It has been estimated that almost two thirds of companies around the world will adopt robotics and automatic systems (RAS) by 2025. With the ability to analyze, manipulate and interact with the surrounding physical environment, automated technology could have a significant and positive effect on global Sustainable Development Goals, a blueprint for a better future for all. One of the seventeen goals set out by the UN in 2015 is responsible consumption and production, and greater automation the manufacturing industry could help to attain this goal by separating economic growth from the misuse of natural resources.
This leads to benefits for companies in the form of reduced waste, lowered costs and improved efficiency. Other automated technology in the form of digital tools and platforms simplifies the supply chain from sourcing to final billing and, as well as improving the performance of production lines, advanced technology is helping more companies to prioritize recycling goals in order to limit their use of harmful packaging and reduce their overall carbon footprint.
Automation Improves the Efficiency and Sustainability of Production Lines
From transferring products between workstations to the final infeed to a palletizer, automation can enhance all stages of production in the manufacturing industry. Conveyors and other automated machinery eliminate time-consuming and labor-intensive jobs, increase productivity and lower production costs. As well as physical mechanical equipment, all automated production systems depend on reliable and up to date software in order to run efficiently. The accelerated development of digital technology together with advances in connectivity has led to more companies being in a position to implement more automation into their manufacturing processes.
In addition, by creating a robust digital thread, companies can seamlessly connect their equipment and manufacturing processes with other stages of a product’s lifecycle. This allows for prompt identification of any issues and the synchronization of different production elements, leading to minimal waste and further increased efficiency.
Advanced Recycling Technologies Help Companies to Meet Packaging Goals
As well as implementing automated production lines to increase efficiency, manufacturers are also focusing on reducing their overall carbon footprint through the increased use of recyclable packaging. This is especially true of food producers, who commonly use single use plastics, viewed as one of the most damaging types of packaging. Several large companies have set ambitious targets to only use 100% recyclable or reusable packaging within the next three years. To achieve these goals, a number of innovative packaging alternatives have been introduced including bottles manufactured from wood pulp and ring carriers made of cardboard. Greater investment in technology has also allowed for the development of more modernized and advanced recycling processes, allowing businesses to drastically reduce the use of new and non-reusable plastic in food production.
An increasing number of manufacturing companies are implementing advanced technology to replace labor-intensive processes, lower costs and boost productivity. In addition to allowing for greater efficiency, automated systems together with a robust digital thread can help to reduce waste, enhance recycling and increase overall sustainability.