Moulding the Future of Manufacturing with Smart Solutions
Plastic manufacturing has never been slow to integrate new technologies. Injection moulding is a prime example of how the sector uses these advancements to maximise the qualities that often dictate success: speed and precision.
But with a number of exciting opportunities in play, it can be difficult to know which technologies should demand your investment. And the figures reflect this1, showing limited uptake by today’s manufacturers of:
- connected equipment (35%)
- sensors (41%)
- cloud-based technologies (41%)
- robotics (26%)
The two main causes of this delay are that 61 per cent find it challenging to upskill workers to operate new technologies, while 75 per cent are reluctant to invest while current equipment is still operational1.
Both of these views share a common misconception, by overlooking the potential benefits that new technologies can bring to current processes, such as improving production and saving costs.
Take the following technologies, for example. All three can work to protect and upgrade your current processes:
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
Connecting your current plant equipment through IoT technology can help to inform your efficiency, productivity and cost control decisions, while reducing the need for human-machine intervention.
Integrating sensors into your set-up can help identify issues in real-time that may have otherwise gone under the radar. Anything from incorrect cavity pressure in moulds to degradation of hydraulic fluid could lead to costly downtime without early intervention.
Robotics may require investment, but their growing list of capabilities –from unloading to assembling – mean that the benefits, such as improved quality, consistency and speed of production, can quickly pay back your initial outlay and more.
1 Survey commissioned by Shell Lubricants and conducted by research firm Edelman Intelligence, based on 350 interviews with Manufacturing sector staff who purchase, influence the purchase or use lubricants / greases as part of their job across 7 countries (USA, China, India, Germany, Russia, Indonesia and the UK) from March to April 2018.
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