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7 Benefits of Automation for Small and Medium Sized Businesses

Article written by Avory Brookins, Technical Content Write for Smart Factory Institute Technology Parter, Igus. Igus develops products made of low-wear high-performance polymers that continue to bolster processes, improve technology, and reduce costs for manufacturers.

Photo: "NCATS Robots" by National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

Automating certain jobs can be expensive for small and medium-sized businesses. However, the benefits of automation make the investment worthwhile. Think about the return on investment (ROI) that could result from increased productivity, lower labor costs and reduced lead times. Plus, not every automation solution will cost you your first-born child these days. Cost-effective robots are available, allowing your company to operate more efficiently and compete with larger businesses.

Read on for seven reasons why you should automate now and to discover low-cost automation solutions that could help make it all possible.

1. Retain employees by eliminating boring tasks

Who actually wants to conduct inventory counts for a living? Or stick labels on boxes all day? Probably no one.That’s why these roles can be difficult to fill, and once they are, employees are more likely to pursue better, more fulfilling opportunities in the future (Source).

Using robots to perform mundane tasks could save your company the time and money associated with hiring new people, and that money could go toward the professional development of current employees who may need to take on higher-skilled jobs within your organization (Source).

2. Higher production rates & increased productivity

Robots can work all day, every day, without breaks. This increases your business’ production rates and frees up your time, allowing you and your employees to accomplish more important tasks in an average work day (Source).

3. Greater efficiency & reduced costs

Automation reduces or eliminates the time, effort and cost it takes to complete manual tasks successfully. It also eliminates errors, streamlines processes for better use of materials, reduces waste and ensures your company's best practices are always in effect (Source, Source).

4. Better product quality

Robots are less variable than humans, which means the quality of your products will remain consistent. This advantage “coupled with time and efficiency savings means that you can start developing higher quality and more feature-filled products with little or no increase in production time and costs” (Source). Photo, left: "making-wcb 18" by Windell Oskay, licensed under CC BY 2.0

5. Improved employee safety

Automation allows you to take human workers out of dangerous environments, such as warehouses that store hazardous materials, and place them into more complex roles that could increase the productivity of your business (Source).

6. Reduced product lead times

Automation helps fill orders quicker by eliminating unnecessary steps and improving the flow of information between different departments, including production, service, billing and collections (Source). Photo, right: "Madara Cosmetics ražotne" by Kārlis Dambrāns, licensed under CC BY 2.0

7. Faster ROI

If you’ve made it this far, it may already be obvious how you would expect to make your money back. Basically, robots help you accomplish more in less time with fewer resources (Source).

Low-cost Automation Solutions

Even though automation has the potential to greatly benefit your business, there’s still the initial investment that would leave anyone with sticker shock. According to this article, “an automated system can cost millions of dollars to design, fabricate, and install.”

Fortunately, igus® offers low-cost automation solutions that typically fall within anyone's capital expenditure.

We offer maintenance-free drylin® gantry (pictured left) and delta (pictured right) robots designed with self-lubricating, high-performance plastic components that slide instead of roll and require no external lubricants. Our delta robots start as low as $6,200, and our gantries cost about 40% less than traditional gantry robots.

Our modular robolink® robotic arms offer the same technical advantages as our gantries and deltas. Countless component combinations are available for robolink®, so you can design an individual solution that meets the needs of your business.

Accessories, such as stepper motors, inductive sensors and motor flanges, are available for each low-cost automation solution.

To learn more about low-cost automation solutions from igus®, visit our webpage or contact Kristen Crowell, our Low Cost Automation Specialist.


The Smart Factory Institute is gearing up for the Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo & Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association Excellence Luncheon on August 11th at the CONCLAVE in the PIE Center in Cleveland, TN.

Interested in exhibiting at this year's event? Exhibit your technology solutions to manufacturers looking to improve their operations. Check out our booth options and reserve yours today!

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