Lights out manufacturing is nothing new. In fact, some of the earliest mention of this methodology appears in the mid 1950’s, but today, we’re entering a new era of automation. See what it could mean for you…
More than just a way to make factories smarter, lights out manufacturing is work that can be done with the lights—or HVAC, for that matter—out.
To put it another way, lights out manufacturing doesn’t rely on continual human presence. As we look to the next generation of automated manufacturing, we can anticipate a shift beyond simple networking towards increased accountability and more sophisticated reporting. This in turn, will lead to better responsiveness and even troubleshooting on the part of the machines. As systems become increasingly sophisticated, they’ll use the data they gather during the manufacturing process and learn how to become more efficient, how to fix problems, and how to increase output—all without the need for human intervention. While the increase in productivity may have been the catalyst for this shift towards automation some forty to fifty years ago, the reduction of labor costs coupled with the increase in safety, speed, and accuracy are other obvious benefits.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of lights out manufacturing is the network it creates. Machines gather and report information at each step by interconnecting every aspect of the factory. No human can do this on the same scale. Other sectors in technology have seen the emergence of responsive design and the manufacturing sector is no stranger to this evolution. The network in an automated factory not only reports effectively but acts, as well. The machines have in effect, become intuitive solutions providers.
Naturally, there are questions to consider before making the switch to lights out manufacturing. The sheer cost of streamlining stand alone machines could disrupt your ROI, for one thing. So be sure to factor this in when choosing an implementation partner.
Is Lights Out Manufacturing right for you?
Automation can be extremely beneficial in instances where manual interaction has the potential to lead to safety issues or compromise quality. Moving away from standalone machines towards full automation is a step by step process. For some, the first step might be establishing a standardized network through which all machines will communicate while others must first update older systems or specific machines. Again, the right partner will guide you through this process while keeping you on budget.
At New Electric, we brainstorm with our customers to understand their needs and requirements, as well as the problems they are facing. Next, we design a complete transition plan; this may include a plant audit, risk assessment, or new equipment. Our end goal is to make a fully automated solution.
For more information on lights out manufacturing and where to begin, get in touch today.