Do we want to robotize? - rhetorical question.
We live in times when everything happens right now. There’s no need to wait a week for favourite TV show – we can just go to Netflix to watch whole season in one evening. We don’t have to stand in queue to submit a tax declaration – we fill a form and send it online. We don’t wait for a resupply of washing machines, opening of ticket office… Undoubtedly we have forgotten how much we’ve had waited in our lives. World without waiting for “something” has disappeared. Did we once imagined a world without waiting? Did we dreamed 20-30 years ago that our lives would really be “processed in real time”. It’s with the question if we want to robotize. Maybe we haven’t noticed that our washing machines, hairdryers, and ovens long time since have had artificial intelligence “sewn in” and vacuum cleaners, drones and cameras resemble visions of stage designers from sci-fi films. However buying a coffee machine integrated with our cellphone is something different than a robot in a factory. We buy a coffee machine as a consumer good, a gadget, which makes life easier, but also we can boast about it to our friends..
Why we don't robotize?
Our mentioned coffee machine will serve us along time – it will make coffee. But it won’t make money – that’s obvious! Unless we are an owner of a coffee shop… We treat appliances, technologically advanced ones, as a luxury. Why then are we afraid to investing industrial robots? Innovativeness of polish industry rises. However not as fast as we would like it to.
The reason for the slow automation and robotization process in our factories is first and foremost the fear of the unknown.
Who will operate it?
Who will maintain it?
Where will I receive technical support?
What if I’ll have to change the process or the product?
But when you buy a new car do you worry if you can replace spark plugs?
No!!! That’s the purpose of car service. We treat problems the same way at Alnea. If you order a station or soldering packet from us, we will support you. We already have a lot of experience in this field. Distance doesn’t matter. We support our customers because we know that a satisfied customer means no complaints, good reputation and perspectives of future cooperation. Good systems integrator invited to cooperate is a source of excellent process solutions.
It’s not a cheap solution, but is purchase and implementation cost the only reason?
It turns out that the problem is rather complex. First of all we lack specialists with right qualifications. In system integration enterprises like Alnea, there are employed many visionaries of process and robotics virtuosos. They know how to refine, improve a process. But the most important people are in process of automation, right after factory management, are run maintenance engineers. It’s their knowledge and experience have impact on production, quality, they answer to challenges of quality and fluidity of process. It’s them who know the product best, its requirements, advantages and disadvantages. On their competences depends the future of a factory. It seems that, courses and rise of competences in teams is key issue when it comes to ability to robotize.
At Alnea we often invite to training, open days, capability test, to show a good direction of changes. Mangers and engineers with broad knowledge, ideas are a foundation of a company. Competences of a team should rise together with development of company. It’s worth it to invest in courses – they are a real support for complicated organism of a factory.
Making difficult decisions
What are other causes of the slow automation process? There are companies in which investment in innovations is a top-down decision of management. However in most production facilities in Poland it’s run maintenance engineers who pursuit manufacturing automation. How to convince superiors about necessity of adapting newest technologies to meet the demands of the market?
It happens that bosses of companies know about this need, but are afraid of taking responsibility for made decisions. In the end for systems integration or creation of a robotized line, a substantial sum of money is allocated, which is entrusted to a external company.
At Alnea we know what responsibility it is. We do our best to cut our coat according to our cloth and offers presented by us are backed with basic test of a production process. A convenient system of cooperation (budget or conceptual) makes us flexible in approach to customer.
Very big projects are also carried out with other companies. Such collaboration supports efficiency of realizing the project and assures feeling of safety of customers. It’s worth to risk to not only follow the demands of the market, but it’s even more profitable to predict global and our regional changes in industry. The vision of Elon Musk to send Tesla to space seems to be a crazy dream of a scientists.
However it shows us the way to the future where almost everything is possible and even risk is an investment good.