What kind of "automation" does China's manufacturing industry need?
As labor costs become higher and higher, many powerful domestic companies are seeking to replace labor with machines, the so-called "automation" transformation. In order to meet this demand, many automation equipment companies have also emerged. The market seems Prosperous, it seems that everyone is a winner. However, with the passage of time, the drawbacks of these "automation" transformations have been exposed: on the surface, there seems to be "saving people", but they are also "not worrying" at all: high investment costs, low flexibility, high maintenance costs, and inability Keep up with the changes in the market, unable to master the core technology of the equipment, and so on. Therefore, for those entrepreneurs who are just about to enter the "automation" stage, "automation" is not a simple matter, but a topic that is worth thinking about, because there is no turning back to making this choice.
So what is "automation"? First of all, we start to understand "automation" from the definition of "automation". The explanation of the encyclopedia is: the process of automatic operation or control of a machine or device according to prescribed procedures or instructions without human intervention. This explanation has two key words: "unmanned intervention" and "automatic control", that is, two "savings" should be achieved: "saving people" with "no intervention" and "saving worry" with "automatic control".
Case 1: In the process of "automation" transformation, a company has not had a thorough understanding of "saving people". It simply transforms human work into machine or equipment work through "automation" transformation. The leader took a look, Wow, the effect is good. There were 20 people in one line. After "automation", they became 10 people. After one year, it saved 200,000 to 300,000 labor costs. But the cost is not small. It took nearly a year from project establishment to implementation, and hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested. However, after careful analysis, we found that, in fact, by improving the work of the production line employees and the fixtures of the work machine, and continuing to do it bit by bit for a year, we can save 10 people as a result, but Only a fraction of the investment of hundreds of thousands of "automated" was spent.
Case 2: A certain group transformed a production line by introducing advanced automation equipment. After nearly half a year of trial operation, it was found that the effect was much worse than expected. What is the reason? If you look at the performance of the equipment alone, it is quite good. The first is the fast speed, which is nearly 3 times faster than the backward equipment; the second is the complete function. With a little change, there are several processing modes to adapt to other functions. need. But the problem is also coming. First, the performance cannot be used effectively, and the "high speed" of the equipment cannot match the "suitable speed" of the market with many varieties and small batches; second, because the equipment is complex and expensive, the natural use conditions are harsh and it cannot be flexible. Position movement and function conversion to adapt to changing product varieties and production lines; third, equipment adjustment, maintenance, repairs and other tasks are not only demanding, but also cumbersome and complex, and must be managed by a dedicated person. Once a failure occurs, the entire production line will be affected. The production has even become the management bottleneck of the factory.
Therefore, through the analysis of the above cases, I believe that: 1. It is not necessary to "save people" for "saving people". We must first "save labor" and then "save people", that is, improve the work and eliminate the 7 major wastes before proceeding. "automation". 2. The selection of "automation" equipment should be matched based on the requirements of the production mode of the product, and the production mode of the product should be matched based on the market's demand for the product. Is it multi-variety, high-volume, or multi-variety, low-volume.
In short, in the face of increasingly fast-changing variants and variable market demands, "saving labor" and then "saving people" is undoubtedly the first step of "automation", and the second step of "automation" transformation of equipment In the process, the selection of equipment should especially consider the characteristics of short design cycle, flexible conversion, low investment, single function, and low maintenance cost. This is the correct direction for Chinese enterprises in the future.