Modernizing your factory’s production equipment can be a significant investment in your manufacturing operations, improving equipment performance while keeping up with the latest innovations brought about by the Industrial Internet of Things and other industry changes.
Older production equipment can pose a dilemma. On one hand, it represents a significant investment and continues to be a crucial part of the operation. But on the other hand, it may no longer be supported by OEM equipment and may lack interfaces with the technology or system controls you use.
Fortunately, there are ways to address deficiencies in older factory equipment, and they don’t have to break the budget. Manufacturing and technology modernization can improve safety, efficiency, throughput and productivity levels, and with the right approach to an equipment refresh project, you can make a positive impact on the bottom line at a fraction of the cost of a total equipment refurbishment or replacement project. Here’s how:
Invest in safety
There’s a lot technology can tell you about efficiency, but it’s always a good idea to put safety first. Purchases like safety controllers, safety relays and safety sensing equipment are a good investment, even for older equipment that isn’t part of your long-term production plans. Keeping operators safe should always be the top priority.
Integrate new technology into older machinery
Legacy machinery can be brought to modern standards with technologies like controllers, environmental sensor arrays, safety technology, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) platforms and other tools that connect with the Internet of Things (IoT). By adding affordable sensors, you can modernize and take advantage of the resulting data proliferation and manufacturing throughput improvement without the big price tag.
Surpass original equipment reliability
After safety, one of your top manufacturing and technology goals should be improving machinery reliability. Even equipment that is built to last according to the top standards of the day may become outdated as reliability standards evolve and new technologies make it possible to keep closer tabs on performance. If you choose a control platform carefully, you can improve reliability.
Generate data for continuous improvement
Automation tools and sensors can monitor machine throughput, uptime, downtime and other key factors, such as environmental conditions. It’s also possible to deploy advanced continuous process or batch mode applications that deliver large amounts of data on a macro level. These tools can help you continuously improve operations. These are a lot of improvements to consider, to be sure. The good news is that it’s not necessary to make all these upgrades at once. Instead, you can prioritize according to which upgrades are more likely to have an immediate impact and fit your budget.
So take a look at your legacy equipment assets and decide which could use a makeover. Proactive is better than reactive in a production environment, and implementing these tools can transform the way you approach maintenance, scheduling and much more. Check out our whitepaper for more details on how to implement affordable tech upgrades and manufacturing throughput improvement in your facility. To learn more about ATS’ Factory Automation Integration services, view more here or contact us today.