2018 Budget Discussions Guest Post by: Cory Swihart, Regional Manager at Matsuura USA Distributor, Yamazen, Inc.

St. Paul, MN (October 3, 2017) — With the 2018 budget plans beginning, please consider evaluating AUTOMATION and UNATTENDED OPERATIONS. This is much simpler than many think, and with the right people helping you through the details, can be implemented flawlessly. Lean on the people that have experience and factory integrated solutions. There are simple answers for every type of shop and these systems can be very flexible. Now is a good time to call in the experts and look at how automation could be used in your shop to give you the upper hand and become more competitive.

First, let’s eliminate what most think: “automation is for high volume production.” This isn’t the case. In fact, automation is needed in many different types of manufacturing. There are automation solutions that are excellent at low volume – high mix parts, some best at high volume – low mix, and some that are infinitely flexible. In fact, most “JOB SHOPS” see the most to gain from Automation.

Next, there are a few things to consider when looking at Automation:

Evaluate the task at hand and the part mix you want to run. To start, gather the jobs that all use a similar type work holding. How many parts do you have that run across a 6” vise or a 6-8-10” chuck? This is most of the parts we see, which are all very easily automated.

Consider more than purchase price. For example – consider operator hourly cost, operator overhead (insurance, breaks, vacations, benefits, etc.), overtime rates, hourly increase from lights out operating, increased efficiencies, up time gain, annual wage increases, annual salary of employees. Remember- automation always shows up and never asks for a raise. And it’s not something you have to pay for each and every year moving forward, it’s a onetime “cost”.

Be realistic. Automation isn’t “cheap,” but it is affordable. If you evaluate all items mentioned above, the payback comes rather quickly. Typically, less than a two-year payback.

Repurpose, don’t replace. There are hundreds of “CNC Machinists Needed” signs. Realize that won’t change, but will only get harder and more competitive, which drives overhead up. The fear of losing our best CNC machinists to the shops two miles down the road for $1.00 more per hour is real. We all need good help and while that additional help isn’t there, repurpose your employees to help in other areas of the shop.

Automation isn’t here to replace employees, it’s there to give them a hand so they can be repurposed around the shop to focus on other tasks that need human involvement. Human involvement in a shop will never be eliminated. We all appreciate what our employees do and give back to us, automation isn’t there to eliminate that, it’s there to make you more competitive and evolve with the hyper competitive market we are living in today. Without evolving with technology, shops will begin to get left behind, which in turn risks employees jobs. Let your employees know you are investing in their future as well.

One thing many forget about automation is one of the most important. When economies change, automation doesn’t. It is still the most efficient way to run your parts. When the economy takes a down turn and you need to be more competitive than ever to keep your customers, automation wins every time. All overheads are eliminated allowing your part prices to be the lowest of your competition.

With the number of different types of automation in the market, there is something for everyone. Simple or complex, there are ways to get you the help you need without the competition of “CNC Machinists Needed” signs out front. In fact, it will gain you more. With the advancement of automation in 5-axis, there is rarely a task that cannot be done.

Please discuss this with your 2018 budget team to at least review the possibilities.

Matsuura’s 5-axis automation is available out of the factory box and has explosive return on investments.

To follow Cory on LinkedIn, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cory-swihart-733a2514/

Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc., located in St. Paul, MN is the U.S. subsidiary of Matsuura Machinery Corporation in Japan. Since 1935, Matsuura has delivered unmatched excellence in high speed and high precision CNC machine tools. From full 5-axis, vertical, horizontal, linear motor or multi-tasking CNC machine tools, Matsuura has been the forerunner in designing innovative technology and manufacturing solutions to a variety of industries around the globe. Matsuura Machinery USA, Inc. provides the service, applications, and technical field support that have always been the Matsuura standard for business.

For more information on Matsuura products, contact: [email protected] or visit: www.matsuurausa.com.