Automation gives small and mid-sized molding facilities the competitive advantage necessary in the competitive global market. With the capacity to increase production on a moment’s notice, robot-integrated molding processes afford most companies the capability and flexibility to meet sudden changes in demand. As a result, they have a chance to compete on price, quality, and adaptability with global outfits. And this is without needing a huge capital outlay.
However, as it turns out, simply implementing automation is not enough. This is because not every robotic system is created equal. Since they are manufactured by different companies, and since they are designed for different markets, they come in different shapes and sizes. They run on varying types of software, and they have different capacities for customization.
One of the main things that you should consider when deciding on which injection molding robots to use in your molding plant is the robotic system’s user interface. This is because a good user interface can make the difference between extreme savings on cost and below-average productivity in a molding plant. Here are some of the ways through which the user interface of a molding robot affects productivity and costs.
Training new employees on using existing tools and robots takes time. It also costs both time and money. And the more complex the system that new employees have to learn, the more costly the training. Therefore, if you have an option to go for a more user-friendly system, it is always advisable to take it.
When it comes to the user interface of a molding robot, what you should out for is a system that has a graphical user interface. Such an interface — that is icon-driven — is easier to understand. New employees can catch up easily on which options to choose, feedback from the system and how to maintain and run the whole system even when they do not have advanced programming skills.
This reduces the time that other workers have to spend training them. It also means that you will be able to start taking advantage of your new hires sooner. This goes a long way in minimizing training-associated costs such as downtime costs and the costs of hiring trainers.
Since user-friendly interfaces are easy to master, they allow new hires to work at their best within a short time, which is good for productivity. Also, in case you are introducing a new robotic system, it is easier for current employees to catch up. They will be more open-minded to try out the new system since it will be easier to learn and integrate. This will reduce the risks of sabotage. It will also be good for morale.
Furthermore, an icon-driven system leaves very little chance to guesswork. The risks of making mistakes with such a system are slim. This, in turn, translates to fewer incidences of wastage due to accidental damage.
The best user interfaces do not just come with a graphical interface system. They make a provision for advanced users who have advanced programming knowledge and who may wish to tweak its sequences and programs.
In essence, such a system allows for higher degrees of customization without necessary having to go back to the manufacturer. It will allow you to easily take advantage of opportunities to increase productivity since the advanced user can adjust the speed, timing, and positioning of the robot to suit the need for your molding processes.
As such a hybrid system that combines both the user-friendliness of a graphical interface and a form of CNC control is what you should aim for. With such a system, you will be able to get all the benefits of flexibility and increased productivity without having to sacrifice the simplicity that is necessary for ease of operation.
Given the benefits of deploying a molding robot system that has a great user interface, this is something that you should consider when deciding which system to purchase.