Custom Built Machine Set for Travel

Custom Built Machine - Set To Sail

Can we make it all fit?  That was the big question of the moment when that "little" shipping container arrived.  The truck driver was worried, yet trusting the CAD models, we fired up the forklift and set about carefully jamming it all in.  This custom built machine is setting off on its journey over land, then sea, to finally reach its new home.  We will see it again in a few weeks when we go to install it.

Packing a Custom Built MachineBecause the work we do often intermingles confidentiality, we won't talk about what it does, but these photos do show pieces of the machine loading for travel.  It is a big project over many months to bring new automation in a factory that normally does things by hand.

Setting the Future with a Custom Built Machine

I am often asked about designing for automation:  "Does that take away jobs?"  That is a good question, and in the short view I completely understand the concern, but setting your vision a little longer, changes the story.  We will look deeper at this question below, using this custom built machine as an example.

All industries are a little different.  Some actively seek and accept technology - like the bicycle industry.  Other industries are firm in their ways and quite resistant to change.  This industry is in the middle.  While the end user side offers new product frequently, the processing side still does things the way it has for 50 years.  It is certainly an interesting mix.

The owner of this company plans to change that, while gaining a competitive advantage.  This is an example of innovation as a business solution.

This custom built machine is a big step to changing the processing side.  It will make a big difference in reducing mistakes, minimizing scrap and increasing productivity.  All good things in an industry pressured with cost reduction and delivery deadlines.

Does It Take Jobs Away?

In the very limited view of the task it does, this machine allows one person to accomplish the work of several.  So, in from that perspective, one could argue that it does displace jobs.

Fitting the Machine for TravelWidening our view just a little, the machine reduces mistakes - so it makes less trash for our environment.  It also frees up manpower to accomplish some of the other tasks required in the industry.  By reducing scrap, it allows the company to increase productivity.

With a more efficient back end, the company can expand to take on more work and employ even more people.  Of course, the effect is not immediate, but greater efficiency almost always leads to more and better jobs.  The machine does the drudgery work allowing employees to do the more pleasant things.

So, back to the original question - "Does It Take Jobs Away?"  The answer is No.  The opposite is usually the long term effect.  A custom built machine to automate chores will improve quality, increase efficiency, enhance safety, and therefor help create more jobs.  This is a win-win all around.

We Will See It Again Soon

The CAD models are right.  All the pieces fit - though just fit - into the shipping container.  With all the dunnage in place to keep things from moving, the machine is now on the way, over land and sea, to its new destination.  We will travel there soon as well to meet the container again, unload it, and put the machine all back together.

The final engineering development will be on-site as we optimize function in the new environment.  We will adjust it to the requests of the customer, then train the workers for using the new equipment.  In the process, we will also make final adjustments and settle calibration.  Such is the life in engineering and building a new custom built machine.

Engineering On The Way

Custom Built Machine UPDATE:

The machine arrived in perfect order.  The shipping companies and the agents did a great job of bringing it in and taking care of it on the way.  Big thanks to all of them.

When we arrived on site the custom built machine sections were all out and set for us to get busy with the installation.  We brought with us the electronic brains and key control elements.  Installation was pretty quick, then setup and testing and training began.  We sure do love it when the plans all come together.

This custom machine is now running production and setting their company up for even greater success.

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