Whether the product being manufactured is a mobile phone or an aircraft seat, the assembly processes will likely require some combination of manual and automated transfer operations. A simple but effective way to determine if a transfer operation should be automated is to consider two factors: production volume and product life cycle. A product with low or uncertain production volume and a short life cycle is often better suited for a manual transfer operation. Conversely, a product with high, stable production volume and a long life cycle is a good candidate for an automated transfer system.
When the expected volume and product life cycle make automated transfer attractive—or even necessary—for an assembly operation, the work of choosing the right conveyor system begins. But before you start exploring conveying options and specifications, the first thing you should do is answer the following question: “What benefits do we expect to see by using an automated, conveyor-based transfer system for this process?”