The word “efficiency” is mostly associated to “saving”. Even if the link between the two is real, because a saving - be it a material, energy, time or fatigue saving – is very often the result of being efficient, they are two very distinct factors.
Making a system, a production line, a process or just a single machine efficient means being able to make the most of what is available, its features and resources, elements that must work together to give the best possible result on the basis of the goals to be achieved. All this, paying attention to reduce waste.
The heart of machine: the work area
The possibility to customize a machine based on the specific operative needs of the company that will use it becomes an important thing to improve its production efficiency and, thus, it's competitive ability. Talking specifically of metal sheet working machines, such as industrial presses, the work area is an important element. From this station, machine operations are managed and production flow is set: for this, it is essential trying to ensure the best man-machine interaction, from which a relevant part of the final quality of what is produced depends.
Comfort during the working stages and ergonomics of the station are the first two elements one thinks to: they are surely important, but not the only ones to be considered; the following factors are determinant as well:
- the adaptability of the work area, that allows to safely manage all the processing stages and to smartly pass to different tasks, ensuring in this way the production of different lots - also small ones - minimizing times;
- the custom setting of the station for an ideal access to tools;
- machine layout, so as to adapt it to the space in which it will be placed;
- safety, strictly respecting the relative current legislation.
The cornerstones of efficiency
In general, in the search for efficiency both generic elements, that is common measures that can be applied to any working condition, and specific factors based on the specificity of any single production or production exigency intervene; so they can differ depending on the situation, even when they interests the same type of machine.
In this way, the search for efficiency becomes a real company strategic process that pivots on some fundamental factors (besides what has just been considered):
1 - collaboration supplier-user. Being able to understand and interpret a company necessity becomes the pass for new market shares. Starting from the design stage - just think of what has been already said about work area - the comparison with the customer allows to realize custom solutions, able to make a unique product from a standard one and to indulge the user company needs.
2 - the ability to look at the market, to understand its trends and, if possible, to anticipate them paying attention to innovation. Projecting solutions that can ensure high performances, energy and resources saving and a reduced environmental impact is part of this ability.
3 - relying on expert and certified suppliers. Choosing the right partner determines the final quality of the machine, in terms of material quality, speed in the answer and respect of delivery times, that need to be quicker and quicker.
4 - providing structured pre and after-sales able to respond to its customer needs, possibly by offering custom solutions. From planning consultancy to supply of spare parts, from assistance to maintenance, the service offered - on the ground or remote - needs to be professional, precise and prompt.
5 - investing in a continuous R&D (Research and Development) that focuses on the most innovative materials, components and technologies.
Facts show that this approach is a valid one: the company that could develop flexibility in the management and realization of their machines have been able not only to keep, but also to increase their market shares, even during the long years of economical crisis.
Basically, becoming efficient to ensure in turn solutions that make efficient the production process of customer companies.