You can scale up manufacturing in one of two ways. You can automate manufacturing, or you can manually assemble parts. With automation you have a manufacturing technique with very little touch by human hands. The reality of automation is that it often takes a lot of investment and process optimization. The automation of a manufacturing process is not one where you buy a machine and turn it on and walk away, it is one where you may buy a machine or have one custom built, you will turn it on it may work somewhat in the way you hoped and may produce you parts somewhere near the tolerances you were hoping for. The automation will hopefully run in a constant fashion without drifting and hopefully the machine doesn’t jam and require constant shutting down, adjusting and restarting.
The reality with any automated process is that there is probably a small army of people keeping the machine running the way it was hoped.
The manual method of manufacturing is that parts are assembled and tested by people using jigs.
Whether you automate manufacturing, or you manually assemble depends on where you are in your volume requirements.
If you need just a few pieces then you definitely need to manually assemble, but if you need millions of pieces you need to automate.
At ZP we take a pragmatic view on manufacturing and we use the correct manufacturing at the correct time, and of course we will use a hybrid approach where we will use 100 % automation for some part so manufacturing but other pats, we may have 100 % manual effort. The reality of most automated manufacturing is that there are people involved, with machines doing what machines are good at and people doing what people are good at.
In biosensor manufacturing the processes that are ‘fairly’ easy to automate are: screen-printing, vapour deposition, ink jetting, die cutting, scribing, laser cutting, pressing, curing, spraying, picking and placing. The processes that machines are not so good at are aligning, visual inspection, though some reader of this article may disagree, and so we could soften this statement by saying whether machines are good at aligning and visual inspection depends on the circumstances.
If you are looking for a contract manufacturer of your biosensor parts, please don’t hesitate to contact ZP