1. Start simple and get early wins
Early wins with equipment and the support team is important to show the possibilities of the technology and that it will be profitable. One can find an application and get up to 75 % functionality pretty quickly.
2. Define your process requirements
You must understand all the things that are required to produce good parts. Your operators and process experts are the place to start. It is important to document and track key metrics in the development stage and later in production.
3. Do prototyping and mock-ups early
It can take several iterations to learn how to marry the equipment, process, and people together, and it is recommended to do prototyping and mock-up work early in the discovery process. Once you get close to a solution that will be suitable for production, you can develop drawings and have production grade components made.
4. Identify the application expertise needed to support your automation solutions
Start by understanding your internal experience and capabilities. Then look to your trusted suppliers and partners for help. Any additional support required can come from new suppliers you will identify in the buying process.
5. Understand the full integration cost of deploying a cobotic solution
Material cost is easy to identify and track. The amount of labor required to integrate components can vary greatly. The skill required and the cost of labor is a variable too. Therefore, you must look at both material and labor to find the best value. Spending a little more in material cost upfront can lead to big savings in the end.
6. Include your internal resources that will run and maintain the equipment
The best way to learn equipment is to be in the design and build process for that equipment. Your team has the expertise to manufacture the goods you produce. Include them early so that the new combination of equipment and people will be most successful.