Flexibility is typically regarded as a good thing. Flexible schedules allow for spontaneity and provide you with time to smell the roses. Flexible people have unique career opportunities (contortionists, gymnasts, etc.) and are less likely to pull a muscle while dancing. And of course, flexible waistbands are the pinnacle of comfort in the world of trousers.
But flexibility is also beneficial in an area that you might not expect – manufacturing. Normally when you think of manufacturing you think of rigid machinery made of hard steel or alloys. Flexibility isn’t the first word that comes to mind when picturing these machines, however flexibility is becoming increasingly important in manufacturing.
That’s not to say that industrial machinery itself will physically become more flexible. You’re not going to see packaging machines made of rubber any time soon. What you will see is the manufacturing process move towards being more adaptive, customizable, and responsive.
As robotics and automation technologies continue to advance, and the Internet of Things and IoT technologies become more sophisticated and more commonly used, flexibility in manufacturing is becoming increasingly appealing.
An article from Automation World suggests that the production process will eventually resemble the constantly changing and responsive nature of social media. Humans and machines will all be in constant communication, responding to different stimuli in order to accommodate different needs.
Increased connectivity and flexibility will lead to increased efficiency. Instantaneous access to information can lead to more informed, and more immediate decision making. If there’s a spike in sales and production needs to be increased to meet consumer demand, the line can increase production, and transport can respond accordingly to get products on the shelves without delay.
One of the strengths of Indramat components is that they are incredibly versatile. They’ve been that way for decades. However if you’re Indramat system has been running for decades, it might be time to do some maintenance. Make sure that you’re ready for the next chapter in manufacturing by ensuring that your machinery is in top shape.