“It’s pretty simple to purchase and assemble all the different pneumatic components on our equipment,” or “we’ve always done it this way,” or “I need to keep our people busy.” These are some of the thoughts from equipment builders on designing, sourcing and assembling all their pneumatic panels in-house. However, there is another train of thought which is almost a 180-degree difference…This is the idea that by outsourcing the design, sourcing and assembly activities surrounding pneumatic panels, the company can actually save money and time! Here are some considerations on why you would choose a partner to help with delivery of high-quality pneumatic panel solutions.
Design Project Overload
Many companies design engineers are perpetually swamped and overloaded with project work, maintaining existing designs, and other internal tasks. Other companies struggle to hire and retain talented design engineers. So, under either of these circumstances, why keep more simple design tasks internal? By partnering with a company that has internal resources and expertise in pneumatic components, valuable time can be spared for design engineers to concentrate on higher-value and more difficult project design tasks.
Most pneumatic panel designs involve dozens of part numbers to purchase, receive, inventory, and pick from inventory into job carts or for assembly. For most companies, this can add up to thousands of transactions for your purchasing and shipping/receiving departments. Even with the best of efforts and attention to detail, humans make mistakes and a higher number of transactions means a higher possibility for mistakes, which in the end can affect your customer’s satisfaction. Rather than taxing your purchasing and shipping/receiving staff with a high number of small, simple transactions, outsourcing your pneumatic control panels will consolidate numerous part numbers into a single part number and significantly reduce the number of transactions. With the right partner and considering blanket orders (frame agreements), partners will even inventory finished panels and ship the appropriate quantity to you on-time. This can significantly reduce or eliminate inventory for those part numbers and save significant time for your purchasing and shipping/receiving departments.
Skilled Assembly Labor Shortage
Across the United States, there is a shortage of skilled assembly technician labor. There are many reasons for this issue, yet the problem of hiring and retaining qualified staff still remains critical for most companies. Due to this shortage, the cost continues to rise for companies to operate with large assembly workforces. Additionally, the variation and relatively low volume of pneumatic panels makes most of the tasks difficult to automate with robotics or other methods. By partnering with an automation distributor who is familiar with the assembly of the components, many of these issues are avoided and a company can concentrate on other human resource issues. Furthermore, the right partner is actively working with its manufacturing partners/vendors on efficiency ideas with panel builds such as tubing kits and assemblies, pre-cut or drilled components, and many other continuous improvement ideas to continue to take labor out of pneumatic panel builds.
Quality & Warranty Issues
The potential for quality issues is extremely high for most companies attempting to design, build and manage their electrical and pneumatic panels in-house. By partnering with a company that specializes in control panel production, the accountability for quality and warranty issues shifts to the partner supplier. When quality issues arise, the partner company has the appropriate staff to quickly test, de-bug, and fix the control panel. Additionally, if there is a stocking agreement in place, replacement panels can be shipped immediately to wherever they are required, getting machinery up and running quickly. So, by working with a partner, the responsibility of quality and warranty of components shifts from yourself to the partner.
Companies often only purchase the quantities necessary to meet their own production schedules. Depending on the volume, this may leave a lot of money on the table that could be saved by working with a partner who serves multiple customers and can combine volumes to lower component costs through quantity discounts and rebates. A percentage of these savings are typically passed on to the customer and are reflected in reduced overall costs.
Mechatronic Solutions provides high quality automation technology products, solutions, and services to companies across nearly all industries in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We are a leader in the production of pneumatic control panels, utilizing components from our industry leading partners, Festo and Fabco-Air. If you’re interested in learning more or would like to request a quote, contact us today!