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Streamlining Manufacturing Processes: The Role of Automation and Smart Fixtures

Written by:

Emily Smith
smart fixtures

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing landscape, efficiency and compliance are paramount for staying competitive. Yet, many quality managers face challenges such as bottlenecks, skill shortages, and maintaining high productivity levels.

How can automation address these issues? And what role does smart fixture automation play in optimising manufacturing processes?

Addressing Bottlenecks with Automation:

Bottlenecks in manufacturing can significantly impact production throughput and efficiency. These bottlenecks often occur due to manual processes, limited resources, or outdated machinery. 

For quality managers, these issues are not just operational setbacks but can also lead to increased customer complaints and revenue loss. Automation offers a solution by streamlining repetitive tasks, reducing cycle times, and increasing overall production capacity. 

By automating routine processes, manufacturers can minimise bottlenecks, improve workflow continuity, and enhance overall operational efficiency, directly addressing concerns about delays and inefficiencies in quality.

Mitigating Skill Shortages and Job Market Challenges:

The manufacturing industry faces a growing skill shortage and evolving job market dynamics. Automation helps alleviate these challenges by reducing reliance on manual labour and specialised skill sets. Automated systems can perform tasks requiring extensive training or expertise, allowing manufacturers to adapt to changing workforce demographics and skill availability. 

This ensures that productivity levels are maintained and skill gaps within the workforce are bridged, alleviating stress related to a lack of resources and ensuring that quality standards are consistently met.

Smart Fixture Automation:

Smart fixtures represent a cutting-edge solution for optimising manufacturing processes. These fixtures utilise advanced technologies such as sensors, actuators, and intelligent control systems to automate fixture setup, part alignment, and inspection tasks. 

In industries like medical and aerospace manufacturing, where precision, repeatability, and high-volume production are essential, smart fixtures are invaluable. By incorporating smart fixture automation, manufacturers can achieve tighter tolerances, reduce setup times, and ensure consistent part quality, which helps in meeting new product requirements and maintaining quality compliance.

Benefits of Smart Fixture Automation:

manufacturing automation

Smart fixture automation offers several key benefits for quality managers:

  • Increased Efficiency: Streamlines setup and inspection processes, reducing cycle times and increasing overall throughput.
  • Enhanced Accuracy: Automated alignment and measurement systems ensure precise positioning and dimensional accuracy, minimising errors and rework.
  • Improved Flexibility: Adapts to various part geometries and manufacturing requirements, providing versatility in production setups.
  • Cost Savings: Reduces scrap, rework, and setup times, helping manufacturers lower production costs and improve profitability.
  • Compliance and Traceability: Automated inspection processes ensure compliance with industry standards and regulatory requirements, enhancing product traceability and quality assurance.

Sempre Group’s Innovative Smart Fixtures:

Sempre Group introduces a revolutionary approach to fixturing with their smart fixture technology. This innovative solution allows manufacturers to redeploy their initial investment in automated rotation technology onto other fixtures by simply adding a new fixture rail onto the existing smart fixture platform.

Key Features of Sempre’s Smart Fixtures Include:

  • Repeatable, reproducible, and traceable inspection processes for any metrology system.
  • Ideal for industries including medical, automotive, and aerospace to demonstrate compliance with industry standards such as ISO13485 and AS9100 certification.
  • Ultra-fast swap over using a precision kinematic mount with no operator input required.
  • Compatibility with a range of multi-sensor CMMs, including Micro-Vu Vertex and Excel systems.

Watch the video of our smart fixtures in action here

Machine Tending Solutions:

Maximise production and fully utilise your workforce with more valuable tasks, leaving the robots to do the repetitive work. Automate your machine tools using collaborative robotics for fast and simple implementation. 

Our standard machine tending platform is a shelf-to-shop-floor solution to get you set up rapidly. Our expert team will help you set up the system, program the interface, and have you up and running in as little as three days. 

Additionally, our solutions allow for automated, in-line quality inspection straight off the machine. Using our Sempre connect interface kit, setup is simple and effective. Sempre will support all integration, programming, and setup of the inspection.

Watch this video to see a machine tending solution we have implemented  live in action

Sempre Smart Production – Bespoke Solutions:

sempre metrology

Need a higher throughput? Looking for more complex routines? 

We can use our current platforms to design and build a system configured for your needs. Every automation process has its own unique qualities, so we work with you to ensure a solution works for you and your company. 

Our in-house team of engineers will provide specific information on throughput, cycle times, integration, and installation tailored to your needs.

Improving Productivity with ARKITE Automation Systems:

Implementing The Sempre Group’s bespoke ARKITE automation systems significantly enhances productivity by providing real-time digital work instructions and comprehensive traceability in assembly and verification processes.

ARKITE’s platforms offer step-by-step guidance through augmented reality, integrating seamlessly with smart tools, barcode scanners, ERP, and MES systems. 

This integration reduces training time by 50%, improves overall product quality, and minimises scrap and errors in production processes by up to 90%. The ARKITE Guide platform projects digital instructions onto the work area, facilitating a simple, low-cost guidance system where operators can easily move through stages and confirm actions. 

The Validate platform further streamlines operations by using augmented reality to automatically recognize movements and validate each step, ensuring a traceable and efficient assembly process. 

The latest ARKITE Vision platform incorporates a camera system to verify assembly stages, distinguishing between expected and faulty results, and providing immediate feedback to operators. This comprehensive approach ensures high-quality outcomes, reduces rework by 75%, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

Meeting the Needs of Quality and Production Managers:

For quality and production managers who are ambitious and driven by the need to implement quality standards and policies, the introduction of smart fixture technology and automation can be a game-changer. Addressing triggers such as new product requirements, customer complaints, and new compliance constraints, these solutions help maintain quality compliance and reduce the number of quality complaints. 

By ensuring that all processes are efficient and effective, quality managers can focus on strategic improvements and facilitate overall productivity.

Automation, particularly through smart fixture technology, offers a transformative solution for addressing bottlenecks, mitigating skill shortages, and maintaining productivity in manufacturing environments. 

By embracing automation and leveraging innovative solutions like Sempre Group’s smart fixtures and ARKITE automation systems, quality managers can streamline operations, improve product quality, and drive sustainable growth in today’s competitive marketplace.

Take a look at our smart fixtures brochure today for further information and arrange a call to discuss your requirements with a member of our team.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to explore how automation can benefit your manufacturing processes.

Having trouble measuring difficult characteristics, dealing with quality bottlenecks, or demonstrating compliance?

We’re here to simplify your quality inspection experience.

We’ll give you expert advice on the right precision systems for your application, software to streamline your quality process from drawing to report, plus we’ll support you with sub-contract measurement and calibration services.

Let us solve your measuring challenges.

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Looking to streamline your quality process?

Discover our range ofhigh-precision, cutting edge measurement technologies for demonstrating your quality compliance.

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