Rihs R, Bauer J-F, “Scalable Assembly Solutions – Fully Integrated and Truly Global”. ONdrugDelivery Magazine, Issue 100 (Sep 2019), pp 24-25.
Rolf Rihs and Jean-François Bauer look at how – to meet customer needs – Mikron has specialised in flexible, modular assembly solutions that are easy to evolve during the different stages of a product lifecycle: from the development phase through to fully automated, maximum-performance production.
Demands on manufacturers in industries such as medical, pharmaceutical, automotive, consumer goods and electronics are especially high. In an extremely competitive market, pressure on costs is rising and the lead time for new products is getting ever shorter. An assembly solution often has to be ready before all the details of the new product are even known. In many cases, assembly solutions also need to be frequently switched to another variant.
It’s no wonder then that demand for innovative, cost-optimised solutions has risen dramatically over the past few years. The future belongs to flexible automation systems that can be expanded and enhanced easily and cost effectively – from the development phase through to fully automatic production.
FIRST PROTOTYPES TO FULLY AUTOMATIC PRODUCTION LINES
Providers of automation solutions should be involved from the very beginning of product development. As a fully integrated project partner, we often learn all about the process at the same time as our customer. We always have a sound grasp of the risks involved and, through constant communication, we are able to anticipate future changes– from design for assembly to proof of principle, and from the validation process through to the pilot line and high-performance production (Figure 1).
“A close partnership with our customers enables us to understand their needs and react immediately.”
A close partnership with our customers enables us to understand their needs and react immediately. That’s why the flexibility of our automation systems is so important. As a global company, Mikron is ready to go to its customers wherever they are. This means the customer can start their production in very small batches anywhere in Europe, for example, and finish it in very high volumes somewhere in America or in Asia. Thanks to the multi-cell configurations of our automation systems and the integration of manual workplaces, we offer almost unlimited layout options. Throughout the whole process, it is easy to redeploy and reconfigure whenever necessary. This considerably increases cost efficiency and greatly shortens delivery times. What’s more, process validation can be transferred from one automation level to the next.
MINIMUM RISK WITH FLEXIBLE PRODUCTION STARTS
The key word in the brave new world of flexible automation systems is “scalability” (see Figure 2). For our customers, the new approach means minimum risk and a faster, more flexible production start – in several stages, if required. For many years, Mikron Automation has enjoyed an international reputation as a partner for high-performance automation solutions in the large-scale manufacture of precision products. For many, however, the fact that Mikron Automation is also one of the leading providers of scalable and flexible automation systems is a huge bonus. This strengthens our position as a first-choice, long-term partner.
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