If you work with Kevlar, carbon fiber or other high performance reinforcement materials, you know what’s going on in the supply chain. Materials are more expensive and difficult to obtain that ever before. That requires fabricators to cut more accurately, efficiently and predictably than ever before. How well a fabricator manages its materials is key to how well it is able to serve its customers with the ability to consistently meet delivery due dates and at acceptable internal costs.
It’s a challenge that Gerber Technology, a Lectra company, has thought about a lot. In a recent whitepaper, Lectra spelled out the argument for automated cutting in today’s supply-challenged environment. Here’s more on their case.
The Need for Automation
The naturally occurring complexity of operations for most any industry hinges on efficient and timely logistics operations to ensure that the right materials are at the right place, at the right time; and that those products are delivered to the customer expeditiously. Staffing shortages have contributed to severe shipping delays for raw materials and products in general, severely impacting manufacturing and production efforts worldwide. Not having the materials needed, rising costs and poor material usage can be disastrous for a fabricator, so it is important to mitigate these effects whenever possible.
Much is out of a fabricator’s control, but the part that can be managed is the processing and forecasting of materials within an organization. That forces fabricators to take a closer look at their processes in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasted materials. And that’s what has led many to switch from manual to automated cutting processes.
Automation allows a business to focus, not on what is out of their control, but instead on the optimization of what is within their control. They can identify many small things that can improve or speed up their own processes. While one small issue may not make a large dent in profit margins, the accumulation of many small issues being optimized can pay off in dividends.