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3 Trends That Are Making Automation More Accessible To Small Businesses

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by Darshan Shah, founder of TheWebReach.com

To survive in the current ever-changing manufacturing environment, a small business needs all the help that it can get. This is so especially when it has to compete with companies that are more than twice its size and have several times its capital.

One of the things that have made it easier for small businesses to compete is the lowering of the barriers to entry, as far as automation is concerned. The following are some of the things that have made it possible for most companies to enjoy common benefits of automation like increased productivity, better workplace safety, reduced operational costs and better flexibility.

1. Reducing acquisition and set up costs.

Advances in technology have led to the manufacturing of smaller robots. These robots not only have a smaller footprint, but can also handle most of automation tasks that small businesses need help with. Fitting an entire robotic system in a smaller and more-convenient package, also tends to translate into lower acquisition costs, and this is something that most small businesses have been able to take advantage of. Since automation systems are relatively more affordable, more businesses can be able to afford buying them.

However, with the emergence of smaller-sized robots like cobots, the affordability of these new systems does not just stop at acquisition. Emerging robotic solutions are becoming incredibly easier to set-up, less costly to maintain, and they require little to no downtime. This is something that is attractive to most businesses, and it has contributed to the increasing adoption of automation.

2. Improving versatility and flexibility of end-of-arm effector tools.

A robot arm needs end-of-arm tools and accessories in order to function effectively. Initially, these tools were highly customized to specific processes. This restricted the number applications that an owner could deploy a robot to. Furthermore, the enhanced customization also made it more expensive to use a robot since every process needed its own special end-of-arm tool.

Currently, most solutions are not as customized as before. End-of-arm tools are becoming more versatile and flexible thanks to innovative designs. Furthermore, there is an increase in standardization of these tools such that they can be used with arms even of different brands. Increased collaboration between manufacturers is on the rise and it is something that is making using robots to be more convenient. When this is combined with easy-to-use, user friendly and versatile software, the convenience and affordability benefits of this trend are virtually unlimited. As a result, owning and using robots is not only becoming more affordable, but also more convenient for the average small business.

3. Emergence of subscription models.

While subscription models are not as popular in robotics as they are in other areas, automation as a service is something that exists. Even though it is a trend that is still at its infancy, it is one that holds a lot of promise as far as improved automation accessibility is concerned.

With a subscription model, a small business does not have to shoulder the full cost of purchasing the system. All that is needed is to pay for the given automated service that they need for as long as they need it. And since renting is cheaper than buying the robot, this is something that will go a long way towards increasing the number of small-sized companies that can afford deploying robots on their factory floors.

Furthermore, with such a model, there is increased flexibility in terms of the type of automation that the business uses. A business can use one type of robot one day, and a completely different brand the next day. It can even change the type of technologies that it chooses to use. This added freedom may be attractive for businesses that do not want to fully commit to a given automation solution. It may also be ideal for a way for businesses to test whether automation can meet their needs. Therefore, this trend has the promise of making automation both affordable and convenient for small businesses.

 

Darshan Shah is a young entrepreneur, digital marketer and blogger. He’s founder of TheWebReach.com and provides Digital Marketing services like SEO, Guest Posting, Inbound Marketing and many more. He loves to help people to grow their business worldwide through his digital marketing knowledge.  He’s enthusiastic about creating blogs and writes creative content for readers.