OTC Insights Team
Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.
2022 was not an easy year for manufacturers. With supply chain issues, labor shortages, market disruption, and inflation, every industry was affected. To overcome these challenges, manufacturers need a plan that will accelerate production, help them better navigate future challenges, increase supply chain resiliency, and capitalize on new opportunities.
Here are a few trends that will impact manufacturing companies and finishing processes in the new year:
Employee Safety Will Remain a Priority
Workplace safety gained a whole new perspective during the pandemic. Strict regulations on social distancing, sanitizing workplace equipment, and an increased focus on employee health and wellness became the norm.
The renewed priority of employee safety will continue into the new year with technicians needing to be more prepared for each job to minimize contact. In addition, the workforce labor crisis will push more companies to focus on health and safety to prevent extended absences due to illness and injury. Another result of minimizing contact is the possible rise in first-time fix rates.
An Increase in the Use of Industrial Automation and Industrial Paint Robots
Industrial automation is the use of technology to control industrial processes and machines. These automation systems increase the quality, flexibility, and accuracy of the manufacturing process.
One aspect of industrial automation that will continue in the new year is the use industrial paint robots. Painting robots are often found in the automotive industry, but are finding a foothold in other verticals. These machines apply coatings with a high level of accuracy and uniformity. Additionally, in the last decade, the technological capability of industrial painting robots has improved tenfold, providing even more benefits and functionality for manufacturing as the cost of the technology drops.
While there is an initial cost to implementing automation and robots in finishing, manufacturers quickly find benefits and a rapid ROI.
Benefits of Industrial Paint Robots for Finishing, Dispensing, and Filtration
There are many reasons manufacturers rely on industrial paint robots to streamline business operations and increase production. While individual locations may see unique advantages, manufacturers commonly report the following benefits:
- Speed. Painting robots work at a speed 30 times faster than manual methods.
- Precision. The robot’s position is more precise and repeatable than a human painter.
- Uniformity of coating. Since robots move at a more constant, precise speed and with increased accuracy, you see a more reliable and consistent finish.
- Increased production. With the machines not getting tired or requiring a shift change, more work can be done.
- Fewer injuries. Robots perform tasks that may pose dangers to humans such as jobs involving harmful fumes, chemicals, and other potential hazards.
- Space saving. Several robots can work near each other without incident or crowding. Robots can also be installed in smaller locations.
- Reduced production costs. Industrial paint robots reduce costs by minimizing the amount of wasted coating that is produced by human error.
- Increased revenue. Robots can work at a consistent speed without breaks and therefore produce more.
Preventive Maintenance to Keep Production on Track
Successful manufacturers will continue to prioritize proper maintenance of all equipment, especially as issues with inventory and the supply chain have made replacement parts hard to come by. Even one hour of downtime can cost organizations up to thousands of dollars of equity. Therefore, it is vital for companies to ensure all machines consistently function at high performance levels.
Inflation and Supply Chain Security
According to experts, we should continue to expect rising logistical costs and supply chain issues in the next year caused by the pandemic and global insecurity. To deal with these issues, companies should carefully map out their entire supply chains and identify any supply and inflation risks. Some companies have already started researching domestic suppliers or distributors after foreseeing potential risks that may come with relying on foreign manufacturers.
With growing concerns about natural disasters and global warming, investors and consumers prefer businesses that are considered more eco-conscious. As a result, companies are prioritizing environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards. This prioritization includes not only planning, but practices at the company.
Businesses need a plan with clear goals of how to reduce any negative impacts they may be contributing to society or the environment, including evaluating their own business practices and those of their suppliers as well.
Looking Ahead to 2023 and Beyond
The past few years have been challenging for manufacturers. But they have also made companies more resilient. Businesses have been pushed to adapt, innovate, and improve. The results of those efforts are beginning to show benefits and will continue to well into the future.
To learn more about incorporating industrial automation into your manufacturing business, contact an Automation expert at OTC.
If you have questions about your manufacturing processes or are facing a challenge in your finishing group, then contact the Finishing team at OTC. With the deepest bench of expertise and resources in the industry and an innovative team of experts ready to work with you to overcome any challenge, they have been pushing the boundary of what is possible in finishing.
Contact OTC today to learn more.