Is Now the Time to Buy New Manufacturing Technology?

It’s no secret that the manufacturing sector is in a state of flux. With various global and local changes recently – the Covid pandemic, localized wars, supply chain issues, etc – many manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing business landscape.

The question many manufacturers are asking themselves is “is now the time to buy new technology”?

Technologies like robotics — and associated technologies like robot programming software — can help you grow and improve your manufacturing processes. But you first need to identify if robotics is the right technology for you.

There are several factors you need to consider before deciding on any new manufacturing technology.

Let’s take a closer look at some of those factors.

How to tell if your current technology is outdated

In terms of investing back into your business, one of the biggest challenges for many manufacturers is knowing when the current technology is outdated.

Are you in danger of stagnating if you don’t keep up with the latest automation technologies on the market?

Here are a few signs it may be time for you to consider investing in innovation and new technology:

  • You’re relying on manual processes. If your manufacturing process still relies heavily on manual work, you may not be making the best use of your resources.
  • Your competitors are outpacing you. It’s likely that your competitors are already adopting at least some automation technologies. If you don’t join them, you risk being left behind.
  • You’re struggling to meet customer demands. If your customers are demanding faster turnaround times, bigger order sizes, or higher quality products, automation can help you meet those demands.
  • Your current technology is nearing its end-of-life. Even the best technology will eventually become outdated. Legacy equipment can become a risk so it’s worth checking how long your current technology has left.
  • You’re facing financial constraints. Investing in new technology can be costly, but it usually saves you money in the long run.

Deciding to invest in new technology isn’t always easy. But remember that automation technologies can help you improve your efficiency, reduce costs, and stay ahead of your competition.

What factors to consider before investing in new technology

There are several factors to consider when investing in any new technology for your manufacturing business.

These include:

  • Cost — How much will the new technology cost initially and on an ongoing basis? It’s important to balance the upfront costs with the savings you’re likely to make in the long run. And be aware of any hidden or non-obvious costs the technology could incur.
  • Impact — It’s undeniable, new technology can be disruptive. Although robots are often less disruptive than other forms of automation, you need to weigh the benefits with the risks of such disruptions.
  • Compatibility — Ideally, any new technology will be compatible with your existing systems. This is where a technology like robotics can strongly surpass other forms of automation. Robotic systems are very versatile and usually easy to integrate with other processes.
  • Training — Your team members will also need to have the skills to use the new technology. Compared to other forms of technology, robots often require less training, as long as you use a programming software designed for ease-of-use.
  • Implementation — Whatever technology you choose, you will need to have a plan in place for how you will integrate it into your existing operations. This includes everything from installing the software to physically installing the machinery./

Any new technology will require a period of adaption for your teams. By planning the integration well, and considering the relevant factors, you maximize your chance for success.

Why choose robotics over other manufacturing technology

There are a lot of options to choose from when you’re looking for new technology for your manufacturing business. Picking the right technology can help your manufacturing business by streamlining processes, saving time and money, improving productivity, and expanding the business.

But which new technology should you choose?

An increasingly popular option is robotic automation technology.

You can apply robots to a vast range of manufacturing processes, from classic assembly line production to newer applications like robot machining. Most times, robots can be a more cost-effective option than investing in new CNC machines or other types of technology.

A key when using robotic technology is to choose the right robot programming software. This will enable you to take full advantage of the capabilities of your robot while making your life easy in the programming stage. This is one aspect of robotics that new users often overlook, leading to them spending more time, budget, and effort integrating the robot than is really necessary.

How new technology will impact the future of manufacturing

The future of any industry is difficult to predict. But, judging from past performance, it seems likely that robotic technology will continue to make waves in the manufacturing sector.

In recent years, there has been a strong trend towards more automated production amid widespread labor shortages. Robots are increasingly taking the roles of workers for dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks. This trend seems likely to continue as businesses invest in technology that can help them improve efficiency and cut costs.

This move towards automation is creating various shifts in manufacturing. For example, it moves away people from the more unpleasant parts of the job and instead they take on more skilled roles. With new easy-programming options, robot programming can be part of this upskilling effort, helping workers to progress to more future-proof, rewarding jobs.

What new technologies are you considering for your manufacturing business? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or in the RoboDK Forum. Also, check out our extensive video collection and subscribe to the RoboDK YouTube Channel

About Alex Owen-Hill

Alex Owen-Hill is a freelance writer and public speaker who blogs about a large range of topics, including science, presentation skills at, storytelling and (of course) robotics. He completed a PhD in Telerobotics from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid as part of the PURESAFE project, in collaboration with CERN. As a recovering academic, he maintains a firm foot in the robotics world by blogging about industrial robotics.

View all posts by Alex Owen-Hill

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