The bet in a more automated process is crucial to ensure the future of companies in the mould sector. This was one of the main conclusions of the debate 'Automation and Robotics in the Mouldmaking Industry', organized by CEFAMOL.
The central question concerned the possibility that, in the future, molding companies will embody the concept of the 'lights-out factory, without the human element and with only the machines doing all the work'.
During the debate Eduardo Veija, from GLN, argued that, given what is currently happening in the market - the shortage of labor, the crushed molds sales margins, and the enormous competition with countries, especially from the East, among other factors -, robotization "is a mandatory step for companies". Otherwise, "the industry doesn't grow".
João Vigário, from MD Group, began by giving some figures, illustrating that in the company the manufacturing process is quite optimized. He left, however, a warning: "before moving forward with optimization, it is necessary to improve our processes, eliminating waste. Otherwise, we are optimizing waste when the goal is to gain efficiency. He also defended that, in the mold industry, optimization is a fundamental factor for the survival of companies.
Paulo Henriques, from Ribermold, considered that the future will involve a generalized bet on these technologies, defending that, in a first moment, companies need to evaluate their processes, using metrics and real data that software allows. Steps have already been taken, he emphasized, defending the need to take into account the integration of the various technologies as the optimization process moves forward. That is, the importance of communication between the various systems within a company.
João Vigário agrees that this is an important step, and says that he has experienced the difficulty of integrating the older machines with the newer technologies. For Eduardo Veiga, this is even "the biggest challenge": the total integration of the systems, so that data can be extracted to facilitate management and, thus, make production more profitable.
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