Automation Concern Two – 'Automation is too expensive for us to contemplate.'

Author: Ian Greeves

To be fair, automating design and production is not, nor should it be a trivial investment, But think about this: if your investment reduced your design and manufacturing times by around 50%, what would it mean to your company? What about if that investment also means you deliver better products with less mistakes, minimising the need for revision? Wouldn’t the cost be recovered quickly because of the extra profit you would be making? Surely it’s an investment worth looking in to!

So what’s the next step? When selecting an electrical CAE solution, the best providers will take the time to understand your procedures, the systems you use, industry-related requirements and your pain points. From there, a discussion should be had on what issues you may face, and how bottlenecks can be eased or removed. Most frequent comments about pain points come down to the time spent on manual work. Some issues such as tedious wire numbering and time-consuming cable schedules can be solved with most CAE solutions. Whereas, other lengthy pains such as manually tagging PLC tags, manually sizing panels and last minute customer design changes require specialised CAE solutions with specific automation features. By using a well-chosen CAE package, panel builders can also benefit from an increase in productivity, shorter project turnaround times and improvements in product quality.    


What’s more, with repetitive data entry and manual data conversion no longer needed, the amount of errors and need for design checks is virtually eliminated. Instead of qualified Engineers redrawing and detailing, they can therefore do what they do best…engineering.

Not only does this remove mundane tasks, it empowers the engineer to design better systems, focus on further innovation and find the time for additional value-added projects.

And last but not least, continual data exchange increases project quality and accelerates the entire engineering process on a sustainable basis. 

“The biggest benefits of using the EPLAN products are faster, more accurate and more consistent designs. The software handles all of the routine and repetitive tasks - including the production of documentation - as well as speeding up the whole design process. This means that our engineers have more time to innovate and produce outstanding solutions
for our customers.”

Graeme Shields, Lead Electrical Engineer, Aggreko

Once your new system has been installed, setup and training has been delivered, the cost of investment is soon forgotten. This is because the results of increased quality and efficiency is evident. It’s worth noting that a great investment should not only provide you with initial efficiency but ongoing efficiency.


Good providers should also offer a choice of solutions depending on your desired upfront investment. If a large upfront investment is something you’d like to avoid at this time, subscription licenses could be the best option. These can be taken out of an operational budget as opposed to Capital Expenditure budget, therefore mitigating any risk of investment. Solutions should also be scalable, giving you the flexibility to evolve as your company and company needs grow.


"And, as an added benefit, EPLAN Software and Service are constantly evolving, which gives us the certainty that as our needs evolve, that EPLAN products will always evolve to meet them".

Min Dabasinskas, Senior Design Engineer, 81346 ELAB Ltd

Maybe the real question is not whether you can afford to invest in automation, but whether you can afford to take the chance of not investing and watching competitors who have grasped the nettle forge ahead. 


Why not download the free whitepaper ‘The Year of Automation?’ and discover more reasons why you should be automating your panel building, especially in uncertain times.

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