Technology is continuing to amaze us in all walks of life. The automotive industry is no different, either, taking advantage of new inventions. It’s not only our cars that are benefitting from technological advances, though — the manufacturing industry is, too.
In the future, it’s anticipated that this human aspect can be removed completely, with technology helping to provide a fully integrated and fully automated form of quality control. While some of the public are concerned that jobs will be lost as it keeps progressing, it can only be a good thing for manufacturing companies as it continues to help improve productivity and efficiency. It will be interesting to see what we welcome to factories next!
In this article, we look at the ways in which technology has impacted the manufacturing and the effect this has had on productivity and efficiency.
Advancements within print
Despite common misconceptions, the use of robotics isn’t aimed at replacing humans, but more so making employees’ jobs easier. Automated printers for example, like those used by Voodoo Manufacturing, don’t need to be manned anymore and can continue working 24 hours a day.
As human error can be extremely costly, 3D printing can be extremely beneficial. While it’s still early days for the technology, it has the potential to have a massive impact on practicality. It’s expected that this invention will transform nearly every industry as it changes how manufacturers will do business and will impact material costs, the traditional assembly line and product pricing strategies.
While such suits were more likely to appear on the big screen in movies such as Iron Man just a few years ago, the creation of bodysuits is having positive feedback from its users, with many claiming they aren’t as sore after a shift if they’ve been wearing the technology.
The impact of Drones
As well as making sure the equipment is still in a good enough condition, the drones are providing the company with video and still footage that can be stored to allow the plant to compare its findings over a period of time to monitor any changes or patterns that are noticeable. This has become an indispensable tool for the factory, with the drones greatly improving productivity and efficiency.
For example, Lookers, retailer of models such as the Ford Kuga Titanium, has started to use drones to help perform risky inspections on the factory’s equipment in it’s Dagenham engine plant. The company is benefitting massively, saving almost 12 hours on each inspection and reducing the time it takes to check the equipment from 12 hours to 12 minutes. Not only can drones provide a quick and thorough inspection, but they eliminate the health and safety risk of someone needing to scale up to 150 feet to look at gantries.
The process of Metrology can’t be too reliable, as faulty parts may well be produced in a batch and slip through after the checks. That’s why the ever-improving embedded metrology will continue to help manufacturers produce a better product. This quick and convenient solution is a lot more accurate and requires little human interference.
An advantage of this process however is that quality control can traditionally be a very time-consuming and expensive project. There would be randomly selected machine-made parts that would be individually tested, and if they passed the test, the batch it came from would be validated.
Ford’s Michigan plant is also using innovative technological developments to help its workforce. It was announced in 2017 that line workers in the plant would pilot exoskeleton suits — wearable technology that can help support a worker’s arms while they undergo tasks above their heads. These suits can also be adjusted to support different weights, depending on the wearer’s needs.