Manufacturing automation is on the rise, and for good reason. As technology continues to improve, so do the possibilities of manufacturing automation. Whether implementing software to streamline inventory capabilities or introducing machines into your workflow with automated tasks to increase efficiency, there is no shortage of avenues to improve production processes when it comes to manufacturing automation.
One big consideration on the minds of manufacturers when dealing with manufacturing automation is safety. Safety is always top of mind for those in the manufacturing or construction industry. Whatever role you play in the realm of manufacturing, you look at all the workers in your facility knowing it’s everyone’s responsibility to return home safely from work, every day. There are many areas of risk and potential hazard that are valid and worth being cautious about. And while there are regulations, best practices, and ongoing oversight into such aspects of the job, there are new technologies appearing everyday that open up new possibilities for risk.
However, this shouldn’t be cause for alarm. As technology and procedural software increases, they also introduce additional levels of risk mitigation and hazard awareness. Manufacturing automation would not continue to grow in popularity if the risk it introduced was greater than current practices allowed. But while introducing manufacturing automation into your facility is a right step to taper risk, it is not the only step.
Manufacturing automation safety is an evolving environment, just as the technology that provides these capabilities, but this means you also need to be aware of, and adhere to, additional risk assessments and best practices that come along with these technologies.
Consider the following safety tips for manufacturing automation, and improve your production efforts in conjunction with your risk mitigation efforts.
Automate Your Way
Manufacturing automation is not a one-size-fits-all approach to improving your manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies. In fact, there are all sorts of manufacturing automation. For instance, you might be in need of increasing your productivity line and therefore intend to implement an advanced single-use automated machine that performs at a faster rate and with greater accuracy.
On the other hand, you might be in need of software upgrades that let you know when your machines are nearing service upgrades or in need of repairs. However you intend to implement manufacturing automation into your operations is up to you, but it is important to know that custom automation is the only way to get precisely what you are looking for, and to make sure you maintain your ongoing operation style and goals.
And there is automation safety to consider no matter what type of manufacturing automation you make use of. For instance, even though manufacturing safety is designed to mitigate risk, you still need to adhere to guidelines—whether official guidelines from OSHA or self-implemented best practices based on your custom automation procedures and your construction management partner.
This also means educating your workforce about automation workplace safety. As with any new procedure or technology that you introduce into your workflow, communication and transparency is crucial. Even those workers who won’t be in a direct contact or operational role with this new item should still be aware of the role it serves, the way it operates, and the safety protocols surrounding it.
Again, it is not a reinvention of the wheel, it is simply a new tool that you need to make sure your workforce is up to speed on.
Understand the Technology
When incorporating manufacturing automation into your workflow, it is like working with any other new tool or device. Automating elements of your process doesn’t remove the workers or the operators. Sure, it simplifies the process, but it is important to still be aware of the technology, know the ins and outs of how it operates, its full range of functionality, and all other details that are affiliated with a new piece of equipment.
Depending on the technology you are implementing, it might be the first time you have relied on such a product or software. This might go for your team as well. Therefore, when discussing the role of manufacturing automation with your construction management partner, be sure to ask questions.
From operational questions to safety questions to maintenance questions to compliance questions, there is no shortage of knowledge you can have about the technology that is assisting the workflow on your production floor. This knowledge will keep you in control of the operation, even though such technologies are playing such a helping role.
Additionally, you want to be able to communicate this knowledge to an OSHA representative, or to a reviewer conducting an annual risk assessment or internal audit. Further, you want your team to be able to answer any questions in this type of situation as well. Think of it this way—everyone involved in the operation of a technology should be a master of its workings, whether that technology is algorithm-based software or task-oriented production machinery.
Partner With a Construction Management Firm
As mentioned, incorporating manufacturing automation into your processes is not a reinvention of the wheel, but it certainly is a task to take seriously and implement the right way. For this reason, it is best to get ahead of safety issues and risk mitigation, not to mention efficiency standards, by partnering with a company that knows the ins and outs of the job.
EAD has provided custom automation solutions for a wide variety of clients from food production to logistics and parcel distribution, and each client was provided with a tailored approach that was specific to their needs and their processing structure. Specializing in custom control panels, control systems integration, technical services, and support, EAD provides highly trained automation professionals with years of hands-on experience to put you at ease and keep you in control of all aspects of your processes.
Contact us today to learn about manufacturing automation safety, and understand that such a beneficial proponent is not out of reach, but merely a conversation away.