Robotics Industry Insights
Top Ten Reasons to Buy an Industrial Robot Today
by Ted Wodoslawsky, VP Marketing, ABB Robotics North America
ABB Inc. Posted 05/18/2009
The economy may be off to a slow start in 2009, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead for better times. These are the “Top Ten” reasons why you should purchase an industrial robot today.
10. Lowest cost / highest quality wins market share. The economic pressures on companies and consumers are forcing everyone to carefully consider their purchases. Gone are the days of “throw away” products. People are demanding both low cost and high quality. Automation, especially the flexibility offered by robotic automation is a great way to achieve both.
9. Your competition is investing in automation - If you think your competitors are not investing in automation, think again. Who is investing in automation? The best run companies, looking to not just survive the economy, but thrive in it.
8. Automated Competitors will take market share - The companies with the best, leaned-out automated manufacturing processes are the ones who are better positioned to respond to the quickly changing demands of customers. An automated, flexible manufacturing process is able to change product mix, and product make-up “on the fly.” The companies employing this strategy are your competitors.
7. Robots are affordable. When industrial robots first appeared in the marketplace they were expensive, as generally is any new piece of technology. However, costs have been pushed down with mass production. Prices for industrial robots have never been better. Today's prices for your products are the new floor as well. Manufactured products aren't like oil, where the price constantly goes up and down. Today's new low is tomorrow's baseline price for your product - automate to reduce costs and maintain margin.
6. Taking business back from competitors – With the economy slowed and production in many factories at a standstill, now is the time to begin a strategy to take business back from your competitors. Meet with a robotic industry engineering consultant who can design a solution to automate your factory which will reduce costs while increasing productivity and throughput. When the economy improves, you will be able to produce a better product at a quicker rate, thus improving customer satisfaction and allowing you to take business back from your competitors.
5. Integrator Capacity is Limited – Systems integrators have vertical market expertise, and there is not an excess of capacity in key disciplines. If you wait until the recovery begins, all the integrators will be busy installing systems for your competitors and you will be at the back of the queue.
4. Banks are Lending - You may think that you cannot afford a robot because banks are not lending, but that’s simply untrue. In an MSN News article published February 12, 2009, Bank of America chairman and CEO Ken Lewis said, “We are still lending, and we are lending far more because of the TARP program." He told lawmakers that his company extended more than $115 billion in new credit to consumers and businesses during the fourth quarter (of 2008). Moreover, robot manufactures, such as ABB, Inc., are willing to work with you on extended payment terms to help you get what you need into your plant, now.
(MSN News, February 12, 2009, “We are still lending, assert CEOs of top US banks”)
3. Ease of introducing new equipment when not operating at full capacity - Installing a new robot system and incorporating it into your day to day operations takes time. Employees need to be trained on how to operate it, how to program it, perform maintenance on it and, of course, learn new safety skills. If you’re operating at full capacity, you may not be able to afford the time to install automation. Do it now while production is slower, to get ready for the surge.
2. Supply and Demand - Everyone is working off their inventories, including automation suppliers. Robots are large, complicated machines, requiring special castings, mechanics, motors and electronics. If you wait for the economy to fully recover the demand for robots will be up while supplies will be limited. The result will be long lead times on all automation equipment and components. Don’t wait for a full economic recovery.
1. Industrial robots are at the heart of lean manufacturing - Robot installations are at the heart of lean manufacturing operations. Industrial robots reduce operating costs, perfect quality and productivity, i.e. optimized cycle times and throughput, are environmentally friendly by reducing scrap, exhaust and energy, have protected employees from dangerous tasks, can easily adapt to multiple jobs and add flexibility to future product lines.
This brief summary of the “Top Ten” reasons to buy an industrial robot today is intended to give you some incentive to investigate the feasibility of enhancing your operation with industrial robots. An economic recovery will happen. When it does, will you have positioned your company to take full advantage?
ABB is a RIA Supplier Member. Please contact Customer Service at ABB, Inc., Auburn Hills, Michigan, at 888-785-3904 for additional information; or visit www.abb.com/robotics.