Due to the specific requirements placed on automation solutions, many assembly processes are still carried out by hand. However, with the right expertise and systematic analysis of the individual processes, it is possible to quickly identify which of these processes are worth automating, from both a technological and financial perspective.
Fraunhofer IPA has developed the Automation Potential Analysis (APA) for this very purpose. Using a range of criteria, the automation experts examine the different assembly steps (separation, handling, positioning and joining) in terms of their “Fitness for Automation”, before weighting these various criteria according to customer requirements.
Based on the results of this analysis, recommendations are made on whether full/partial automation or a solution using human-robotic collaboration would be advantageous. Automation-friendly product design under the motto “Design for Automation” constitutes another possibility for increasing the efficiency of production processes. And if it turns out that (partial) automation is not worthwhile, the “Design for Automation” itself often improves manual assembly and reduces error.