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Increasing productivity by using standard components

Standard components present an untapped potential to manufacturers in increasing productivity and profitability, making up for deficits – such as labour shortages – in the industry as a whole

Labour shortages and changes brought on by recent global events have greatly affected the productivity of the manufacturing industry. Despite these issues not having a simple remedy, the demands of merchants and the expectations of manufacturers themselves remain as high as ever. Therefore, manufacturers are looking to optimise every possible aspect of their manufacturing processes to make up for deficits in the industry as a whole. Marcus Schneck explores how standard components present an untapped potential to manufacturers in increasing productivity and, in turn, profitability

Despite constant advancements in technology and analysis tools, manufacturers are still looking to increase productivity and better serve their customers. This, in addition to an ever-problematic labour shortage, means that manufacturers are looking to make up lost margins through the technology that they employ.

Considering this, it is remarkable how the possibilities for utilising standard components to boost the productivity of individual manufacturing processes have largely been overlooked.

Increasing productivity with special machinery

There are many manufacturing and engineering processes where standard components can be installed to increase productivity; and in turn profitability. One area where the implementation of standard components can be of particular benefit is in the design and construction of ‘special machines’, which are individual machines designed to facilitate specific operations. This is because the number of these machines that will be made is quite small compared to the amount of resources required to produce them.

Depending on the processes that these machines will be facilitating, they will require input from individuals across multiple disciplines. In addition to the manufacturing, mechanical assembly, and other processes required, the process of conception to completion for these machines can be lengthy. Therefore, anything we can do to speed up the process will increase profitability long term.

This is just one example where simply using CAD data of standard components in the design phase can increase productivity. Using existing CAD data can save a lot of time, provided that engineers and manufacturers select the most appropriate components for their projects.

Selecting the right materials for you

The availability of a wide range of standard components holds immense importance when increasing productivity is the goal. However, there are several factors that manufacturers need to consider when it comes to finding the right product for the respective application. Whilst the price is going to be a primary consideration for many, the material, operating temperature, and weight of the components should all be taken into consideration too. This is one such area where norelem, who provides CAD data and product information for all of their components, can benefit installers.

The relevance of certain factors will vary depending on the industry sector and application that the standard components are being specified for. For example, when specifying components for use outside, manufacturers should opt for stainless steel components. Their high corrosion resistance makes them ideal for outside use as they can withstand the fluctuations in moisture and temperature brought on by the day and night cycle. Similarly, when specifying products for use in chemical or food processing areas, norelem’s hygienic DESIGN products are of particular benefit. The products within the Hygienic DESIGN range have an optimised surface, ideal for coming into contact with food and chemicals, and are particularly easy to clean. Although these products do come with a slightly higher price tag, the optimised design and polished surface save on time and labour costs in the long term due to the cleaning and maintenance between individual stages of production being much easier.

Additionally, plastics play a crucial role in various manufacturing applications, however, their unique properties greatly influence their performance. One significant aspect is the distinction between thermoplastics and thermoset plastics. While they share certain characteristics, their behaviour during the chemical curing process creates some important differences. Thermoset plastics form robust chemical bonds, resulting in a smoother surface. This characteristic makes them highly desirable for cleaning purposes, often finding use in scales, and cutting machines in butchers’ shops, where hygiene is paramount. This makes them an excellent choice for food manufacturing environments. In contrast, thermoplastics lack these chemical bonds, resulting in a slightly rougher surface

Some other examples include ceramic products, which have a lower wear rate than most materials, making them suitable to use in repetitive functions where durability is key. Equally, pneumatic clamping elements, which work automatically, alleviate a portion of labour costs, and provide efficient and reliable clamping functionality, offering a practical solution in various industries.

Being familiar with these characteristics allows manufacturers to make more informed decisions and optimally select the best standard components for increasing the productivity of specific applications.

Other services enabling increased productivity

Standard components are just one service offered by norelem that can be used to increase productivity. Additionally, norelem provide all of their CAD data free of charge, an online order and delivery service, which means that all components can be obtained from a single source; and short delivery times, with 98% of all products being in stock at all times. On top of this, norelem are well equipped to offer technical advice to help guide manufacturers in selecting the most suitable products for any application. Moreover, for customers with very specific requests or requirements, customised ‘precision component’ solutions can be organised.

Standard components are one such method that manufacturers can use to increase the productivity of their production processes. However, in order to effectively capitalise on such an opportunity, it requires a strong understanding of the specific benefits that each component can offer. This is where working alongside a manufacturer who can provide detailed technical support is of benefit. As an industry leading supplier of standard components, norelem can liaise with manufacturers to ensure that the standard components specified are best suited to increasing productivity and profitability for each individual situation.

Marcus Schneck is CEO of norelem.

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