Sunday, 4 June 2006

AutomaticAssembly (3/16)

Labour costs can form a major part of the factory cost of a product. In particular, assembly labour costs per product can account for well over half of the total labour costs.

Assembly is the final labour intensive manufacturing process to be conquered by the automation engineer.  The comparatively high factory cost caused by assembly labour points engineers to assembly automation as an economic alternative to 'offshoring'. Assembly automation not only gives tangible economic benefits.  It also gives other, less quantitative advantages. The added benefits are a greater control over production, lower floor space requirements and higher finished product quality levels. Exclusion of these less quantifiable benefits can have a critical effect upon the economic justification of an automatic assembly system.

Successful implementation of an automatic assembly system involves many disciplines. Harmonizing of a product design and it's assembly system is an iterative process.  It relies upon co-operation between the product designer, production engineer, cost accountant, and equipment supplier. Product design changes requested by the production engineer are created by the product designer and evaluated by the cost accountant, for the effect on factory cost.

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