Processing equipment is used to transform waste into useful products and materials. Processing equipment can be installed in a plant, onsite, or both. Unfortunately, when choosing processing equipment for an industrial project, most people look first at cost and throughput while overlooking factors that impact the long-term sustainability of the facility and operating costs.
Automation provides an opportunity to minimize production and operation costs over the life cycle of a facility and optimize materials utilization.
Reducing operating costs leads to a better return on investment (ROI) for processing equipment. Here are four reasons why automation matters:
1- Automated Manufacturing Minimizes Operational Costs and Waste
Rigid automation around the processing equipment reduces energy consumption, utility bills, and emissions. In addition to reducing operational costs, it also minimizes waste by eliminating manual handling of material. This leads to a higher yield and creates less non-recyclable debris that needs disposal.
2- Automated Machine Controls Maintain Consistency
Robotic automation helps process repeatable, consistent batches. Automation also reduces variability compared to manual processes by automating material handling within the processing equipment. Uniformity must be maintained to maintain high quality and repeatability. This consistency requires tight integration between control systems and sensors.
Automation also allows you to monitor processing equipment remotely and obtain comprehensive reporting on the performance of the processing facility. This reduces labor costs associated with monitoring while helping mitigate waste by sending notifications if a deviation occurs. In addition, using trend data enables predicting when maintenance is needed before an issue arises that might require downtime.
3- Automation Improves Product Quality
Standardized production processes with computerized control eliminate human error. In addition, automation enables the execution of quality checks at multiple steps throughout production and final delivery of products, providing improved data for analytics. One potential benefit is higher customer satisfaction through consistent, high-quality output and faster feedback on any quality issues.
Automation improves product quality by:
* Reducing variability in process parameters such as temperature, pressure, time, and speed.
* Standardizing the process to prevent contamination or spoilage of raw materials.
* Using computerized sensors and control systems that eliminate mixing errors introduced by human input.
4- Automation Extends the Service Life of Processing Equipment
Automated monitoring systems help optimize equipment performance over its lifetime, extending its overall life cycle. In addition, automation and controls help identify potential issues early on so equipment can be repaired before performing below required standards, affecting the output quality.
From an environmental perspective, minimizing emissions and reducing waste over the life cycle of a processing facility are important. From a practical standpoint, automation improves efficiency by eliminating manual handling of materials, introducing errors and inconsistencies.
Automation also helps reduce labor costs by improving oversight of the process. And as we’ve seen, automating quality checks allows for better data collection and analytics to help improve the quality of your output over time.
Automation improves service life via:
Reduced energy consumption through optimized production to minimize wear and tear of machinery.
* Real-time monitoring of machine performance.
* Alarm system for any alarm conditions that require human attention.
* Adaptive control for more reliable production and machinery protection.
* Remote diagnostics and early detection of faults.
In summary, processing equipment contributes to the construction industry in many ways, such as creating a safer and more efficient work environment; reducing costs; increasing the quality of output products, and extending the service life of machines.
Automation plays an important role in improving the life cycle of processing equipment. By including automation when choosing processing equipment, a facility can be more sustainable and have an improved ROI in the long run.