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I am currently carrying out an school assignment at a production company. Products that they make are currently assembled manually. The company supplies many different variants of a product. I have to say which product is eligible for automatic assembly and why. This I did based on production volume and the difficulty of the assembly operations. Are there any other factors that I have to take into account?
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This is a big question, I would recommend to start by the simpliest operations if the company does not have experience with robots. This is because the company will need additional skills (PLC, robots, etc) to sustain the current cells, and if it they dont have the right support the project can be canceled. If the company has experience with robots, I would recommend to start with the shortest ROI (Return Of Invesment), this will allow you to create more projects in the short time. Hope it helps.
Could a robot do the assembly operations? One thing that you should consider is how many parts need to be automatically fed and how they would be fed (bowlfeeders, smart feeders or trays). Will you use robots? Do you need a final test system or vision? Do you need conveyors? Remember to take into consideration the time it takes to build and test the system (called commissioning).