Factory productivity must increase and labor is difficult to find; this is a well-known phenomenon. In addition, operating costs must be decreased. Flexible robotic cells can be an integral part of the solution. Whether mobile or stationary, they change the production dynamics and improve employee morale. The introduction of a new, partially or fully collaborative technology not only helps the profitability of the plant, but also retains the workforce by providing exciting new challenges and opportunities. The presentation will showcase a couple of case studies where small and medium sized shops with low volume, high product mix challenges, have introduced flexible machine tending automation. These companies managed to keep the number of employees constant (no layoffs), yet significantly improved their deliveries, lowered their operating costs and increased productivity.
Another important point covered in the presentation is the importance of selecting and adopting the right production management software by small and medium businesses. The combination of flexible robotic cells with light and efficient production management software brings the concepts of a Smart Factory and Industry 4.0 within reach for most SMEs.