automation found metal companies invest in automation for the following reasons:
1. Lack of staff
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find the right staff. The influx of skilled craftsmen is not meeting the needs of machining companies, and this forces companies to look for alternatives.
2. Utilization of machine capacity
It is absolutely necessary to utilize a machine’s capacity to the fullest. Machines are becoming increasingly complex and more expensive and that investment must be recovered. Achieving more spindle hours makes the machine pay for itself more quickly. After all, CNC loading robots can be used outside of normal working hours.
3. The number of different CNC loading robots available
There are more than enough different CNC loading robots available to offer every company a suitable solution. The number of standard concepts has drastically increased. Standard concepts make investing in the automation of CNC machines a lot more interesting cost-wise.
4. No need for robot specialists
The automation of CNC machines has not only become more affordable, but also more user-friendly. It is no longer necessary to employ your own robot specialists. With the latest generation of loading robots, such as the HALTER LoadAssistant, it only takes a couple of minutes to configure the robot for a new series.
5. Plug-and-play and immediately a greater return
An increasing number of automation solutions are plug-and-play. The implementation process is short and the systems are immediately able to get a greater return from the CNC machines, which make the investment in the automation of CNC machines not only cheaper, but also more attractive.
6. Versatile loading robots
Loading robots can be configured quickly and easily and can be used for a wide variety of workpieces. It is no longer necessary to wait for a long-term contract to justify investing in a CNC loading robot. In the past, companies waited for a long-term contract which guaranteed that the investment in CNC automation would be cost-effective. The versatile nature of the current generation of loading robots means that companies have the freedom to invest in the automation of their CNC machines right now.
7. Financial institutions see the advantages of automation
Financial institutions are, by now, used to the concept of CNC automation. As a result, it is much easier for companies to finance the investment. More than that, financial institutions see the advantages of the automation of CNC machines and even encourage such investment. It is a good time to take advantage of these trends and developments.
8. The CNC loading robot is a friend, not a threat
Employees no longer see the loading robot as a threat. The repetitive and heavy work is taken over by the robot so that the operator can concentrate on the work preparations. Plug-and-play solutions have played a crucial role in this development and the loading robot has become a welcome aid.
9. Willingness to invest in CNC automation
The return from investments is examined critically by machining companies. The investment amount is not the only aspect which is looked at. The profitability and the payback period also play a crucial role in the decision-making process. The automation of CNC machines has a short payback period thanks to the quick implementation, which increases the willingness to invest in CNC automation. The lack of competent staff is another practical aspect which influences the willingness to invest in CNC loading robots and automation.
10. Rather automate than expand
The investment in CNC machines results in greater returns. These days, an increasing number of companies are choosing to invest in automating their existing machines instead of buying new machines.