Making the Right Technology Investments for Factory Optimization
February 5, 2014, 9:41 am -
Factory optimization has become imperative in today’s highly competitive business environment. The pressure of the competition, increased ecological awareness of the consumers and governing organizations, as well as the escalating demands of clients for higher quality standards are driving more and more factory owners to adopt advanced technology solutions in order to optimize their manufacturing facilities. Factory optimization through technology allows you to stay ahead of the curve, keep customers happy, comply with rules and regulations, and maintain a solid market position.
Technology is a fast-growing field continuously generating innovative and efficient solutions to improve productivity and safety within industrial environments, such as factories. However, making a decision about the right technology investments is not as simple as it may seem. Sometimes, your decision is influenced by outside criteria, such as budget constraints or the very nature of the business. Other times, you are not sufficiently trained or qualified to assess objectively the current condition of your factory and identify the right technology investments required for factory optimization.
The whole purpose of factory optimization through technology investments is to increase productivity, reduce errors and disruptions, and enhance safety for workers, equipment, and materials. Whatever your choice may be, make sure you understand perfectly your optimization needs before making any technology investments. Sometimes, a single machine is enough to make the entire manufacturing process smooth and efficient. Other times, you need several technology investments to achieve the level of productivity, safety, and costs you require.
Making the right technology investment for factory optimization is really a complex process that involves a deep understanding of how your factory works right now and how you want it to work in the future with the newly acquired technology. Establishing realistic goals is essential for a successful factory optimization and minimized technology costs. Your technological solution will most likely be unique although similar to others. The point is that each factory has its own influencers to consider and you are fully equipped to make a fair assessment in this respect. For example, it is useless to buy lifting equipment with an impressive vertical travel when your factory’s roof is too low for the new equipment to operate under.A factory can be optimized in several ways, but technology is always an essential part, whether it involves new software, upgrading of existing equipment, or adopting a completely new manufacturing line. You have to break down your factory in segments and determine the strengths and weaknesses of each segment. Next, you have to identify the technical solution that can optimize that particular segment without negatively impacting the remaining segments. For example, if you have a paver production line and you increase hopper capacity of your mixers with a new and larger mixer, you should consider whether the paver production machine itself can handle the increasing amount of material to be pressed and vibrated. Going even further, will you have enough storage space to place the large amount of pavers that you would be producing? Is your conveyor line and stacking system fast enough to withstand the new production rate? This is just an example to show you how factory optimization is possible through intelligent technology investments. Mike Earle