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Example 1 – By Automation to Cost Reductions
The application of process automation into various production phases and operations can represent a significant source of cost reductions in every company. The final quality control is most probably the most convenient area for automation. It is an activity which has to be done precisely. Therefore it becomes rather time-consuming and error-prone. Moreover, it is necessary to ensure that the inspected product is still assessed in the same way, which can be quite complicated especially during shift work where this activity is performed by several controllers.
To illustrate how quickly investments into this area can pay off, we can use one of our references when we implemented final inspection/quality control automation in the company Metrie spol. s r.o. – a world leading producer of folding rulers. The baseline in the company was a two-shift production with one controller for each shift. The gross wage of the controller was CZK 20 000/month and he/she was able to manually check one folding ruler in 1.5 minutes. With such time, the controller managed to check max 250 of such folding rulers per shift. A checking device supplied by our company fully automated the folding ruler checking process. The automation shortened the period for checking of one product by three times which deterred the need to hire another two employees for both production shifts to be able to reach the same capacity using man power. The automation of control saved CZK 107 200,- per month which for the client represented return on investment in fewer than 5 months! Not to mention the reduction of the error-rate that meant another saving.
Example 2 – Annual Return on Investment
A production company employs a technician for quality control of products at an assembly line. His/her gross wage is CZK 15 000. In one shift, he/she is able to check 1440 products. From the statistics point of view, the company has counted that 1% of damaged products slip through the inspection, which costs the company CZK 100 000 per month.
By the introduction of computer imaging, the company can relocate the employee to a different position and so save CZK 15 000 per month. The speed of the assembly line can be increased 5 times so currently, the assembly line is able to process 7200 products per shift. The percentage of products that slip through the inspection decreases 10 times to 0.1%. In total, the company increases the productivity 5 times and saves CZK 1 323 000 per year, which represents an amount covering basically an implementation of any solution using computer imaging. For such a client, we are able to ensure an annual return of investment.
Example 3 – Machine-tool Centres 15% More Productive
Machine-tool centres used in the mechanical engineering industry for material processing (=production) are very expensive devices. For material processing, machine tools that require calibration before every production, are used (to record tool losses from the previous production to the following one). It is a common practice to do this directly on machine-tool centres that are worth millions of CZK, therefore the time of such machines is very expensive for clients. That is why we made use of our knowledge of computer imaging and in cooperation with our partners, we have developed an adjusting device which enables such measurements to be done outside the machine-tool centre and so increase the efficiency of the productivity of the centre. This way, we are able to increase the productivity by 15%, which again, with the prices of machine-tool centres, represents an annual return of investment.
As you can see, computer vision is a very efficient tool enabling us to view problems from a different perspective and so increase productivity. The application of the technology in areas requiring high costs for the acquisition of production devices or labour force can bring large savings.