Skip to Content

Author Archives: AMD

  1. ROIC Considerations of Industrial Automation Equipment for Manufacturing

    Leave a Comment

    Automation equipment can deliver significant value to manufacturing companies if done right. Automation projects should always be justified from a financial standpoint, so it’s important to select a solution that fulfills production needs while being able to minimize costs over the long term.

    At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), our team has more than 25 years of industry experience creating automation solutions that fit our clients’ budgets and business strategies. We have over 100 engineers and technicians that can incorporate cutting-edge automation technology into individual assembly stations, high-speed stations capable of managing 100 ppm, and fully automated manufacturing lines. Since we first opened our doors in 1996, we’ve completed more than 1,500 industrial automation projects.

    Start your project by considering the different degrees of industrial automation—and the potential financial costs and benefits of each system—to zero in on the right fit.

    Degrees of Automation

    There are four degrees of automation used in manufacturing facilities:

    Manual Operation

    This is the lowest level of automation where all tasks are performed manually by human operators. There is no involvement of automated systems or machinery.

    Partial Automation

    At this level, some tasks or processes are automated while others still require manual intervention. Certain repetitive or time-consuming tasks may be automated to improve efficiency and reduce human error.

    Process Control Automation

    At this level, the focus is on automating control systems for monitoring and regulating specific processes. Automated control systems, such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs) or distributed control systems (DCS), are employed to manage and optimize process variables.

    Full Automation

    Full automation refers to a system or process where all tasks and operations are completely automated, and human intervention is minimal or non-existent. The system can perform complex functions independently without the need for constant human monitoring. Full automation does require having an experienced technician that can address any issues the machine might encounter over its lifetime.

    Breaking Down the Benefits of Manufacturing Automation

    Automation brings numerous unique benefits, and it is one of the most important long-term investments manufacturers make in their facilities. A successful automation solution will provide benefits in one or more of the following areas:

    1. Production Volume: An automated line could increase production volume under a set level of constraints. We usually see this when our customers are having trouble meeting demand for their products, or are constrained by a low supply of labor, space, or time.
    2. Cost Decrease: Automation systems are highly relevant for customers that are having trouble sourcing the right talent for their manufacturing operations. A single automated system can help your existing workforce be more efficient and decrease the need to hire and retain additional headcount. This is particularly relevant in a tight job market.
    3. Quality Improvement: Automated systems will deliver great repeatability across a wide range of complex manufacturing operations such as welding, assembly, machining, and more.

    Breaking Down the Costs of Manufacturing Automation

    Automated solutions require a significant capital investment and some ongoing costs associated with the new equipment, such as:

    1. Experienced Workforce: For most automation systems, your organization will need to retrain or hire and train employees that can service and operate your chosen solution.
    2. CAPEX: This includes the automation system itself and ancillary hardware and tools. Setting up the equipment will also represent other discrete and continuous expenses such as rent for the space, shipping costs, etc.
    3. Maintenance: This includes all expenses associated with the maintenance of the equipment. This can include changing equipment once its useful life is over, replacing parts that are under stress, and preventive maintenance of equipment systems such as hydraulics, pneumatics, electrical, etc.

    By categorizing these benefits and costs, your organization can understand the automated solution’s ROIC, where those costs fit into your budget, and determine what level of automation is best for you.

    Other Cost Considerations for Manufacturing Automation

    Total cost considerations can be complex to estimate. Consider these costs that are usually overlooked as you finalize your estimates:

    • Comprehensive purchase price, which may include:
      • Getting a higher-quality automation system that meets regulatory standards in your industry
      • Safety requirements
      • Switching platforms
    • Costs incurred throughout the system’s usable lifespan:
      • Cost of variable life cycles
      • Potential downtime during repairs, maintenance, and modifications
      • Inefficiencies after adoption
      • Cost of training
      • Scalability needs

    Your new automation systems won’t immediately be optimized for your production. New automation systems need time to reach their full potential and become a seamless part of your processes.

    Request a Quote for a Precise Cost-Benefit Breakdown for Your Next Project With AMD

    At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), we partner with each client to help develop a cost-effective plan for automation. Learn more about the costs and considerations of implementing automation by calling our team at 832-745-1292. You can also request a quote by contacting our team online.

  2. The Ins and Outs of Helium Leak Testing Equipment


    Leak testing is critical to manufacturing quality assurance practices and functionality testing for a broad range of pressurized equipment. While there are many leak detection methods, helium vacuum tests offer superior sensitivity and accuracy for identifying common leaks and micro-leaks.

    Why Use Helium Leak Testing Equipment?

    Helium leak testing equipment offers a means to detect leaks and verify leak-tightness in vacuum conditions. Technicians often employ helium as a test gas because this small and light molecule provides a wide detection range in vacuum tests between 102 and 1013 Pa · m3/s. Helium leak testing and detection equipment offer precise quantitative and repeatable results with fast cycle times. The inert, non-flammable nature of helium also contributes to its popularity in leak testing.

    Manual sniffing or spraying offers one of the simplest ways to find leaks, though this process can be time-consuming. Automatic leak detection solutions facilitate a much higher-detection speed with minimal operator input. Helium leak detectors obtain extra data that traditional leak detection methods like bubble testing or pressure drop will not.

    Ultimately, helium leak testing offers the best chance of successfully detecting every leak, improving the efficacy of quality assurance and functionality testing processes.

  3. Automated Assembly Machines: A Selection Guide

    Leave a Comment

    Assembly line automation allows companies to meet high production demands by performing assembly processes without the intervention of a human operator and moving parts along automated process sequences. Due to the large variety of products that need to be assembled and the different processes each assembly involves, automated assembly machines are almost always custom designed, allowing companies to create a highly individualized solution. This selection guide will describe the most popular types of assembly automation equipment and the benefits they offer.

    Choosing the Best Automated Assembly Machine for Your Application

    Assembly line automation equipment can be classified into three main styles: factory, manufacturing, and robotic automation equipment. 

    • Factory automation equipment. Factory automation machines perform general movements, such as lifting or lowering. 
    • Manufacturing automation equipment. Manufacturing automation machines are designed to assemble a specific product and can be very fast and efficient. They usually run faster than a robotic assembly station but lack the flexibility that a robot can provide. Custom built machines are designed to run one part with a minimum number of variations. They can also perform quality control and other tasks related to general manufacturing. 
    • Robotic automation equipment. Robotic automation equipment involves more technical machinery that can perform assembly, material handling, painting, or other more sophisticated tasks. This equipment can be very flexible; once a robot is programmed, it can switch from one product to another by simply selecting the product on a menu.

    All types of assembly operations involve bringing together two or more parts to form a different product. Assembly operations that can be automated range from welding, stapling, gluing, screwing, pressing parts together, inserting, riveting, clinching, and many more operations that join components. To facilitate these operations, various types of automated assembly machines can be used, including: 

    • Marking systems: In the current manufacturing ecosystem, traceability of assembly components is common and sometimes mandatory. Marking systems (laser marking, ink jet & micro percussion) enable manufacturers to add important pieces of information to parts to facilitate product traceability in the production line. 
    • Testing systems: Automated testing can be performed during the assembly process or at the end of the line when the assembly is complete.  All types of testing can be automated, including functional tests, dimensional inspection, detection of components, noise detection, functional tests, and many more operations that guarantee that the final assembled product meets the required quality criteria.
    • Leak detection systems: This type of automated equipment can test products after they come off the line, or it can be integrated into the production line to test products during manufacturing. In large production operations, manual sniffing, pressure decay systems, bubble checks, flow systems, or spraying can be time-consuming. Automatic leak detection solutions facilitate a much higher-detection speed with minimal operator input. 
    • Welding Systems: Weld quality depends on two factors: weld integrity and repeatability. Automated welding systems utilize electronic weld process controllers to ensure weld integrity. These components also allow for repeatable input parameters, resulting in consistent output. For example, we can make hot plate welding machines with different welding plates in different positions that weld at the same time. 
    • Pick-and-place robots: Pick-and-place robots grab incoming components from a feeding conveyor, vibratory bowl feeder, or tray and place them into the assembly or packaging containers. 
    • Inspection systems: Vision systems or vision sensors inspect a component’s dimensions, color, quality, and other details without physically touching them. In-line inspections offer earlier identification of defective components and significantly reduce the usage of out-of-spec parts. 
    • Palletizers: Using either conveyors or robotic equipment, palletizers automate the palletizing process, dramatically reducing employee injuries as well as the amount of time needed to lift and move heavy components. In manufacturing applications, robots remove products from the production line and load them onto a pallet. 

    Automation solutions like robotics, inspection, leak, and welding systems solve many types of production-related problems. Automated assembly machines from AMD can help you achieve a semi- or fully-automated production line that improves workplace safety while reducing manufacturing costs. We can help you create the most suitable type of assembly line automation for your business, including:

    • Fully automated: Fully-automated assembly lines require little to no human interaction to complete production processes. Workers simply monitor machines for issues and replenish parts as needed.
    • Semi-automated: Humans work alongside machines, performing tasks like loading parts into tooling and other fixtures or moving components from one automated station to the next. 
    • Lean manufacturing automation: Manufacturers only incorporate automated solutions that add the most value into the assembly process, creating the highest ROI. 
    • High-throughput manufacturing automation: Continuous motion technology like servo-based or mechanical cams, machine vision, and tooling are used to dramatically increase throughput speeds and reduce cycle time. 

    Assembly Line System Structure

    To learn more about each stage in the assembly line system, hover over each section in the graphic below to reveal additional information and detailed images. 

    Custom Automation Equipment Solutions from AMD

    As an industry leader in automation and assembly, AMD delivers state-of-the-art manufacturing solutions, including fully customized, turnkey equipment. We’ll work closely with you to ensure we deliver a custom automation solution that matches your particular requirements. Our custom automated machining offerings include:

    • Assembly 
    • Heat treatment
    • Inspection with vision systems or vision sensors
    • Leak tests
    • Machining
    • Marking and traceability
    • Packaging
    • Robotic cells
    • Test systems
    • Welding

    We design, fabricate, and install everything from a complete automated assembly line to a single manual, semi-automatic machine. 

    Contact Our Experts for Premium Assembly Automation Equipment

    At AMD, we specialize in creating innovative technology that increases your workplace safety, profitability, and production capabilities. Our engineering team will work with you to develop a customized solution that solves your application-specific challenges. If you have any questions about our automated assembly machines, contact us. To get started on your automated solution, request a quote today.

  4. Automation and the Future of Appliance Manufacturing

    Leave a Comment

    Assembly machines and robotic technology contribute significantly to the appliance manufacturing industry. They’re highly effective in smaller assembly applications, putting together household appliances like toasters, irons, or vacuum cleaners. However, for companies that manufacture high volumes of large white goods like clothes washers or refrigerators, in many cases, robots currently handle only those tasks that aren’t part of the assembly process, like stamping, machining, painting, and product testing.

    As the market continues to evolve with innovations in automation technology, furthering robotics integration into the appliance industry’s assembly lines for large appliances is the logical next step. Appliance manufacturers can achieve an optimal return on their investment with faster, more accurate, and highly efficient production processes that provide the benefits of operational flexibility and decreased costs.

    Appliance manufacturers have to consider automation when designing new products to make its use favorable. This concept means including features in the different components that make it easy for an automatic system to orient them and assemble them into the product, taking into account that the robot will always make the same trajectory and movements and doesn’t have the capability to make small tweaks or process modifications to force an assembly to happen. Manufacturers have to update the design of the appliance to make full use of the capabilities that an automatic system can provide instead of trying to have robots do the tasks that humans do or are good at doing.

    Growing Demand for Automation in Appliance Manufacturing

    After the automobile industry, the appliance manufacturing sector comes in as the second-most automated industry worldwide. From toasters to refrigerators, appliances all utilize complex electrical components that manufacturers must carefully assemble, welding them on the production line. Robotic automation allows manufacturers to achieve significant savings in appliance production time as compared to manual processes.

    Boston Consulting Group Inc. (BCG) found in 2015 that robots completed a mere 10% or so of tasks in manufacturing operations. However, the same study anticipated an increase to 25% by 2025, with the largest growth projected in the appliance and electrical equipment industries. BCG reasoned that the high wages for human workers in these sectors and the abundance of tasks into which manufacturers can easily incorporate automation would hasten global robotics adoption in these fields.

    Benefits of Automation in Appliance Manufacturing

    In a world where automation is becoming the norm, it’s important to understand how the appliance manufacturing industry can capitalize on its benefits. Compared to manual operations, automation offers superior:

    • Precision. Automation allows companies to increase accuracy within their assembly applications for greater uniformity and repeatability. Robotic technology reduces or eliminates the risk of human error, producing higher-quality products for your market.
    • Speed. Automation increases production speeds, efficiency, and throughput without having to sacrifice quality in large appliances like refrigerators, stoves, washers, and dryers. It positions manufacturers to be successful and keep up with businesses while operating in a highly competitive market.
    • Flexible, scalable operations. Manufacturers can quickly adapt robotic technology to production changes, like an altered design or product modification, without necessitating a revision to the actual assembly line. Also, the enhanced productivity allows manufacturers to scale their operations as needed.
    • Integration capabilities. The ease with which manufacturers can incorporate turnkey automation solutions into their current operations and machinery allows them to seamlessly automate complex processes that would otherwise cost them in greater time and labor investments.
    • Adherence to industry/regional quality standards. Automation in appliance manufacturing boosts compliance capabilities as the equipment will assemble all appliance parts and equipment per the highest quality standards to meet industry or regional requirements.

    Improvements in Automation

    Robots are becoming smarter and more beneficial than ever in appliance manufacturing. BCG projected in 2015 that robotic systems’ improvements in flexibility, production speed, and related advantages would continue at a rate of approximately 5% per year. This versatile, highly networked technology is already utilizing advancements like gripping systems and vision sensors to improve and expedite processes.

    While the initial investment for automated equipment has traditionally been more cost prohibitive than that of human labor, continuous innovations in information technology and robotics, along with the resulting improvements in assembly line performance and product pricing, will eventually lead to automated practices being the more cost-effective of the two. Incorporating automation now will help appliance manufacturers gain a competitive advantage before 100%-automated assembly lines become fully mainstream in the industry.

    Including robots in assembly lines is one option for automation in the appliance industry, but manufacturers can automate many other processes as well, like punching or drilling holes in cabinets, clinching or riveting components, making functional testing, etc.

    Contact AMD for Appliance Manufacturing Automation Solutions

    Automation increases efficiency, speed, and high-quality product throughput, greatly enhancing the manufacturing process for large appliances. At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), our domestic and international teams of experienced engineers and technicians can assist you in integrating automation solutions into your manufacturing lines. With a focus on design, performance, quality, and budget, we offer fully automated equipment, high-speed stations, and assembly lines capable of producing up to 100 ppm to revolutionize your operation.

    Contact us today to learn more about what AMD can do to support automation solutions in your business, or request a quote to get started.

  5. Choosing the Right Automation Equipment

    Leave a Comment

    In the past, adding workers to resolve operational problems was a viable solution for many businesses, but this isn’t the case today. Instead, automation is the solution to lengthening shifts and recent struggles to find employees. With automation, companies can increase efficiency and productivity without increasing labor expenses.

    When choosing the right industrial automation equipment and systems for your application, you’ll need to take several variables into consideration. Learn more about what these are below.

    Assess Your Automation Equipment Needs

    Automation is a part of lean manufacturing principles, which aim to create efficient and repeatable processes. When deciding on an automation system to integrate into your operations, you will need to assess your operations as a whole using value stream mapping (VSM). VSM allows you to identify and keep track of every aspect of your manufacturing operations, from staffing to material volumes to production timelines. With the help of VSM, you’ll be able to minimize waste during manufacturing, making it as efficient and lean as possible.

    When selecting the right automated assembly system, your manufacturing volumes and overall budget are the main factors influencing your decision. Typically, businesses integrate an automated solution to address specific challenges regarding product configuration or distribution. Normally automation opportunities show themselves up as bottlenecks in the plant space, where raw materials or materials in process start to pile up because of an inefficient process in the assembly line.

    Semi-Automated vs. Fully-Automated Systems

    The two primary types of automated systems are semi-automated and fully-automated systems. Each offers unique advantages for various applications.

    Semi-automated systems provide an ideal solution for applications that rely on operator involvement to some extent but still benefit from improved efficiency. It’s best to install these systems if the production volume is small or if certain assembly processes are too complex for full automation. Even when a process can not be fully automated because of the characteristics of the components or the process, incorporating technology into the assembly process helps the operator prevent mistakes due to inexperience or burnout.

    If semi-automated systems aren’t sufficient, companies may install fully-automated systems. These processes are ideal if products don’t depend on operator assistance and are compatible with automated feeding. Fully-automated systems also meet the needs of operations with high production volumes. Although some may argue that manual labor is more cost-effective than total automation, these systems come with a high return on investment in the long term.

    Matching Automation Needs to Solutions

    Before fully integrating an automated system into your operations, you may be able to take smaller steps to start. These initiatives could help you ease into automation before you invest in more comprehensive processes.

    For example, a collaborative robot or cobot can perform automated tasks alongside operators. A facility may use autonomous loaders and vehicles to simplify the transportation of materials from one area to another. A camera-equipped robotic arm could inspect parts, enabling staff who are normally responsible for inspections to focus on other tasks. Another robotic arm could assist with loading and unloading parts to and from computer numerical control (CNC) machines, while human operators can perform more complex, technical tasks.

    Industrial Robot Options for Automation

    Different types of industrial robots can help automate a wide range of tasks. Each task that a facility needs to automate will determine which type of end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) you will require.

    • Articulated Robots: These robotic systems feature multiple joints that allow for more flexibility of motion. Applications for these robots include welding, printing, material handling, packaging, metalworking, machine tending, laser cutting, tie belt application, glue application, staple application, etc. Almost any process that a human operation does now can be automated by a robot as long as the trajectory is always identical from one part to the other. Robots are not intelligent machines and will repeat exactly the same movements every time, this implies that the components have to be “automation quality” so that the variation from one part to the nex is minimal.
    • SCARA Robots: Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) robots include two rotary joints to perform various assembly tasks. They can move along all three axes, but they are especially well-suited for lateral movement positioning and the assembly movement being vertical from top to bottom.
    • Cartesian Robots: Also known as rectangular robots, Cartesian robots are less expensive than other systems and offer high levels of accuracy. They operate on the X, Y, and Z axes of the Cartesian coordinate system, allowing for vertical and horizontal motion on all three axes. Applications for these robots include drilling, 3D printing, storing, and packaging. Usually these types of robots are modular making it possible to have the X and Y axis servo controlled and the Z axis with a pneumatic cylinder or any combination of servo controlled and pneumatic movements.
    • Delta Robots: These systems comprise jointed parallelograms that connect to a base, allowing them to pick up items and place them precisely. Their fast and accurate motions make them ideal for use in electronics, pharmaceutical, and food manufacturing processes. These robots are the fastest types of robots being able to make movements in fractions of a second. These robots are ideally suited for assembly operations with a vertical movement from top to bottom.
    • Polar Robots: Also called spherical robots, polar robots consist of a linear joint and two rotary joints connected to a robotic arm. Their benefits include simple controls, efficient operations, and a long reach that make these systems suitable for many applications, including automotive parts assembly.
    • Robotic Work Cells: For a more efficient automation system, consider installing an all-in-one robotic work cell unit. A robotic work cell makes it easy to get your operations up and running soon after installation. Companies can customize robotic work cells based on their unique needs across a range of applications.


    Contact AMD for Custom Automated Equipment Solutions

    For reliable automated equipment solutions, turn to the experts at Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD). As a leading industrial automation equipment manufacturer, we’ll help you develop a custom system based on your application’s unique requirements.

    Contact us today to learn more about our equipment models and other solutions, or request a quote to get started on a custom automation system.

  6. How Industrial Automation Equipment is Helping to Bring Back Manufacturing to America

    Leave a Comment

    Industrial Automation is Powering and Innovating American Manufacturing

    Advances in automation technology improve manufacturing techniques and power product innovation by enhancing how components are produced. Due to technology such as adaptive robotics, machine learning, and others, manufacturing processes are currently more refined and inexpensive than in the past. Investing in these technologies has enabled smaller factories to produce more new products and quickly adjust to changes in demand. These tools encourage innovation and facilitate the development of higher-quality products. 

    In recent years, new technological advancements in optics, wireless communications, and sensors have enabled automated systems to graduate from simple repetitive tasks to undertaking increasingly complex processes. There is a common misconception that adopting technology like this results in a disadvantage for American workers; however, research and statistics offer a different story.

    The Economic Advantages of American Automation

    Investing in automated manufacturing technology offers several economic advantages aside from innovation and job growth. Most importantly, automation can enhance productivity. It has been predicted that automation can raise global productivity by 0.8% to 1.4%, which results in higher output, higher margins for businesses, higher wages for workers, and lower prices for consumers.

    This productivity growth especially helped during the pandemic. Despite lockdowns and reduced workforces, automated equipment helped to raise U.S. productivity by nearly 4% since 2019. Companies are expected to continue investing in newer technologies through 2024, which will further boost productivity and enhance overall living standards.

    The Boom in Robotic Automation & Its Benefits for Manufacturers 

    In recent years, an ever-increasing number of manufacturers have been adopting robotic automation solutions. Reuters reports that in 2021, North American companies invested over $2 billion in robotic manufacturing solutions, a 28% increase from the previous year. This increase can be credited to the many benefits that robotic automation provides, such as process optimization and increased supply line resilience.

    While there is currently a record demand for products, supply chain challenges are increasing production difficulties. Robots mitigate many of these issues for manufacturing companies, including a lack of labor resources. Robotic automation can be applied to any industry to eliminate errors caused by highly repetitive work, as well as improve safety, increase throughput speed, and improve processes. Overall, industrial robots have helped manufacturing companies in four key ways:

    • Increasing manufacturing company resilience
    • Optimizing processes to increase efficiency
    • Help manufacturing companies keep up with record product demand despite supply chain challenges
    • Alleviate strain on manufacturing companies due to labor shortages, as robots can fill positions that are challenging for human workers to fill

    Manufacturers are seeing the undeniable benefits of robotic automation, and experts predict an increase in robots in the workplace. This is currently being seen across many industries. For example, while the automotive industry has historically been the largest user of robotics, the electronics industry is currently the world leader in robotics acquisition, with more industries following suit. 

    Industrial Automation Doesn’t Eliminate Jobs or Hinder Job Growth

    A commonly expressed fear of industrial automation is that it would eliminate jobs. However, in actuality, these advancements are creating new types of jobs. The World Economic Forum projected that by 2022, automation would be responsible for 133 million new jobs despite a 75 million loss. This can be seen historically as well, when the invention of computers displaced secretaries and typists but created a demand for IT professionals and technicians.

    Robots are often involved in misconceptions about automation; however, the facts show that robots actually create significantly more jobs than they displace. Robotics upskill workers, allowing them to obtain additional capabilities in automation. The reliable productivity robotic solutions provide has even enabled many manufacturers to expand and hire more workers.  

    How to Upskill Workers

    A barrier to adopting industrial automation solutions is that workers might not have the necessary skillset. This is where an automation integrator can help. An integrator incorporates a robot into a manufacturing environment and ensures workers understand how to operate it. Automation integrators, such as AMD, provide a manufacturer with all the tools they need to be successful and self-sufficient. This can involve training the manufacturer on operating automated equipment, being available to provide tech support, and more. 

    Industrial Automation Costs

    While automation systems might seem prohibitively costly upfront, particularly to small or mid-sized manufacturers, the undeniable ROI they provide ensures they quickly pay for themselves. Some of the most significant financial benefits of automation systems include:

    • Improved product quality
    • Increased production capacity
    • Improved efficiency
    • Safer working conditions

    When considered in the long term, adopting automation solutions can significantly improve the financial success of businesses of all sizes.

    AMD is Helping American Manufacturers, Like You

    While in the past there have been numerous misconceptions about the effects of automated manufacturing solutions, this technology is rapidly being adopted by a range of industries, with demonstrated positive results. AMD helps manufacturers of all sizes successfully automate their facilities and become self-sufficient. We work closely with our customers to craft solutions that meet their every need and goal. 

    At AMD, we use CNC machining to produce our automation system parts in-house, delivering high-quality solutions every time. Some of the industries we help automate include automotive, appliances, consumer goods, and much more. To learn more about the solutions we offer, contact us. You can get started on a personalized system today by requesting a quote.

  7. What Is Supply Chain Resilience?

    1 Comment

    The COVID-19 pandemic was an eye-opener for many businesses, revealing their supply chains’ limits and vulnerabilities. Supply chain resilience is the capacity of a supply chain to adapt to unforeseen events. Companies with resilient supply chains not only have the capability to adjust rapidly and continue operations in the face of supply chain challenges, but they are proactive, remaining vigilant and utilizing real-time data to look for potential disruptions or changes to demand and make quick, informed business decisions. 

    Optimal supply chain resilience means planning ahead and preparing for breaks in the supply chain, enabling organizations to return more quickly to normal production. Read on to learn more about supply chain resilience, how you can strengthen your supply chain for reliable production, and the benefits of working with local partners.

    How to Improve Your Supply Chain

    Any number of factors can cause your supply chain to break down. In addition to epidemics, some supply chain disruption examples include:

    • Extreme weather conditions or geological disasters
    • War and incursions
    • Cyber attacks
    • Labor shortages or disputes
    • Transportation or gas shortages
    • Component shortages

    Given the rise in global sourcing and manufacturing, keep in mind that another country’s circumstances can greatly impact your business in the U.S.

    One of the most crucial components of supply chain resilience is contingency planning or preparing to the best of your ability for disruptions. However, merely coming up with a strategy isn’t enough. You must enact your plan and ensure that you review your networks and inventory regularly. This update exercise should entail a business study of your most important suppliers based on SKUs. 

    Evaluate your relationships with all of your present suppliers, and then develop a list of viable alternates, giving you an actionable risk management strategy outlining what to do to maintain production if any of those linkages fail. These alternatives may include public and private entities, comparing and diversifying your procurement options to consider domestic, near-shore, and offshore sources. Ultimately, being able to detect and quickly react to supply chain changes requires data-driven, end-to-end supply chain management.

    Building a Resilient Supply Chain

    While it isn’t possible to account for every ‌situation, supply chain mapping allows you to prepare for the most likely scenarios and determine their potential impacts on your business. It may take a lot of work to break down a distribution network and track key suppliers, but when (not if) there is an interruption, the preparation will save you from downtime and lost revenue.

    Creating a supply chain map can be as easy as downloading a free template, or you can utilize computer software programs to examine links in your supply chain. This will require you to not only understand your tier 1 and 2 suppliers and manufacturers, but also to question and research where those businesses source their own products and materials to determine their infrastructure systems.

    Mapping is only the first step, however. There are five basic steps to achieving supply chain resilience, and the remaining four are:

    • Initial assessment. Once you have completed your research, truly analyze the capacities and capabilities of the businesses in your supply chain through open-source data to pinpoint possible weaknesses.
    • Outreach. This stage involves meeting with specific stakeholders and evaluating the results from steps 1 and 2, building cooperative partnerships to improve supply chain resilience and transparency.
    • Plan development and implementation. At this stage, you’ll create an actionable plan based on supply chain logistics and other information you’ve gathered and utilize preparedness activities to implement it. Then, in a crisis, you are ready to put your strategy into practice.
    • Plan review and revisions. This step is ongoing, requiring you to update and review supply chain data over time, make necessary revisions to the analysis, and keep stakeholders involved for continued supply chain resilience.

    AMD: A Reliable Resource in Your Industry Supply Chain

    Advanced Manufacturing Development, Inc. focuses on self-sufficiency, stability, and supply chain resilience. Our company experienced vertical growth when we started doing our own CNC machining rather than relying on outside vendors to supply components for our industrial automation solutions. We use our technical expertise to design and create products based on your requirements and industrial standards as the sector continues to experience a need for the rapid manufacture of innovative, complex parts.

    Using a local supplier for your machinery and assembly line needs offers you several advantages, such as minimal risk for supply chain interruptions, increased service options, a more extensive inventory, and economical pricing while maintaining a high degree of quality. AMD offers products and services like robotic cells, assembly line and custom automation equipment, test systems, welding, leak detection, branding, and traceability to support local businesses and improve operations.

    If your existing supplier cannot meet your demand or quality criteria for services or machinery, let AMD customize a manufacturing solution for your business. Contact us for more information or request a quote today.

  8. Why Robotic Cells Are the Future of Manufacturing

    1 Comment

    robotic cellsA robotic cell, also known as a robotized cell, is a group of machines set within an automatic work cell. The primary purpose of robotic cells is to maximize, accelerate, and simplify the production process so that it attains a high level of repeatability and quality. 

    Unlike human workers or traditional machines, robotic cells are autonomous and can consistently perform complex tasks over night, weekend, and holiday shifts without the presence of a controller. Examples of tasks include detecting leakage, assembly, welding, testing, and transferring products to their next station. The lack of human intervention streamlines production efficiency. Read on to learn why robotic cells are the future of manufacturing.

    Assembly Line Efficiency: Traditional Manufacturing vs. Robotic Cells

    Early automobile manufacturers such as Ford used a classic assembly line to manufacture cars. Traditional manufacturing comprised several steps performed by different workers to come up with a single product. The end products were often large and complex, but despite their complexity, they were all identical. The process relied on balanced timing from station to station, but relying on human workers led to increased wait times as workers down the line waited for their colleagues in previous stations to finish their part. This waiting resulted in labor-intensive, inefficient production.

    As technology has advanced and demand for product variation increased, manufacturers have attempted to adapt their assembly lines. To accommodate differences between products, some products need more time to manufacture than others. However, this leads to decreased productivity and increased waiting time. Manufacturers—and their customers—require a more innovative solution.

    Automated manufacturing is increasingly replacing traditional manufacturing. An automated assembly system still utilizes the sequential process of classic manufacturing, but automated lines have more machines and fewer human workers. This feature has greatly reduced human error, added the capability of accommodating product variation, lowered long-term production costs, and made the workplace safer.

    Robotic cells can be used to handle different tasks, such as:

    • Pick and place
    • Deburring
    • Sorting
    • Assembly
    • CNC machine tending
    • Painting
    • Finishing and polishing
    • Welding 

    Robotic Cells Have a Fast ROI

    Although robotic cells require a significant initial cost, they offer a quick return on investment, which is a key factor when working on a tight budget. Companies can receive a full ROI within as little as a year when working with robotic cells. The cost of hiring and retaining employees to work on different parts of the manufacturing process can accrue over the years. Robotic cells significantly lower the cost of human labor, leading to increased productivity and profits. Instead, companies can hire human employees for more complex and fulfilling roles, such as engineering and programming.

    Enhanced Safety in a Robotic Cell

    Another great advantage of robotic cells is the safety aspect. Robotic cells have scanners, fencing, emergency stops, light curtains, and additional safeguards to ensure employee safety while working close to these machines. Robotic cells can also easily handle tasks that would otherwise be high-risk to workers, such as processes that use toxic chemicals, sharp objects, and heavy machinery.

    Flexibility of Robotic Cells

    Today, customers want to have personalized products. For example, when you buy a car you want to be able to choose the exterior and interior colors, sound system, etc. Conversely, traditional fixed automation is not flexible enough to handle personalized production. Robotic cells, however, offer much more flexibility when it comes to personalizing the product to a customer’s liking as well as all the benefits mentioned above. The robot’s inherent flexibility in handling a wide variety of products is also very convenient when many variations need to be handled by the same assembly line. 

    Needless to say, new manufacturing technologies are programmable to fit the expertise or the needs of your personnel and assembly line.

    Your Partner for Your Robotic Work Cell Needs

    The advantages of robotic cells far outweigh those of traditional manufacturing. At AMD, we are experts in designing and manufacturing custom robotic cells for different applications based on our customers’ unique needs. If a robotic work cell doesn’t fit your process, AMD provides manual, semi-automated, and fully-automated machines. With the help of our experienced team of robotic specialists, you can select the solution that works best for you. Contact us today or request a quote to get started on your solution.

  9. What Is CNC Machining?

    1 Comment

    Computer numerical control (CNC) machining is a popular manufacturing method that utilizes programmable software dictating the movement of tools or workpieces. Depending on the specific technique, CNC machining can utilize mills, grinders, lathes, drills, routers, and more.

    Learn more about the features, benefits, and applications of CNC machines.

    What Is a CNC Machine?

    vertical CNC machineA CNC machine allows operators to create components that would be very difficult or impossible to produce manually. Every machine is made of three basic parts: a command center, a drive system, and a feedback system. CNC technology can use a set of computer prompts to create complex 3D shapes out of metal, plastics, or wood.

    CNC machining removes material from a stock workpiece through a series of processes including milling, drilling, turning, and other operations. These tasks ultimately create the shapes and features of the finished product.

    Benefits of CNC Machining

    CNC machining comes with a variety of benefits:

    • Versatile capabilities: Utilizing advanced design software, CNC machines create components that cannot be replicated with manual machines. CNC machines can produce nearly any size, shape, or texture required. There are also certain machines that come with automatic tool changers or touch screens that further simplify production capabilities.
    • Less labor: CNC machines only require a single programmer, who can upload the required designs to multiple machines. One operator can oversee each of these machines simultaneously. Manual methods require one skilled operator per machine, plus a supervisor for the team. Lower labor costs mean you can better optimize your workflow and focus more on your customers.
    • High production: Design specifications and programming only need to be entered once, and the CNC machine can produce high quantities of goods. High production rates allow you to scale your business more efficiently.
    • High precision: CNC machines produce consistent precision. Their computerized nature allows them to eliminate the risk of human error and achieve tolerances as tight as +/- 0.001 inch.
    • Reliability: CNC machines can work all day, every day, including weekends and holidays. The only downtime necessary is for maintenance or repair.
    • Design repeatability: After the initial set of specifications has been entered and the ideal prototype created, the CNC program can repeatedly retrieve the same design and create the product again. This master file will be accessible from that point on, regardless of operator changes or other external factors.
    • Uniformity: With conventional machining, even the most capable engineers will produce slightly varying components. CNC machining produces parts exactly alike every time.
    • Cost savings: The combination of specialization, precision, and speed equals significant savings for your company. The lower costs can be returned to the company to build your competitive advantage.
    • Higher safety: CNC machines are far safer than conventional machines, where human workers are close to sharp cutting tools and other moving parts. CNC machining enables them to keep a safe distance from the production process.
    • Low maintenance: G-code CNC software automatically updates itself as needed. CNC machines typically don’t require much more maintenance than regularly changing cutting instruments and doing some light cleaning. These maintenance services can be performed by the operator—no need for outside professionals.

    Industrial Uses of CNC Machining

    CNC machines are useful for producing parts for many sectors, including:

    • Aerospace
    • Agriculture
    • Dental
    • Publishing
    • Automotive
    • Military
    • Construction
    • Electronics
    • Metalworking
    • Firearms
    • Hospitality
    • Manufacturing
    • Production
    • Transportation

    CNC Machining Services from AMD

    Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) has been in the part machining industry for 25 years. We manufacture around 95% of the machined parts we use, and every part goes through a quality control process that ensures proper tolerances and high quality. Our machining facility houses over 20 CNC machines, specializing in medium-sized components (64” x 32” x 30”). Our lead time is generally five to 10 days.

    To get started on your custom CNC machining project, please request a quote today.

  10. New CNC Machining Services from AMD

    1 Comment

    CNC Machining ServicesIn Advanced Manufacturing Development over the last 25 years, we have learned about the importance of part machining. In our experience building assembly lines for the automation industry, precision, quality, and timing of the machined components are all critical factors when creating a machine. A single mistake can delay the completion of the project or create hidden problems that endanger production months down the road.

    Machining Solutions from AMD

    For this reason, Advanced Manufacturing Development decided to create a best-in-class in-house machining shop and quality department that manufactures more than 95% of every machined component we use. With time, our clients started approaching us looking for a reliable provider of machining services.

    In 2019, we started offering machining components to third parties independently from our automation division. Today, we run a competitive machining facility with over 20 CNC machines. We concentrate on the manufacturing of medium size pieces (dimensions up to 64” x 32” x 30”) with tolerances up to 0.001” and lead times as low as 5-10 days.

    CNC Machining Services CNC Machining Services

    Contact Advanced Manufacturing Development 

    As the industry continues to face demand for faster, smarter, and more complex parts, we are committed to applying our technical knowledge and project management skills to design based on your specifications and requirements. To request a quote for your project or learn more about the CNC services we offer, contact us today.


See How Automation Works With Our Interactive Assembly Line

Learn More