|Material Handling and ROI. Why Your Material Handling Choice Directly Affects Your Bottom Line|
|Common thinking has it that the processing equipment in a production line is more important to ROI than the automated material handling equipment (AMHE) around it.
Not so fast!
AMHE is often considered the "tires" that keep the vehicle moving down the road. Like most car owners, only the most performance-minded enthusiast thinks much about the performance of his tires. But as every sports car lover knows, the tires can make or break the performance of that car. So, too, is AMHE in production facilities.
When the material handling component of a production line is seriously considered, it is soon discovered that there are wide differences in performance from different providers, and a broad difference in the ultimate performance of that line. The purpose of a good AMHE strategy is to make all the other production equipment work better, faster and smarter.
Fool Me Once...
One of our furniture manufacturers discovered this fact too late. By the time they contacted Creative Automation, their new automated processing line was grossly mismatched with their AMHE components. The cull board feeder in the stacking portion of the line caused frequent stoppages from its inability to handle the pace outlined in their performance requirements.
This single material handling component happened to be a small part of a much bigger process, a section of material handling equipment that was intended to save money in equipment costs, but instead had become a major contributor to the line's poor performance. This single machine essentially controlled the entire line, and, predictably, made that line significantly less profitable than initially planned.
Two Years of Failed Expectations
The customer struggled for about 2 years and gave their original supplier several opportunities to fix the problems but they couldn't. Several problems were identified during that time, including picking up more than one board at a time, improper feeding of cull boards into the stacking system, and on the infeed side, the feeder relied on cull board loads to come in perfectly stacked and centered on the conveyor. As wood manufacturers know, perfectly stacked infeed loads are not what happens in the real world!
Lastly, the customer discovered through their ordeal that the original equipment was not structurally robust.
The Right Call
Creative Automation was brought in to help solve the issue. Working closely with plant engineers, it took a single on-site visit to identify the problem and propose the solution. The existing machine had to be torn out completely, and new equipment from Creative Automation was installed. The resulting change was an immediate increase in performance to original expectations, with no increase in footprint.
Return on investment is only one consideration when choosing an AMHE partner, and we will write more extensively on how to choose automated material handling equipment in the future.
If you have a processing environment that is performing below expectations, contact Creative Automation at 715-223-6321 to begin discussing how Creative Automation automated material handling equipment can improve your production workflow.
|The Material Handling equipment chosen for a new production line can mean the difference between a profitable project and a production nightmare. The unit featured above is in the final testing stages at the Creative Automation plant before shipping to the furniture manufacturer featured in this article.|
|Material Handling equipment must meet the production expectations of the project, and do so year after year. Many wood manufacturers discover too late that their AMHE choice caused entire lines to lose money from slow performance, unacceptable waste or significant downtime.|