Upgrading a facilities’ manufacturing production process from manual to automated production can be a complex and often daunting endeavor. The transition scope involves working with partners, including machine builders, integrators, programmers, and distributors. It can be overwhelming and projected costs can rise quickly, with the long-term investment and ROI hard to predict.
One way to effectively implement an automation project is with an extruded aluminum framing system. Using a high-quality t-slotted aluminum extrusion framing system to build automation equipment lowers maintenance costs, guarantees customization, and yields systems that can be fixed, modified, and updated with only a few tools.
Customization of automation equipment, like automated packaging systems, food and beverage assembly lines, automotive parts production machinery and electronics manufacturing equipment, is made possible with item’s Machine Building Kit System. This modular extruded aluminum framing system features more than 300 aluminum profiles and thousands of components. Automation equipment made with item’s aluminum framing system can be customized down to the millimeter. By using the core components as building blocks, each solution can be designed for specific tasks and unique work environments. In addition to providing structural support, this high-quality extruded aluminum framing system offers unsurpassed versatility in automation equipment design.
Adjustable Parts Equals Easy Replacement
With rapidly changing markets and shortening product life cycles, having machine frames that can be reconfigured over an application’s lifetime can make automation equipment even more viable. When an assembly line breaks down and the machine frame is made from welded steel, there aren't many options. Either the station needs to be replaced, or the production workflow needs to be updated.
Building a steel machine frame, which involves cutting, deburring, welding, grinding the welds, cleaning weld spatter, drilling, tapping, degreasing, masking, priming and painting, is a costly and time-consuming process. The additional weight and potential for rust, contributes to additional cost throughout the life of the frame.
With this modular extruded aluminum framing system, each panel, part, and fastener can be replaced or adjusted as demand changes. When an automated production area is not protected with guarding, or workspace needs to be updated, the addition of a machine guard, can quickly be assembled from a kit or sent pre-assembled, rather than trying to make a pre-sized guard work. The core components of the MB Kit System come together with minimal machining and a few handtools.
With a modular extruded aluminum framing system, each panel, part, and fastener canbe replaced or adjusted as demand changes. If an automated production area is not protected, or the workspace needs the addition of a machine guard, it can quickly be assembled from a kit or sent pre-assembled, rather than trying to make a pre-sized guard work.
Lower Total Cost of Ownership with T-slotted Aluminum Profiles
One of the biggest factors when considering automation systems is the total cost of ownership. While the cost of design, build, and implementation are significant initial investments for a new automated production or assemblyline, the longer-term operating costs must also be considered.
Honeywell studied the average component lifecycle for an automation system and how durable each component was over time. A major focus of this study was the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Figure 1 shows the average lifetime for each automation component in years (Honeywell, pg. 3)
This clearly illustrates that many automation system components will need to be replaced, adjusted, or modified before the entire machine is considered unusable. While TCO does not account for the value of the technology and the ROI, it does allow the purchaser of the automation equipment to forecast the lifetime cost of operating it.
“Maximizing the lifecycles of all these systems is the most important
factor to lowering TCO and truly impacting the bottom line.”
This second set of charts shows the difference in total cost of ownership for two systems: one that has an expected life of 10 years and one with an expected life of 30 years. Even though the acquisition cost is the same for both, when the operating expense is factored in for each system, the first system costs considerably more over its lifetime.
How does this illustration relate to item’s aluminum framing system? Automation systems built with item’s modular aluminum profiles and components benefit from the t-slot profile construction, which enables easy initial assembly and later disassembly. This reduces overall downtime and operating expense by enabling individual components of the machine frame to be replaced as needed, as opposed to the time-consuming and costly replacement of a welded frame. For OEMs, providing automation equipment that can easily be maintained, reconfigured and updated over a longer period of time makes those systems more valuable to customers.
The item North America Advantage
item’s extruded aluminum framing system allows for a wide variety of automation solutions, but the biggest benefit comes from working directly with our skilled and expert staff.
item North America offersa number of services to expedite the production of your automation machine frames. The most significant of these is our no-cost engineering design support. Our engineering department has years of experience designing and collaborating with end users, original equipment manufacturers, and distributors. We can put that experience to work configuring automation equipment solutions that meet your exact requirements.
item North America has designed and assembled a variety of custom automation applications for a range of industries, including:
- Assembly lines for food and beverage
- Solar panel production
- Automative parts production
- Metal fabrication and finishing
- Electronics manufacturing
- Automated packaging systems
In addition,item North America offers a variety of machining and assembly services. We can router custom panel materials, cut t-slot aluminum profile to exact lengths, and machine specialtybrackets and motor mounts.
With item’s extruded aluminum framing system, and item North America’s experience in designing and integrating linear motion systems,material handling solutions, and safety guarding, your next automation equipment project is in good hands.
Contact us now for assistance with your automation system needs.