How to find automation solutions with help from MTC and HowToRobot

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How to find automation solutions with help from MTC and HowToRobot

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Editorial team
Manufacturers in the UK can get independent assistance with finding automation solutions to the labour shortages from HowToRobot and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).

Automation is fast becoming a necessity for manufacturers in the UK. To help businesses with getting started and finding automation solutions, the MTC and HowToRobot recently partnered up, providing independent assistance. The helping hand comes at an opportune moment, says Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer at the MTC:

“It’s a good time to automate now. With the labour shortages facing the industry, manufacturers need to maximize the output and productivity of the labour they’ve got and use robot automation to perform tasks that aren’t adding any value to the product,” he says.

The partnership helps any business in the UK get the support they need to find a suitable automation solution to their challenges. It’s just a matter of getting started, he says:

“Today, most automation systems are simpler and less expensive than most people perceive them to be. Therefore, almost every business is ready to look at automation solutions,” Mike Wilson says, adding:

“The best way to start is to engage with external experts that can give you independent advice.”

Getting started is simple

It is easy and without cost to get started according to Mike Wilson. It simply involves using HowToRobot’s marketplace to post a project and wait for suppliers to provide tailored solution proposals.

“If you have an idea about what you want to automate, you can get started very easily just by making a video of the current manual operation and placing it on HowToRobot’s platform and seeing what responses you get from suppliers,” he says.

While most tasks can be automated in theory, he recommends considering where to start:

“A frequent mistake is to start automating one of the more complex jobs within the factory. What we’d always recommend is that businesses automate something relatively simple to start with”.

Help to discover the cost and complexity of automation solutions

Posting the project on HowToRobot’s platform can indicate both the price and complexity of the solutions. It is free of charge and provides full anonymity to businesses looking for automation, saving them time and effort in finding an adequate solution.

“HowToRobot can provide easy access to pricing and quotations for standard-type solutions, i.e., things that have already been done. The pricing will indicate whether it’s a proven application or not,” says Mike Wilson.

With more than 16,000 suppliers worldwide on HowToRobot’s platform, there are plenty of solutions within reach. And in cases where no proven solutions exist, the MTC can step in to provide further guidance.

“If you need more detail and assistance on something that is not as obvious or needs some preparation work, the MTC can help provide that and prepare you to the point where you have proven specifications that can be put onto the HowToRobot platform to get some prices,” Mike Wilson says.

MTC’s assistance comes at an added cost. However, as these fees can be subsidised for small and medium-sized enterprises, “it’s very inexpensive compared to the risk you’re avoiding”, he adds.

“The MTC and HowToRobot are completely technology and vendor agnostic. What you get is an honest answer to any question you might have,” he says and concludes:

“We can help you avoid the common mistakes to ensure you’re automating the right application, and talking with the right kinds of suppliers that have the experience that’s needed to deliver an appropriate solution.”

How to get started with finding automation solutions

There are no costs involved for end-users in posting an automation project on HowToRobot’s platform and getting responses from suppliers. Also, full anonymity is guaranteed. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to HowToRobot’s platform and start a request for a robotic solution.
  2. Share a few details about the project and upload photos/videos (optional) of the task to be automated.
  3. HowToRobot will provide free personal guidance to help you finalize the request.
  4. Receive custom offers from vetted suppliers, engage in dialogue, and find the best-fit solution.

The MTC can provide additional assistance with preparation work, creating market-ready specifications, or entering into development projects in cases where no proven solutions exist.