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Lights Out Manufacturing is the Future

Author: Jason Zenger
Published On: Apr 12, 2023 12:00:00 PM

MC 354 Blog Image

The manufacturing industry is moving at lightspeed. People want to bring jobs back to the US. They want to make their own parts and be in charge of their own supply chain. Titan Gilroy creates content to show people exactly how to automate.

He’s taught the principles of automation from day one. We can produce parts cheaper, faster, and of better quality, IF we take advantage of technology. If we understand programming, fixturing, and putting variables together we can take things to a high level. 

Lights out manufacturing allows you to be at home with your family while your machines run automatically. 

Addressing machinists’ biggest fear: Will robots replace machinists?

Many machinists are afraid that AI and robots will replace them. Titan emphasizes that at the end of the day, you can’t replace the human mind. And if you have a mindset for technology and lights-out manufacturing, you’ll understand that automation is THE best thing a shop can do. 

Titan believes that as we bring more jobs back to the US, there will be more shops with fewer team members. Instead of having 1,000 shops with 100 people, you’ll have 10,000 shops with 30. 

Those people will run robots and automation. Their time will be spent designing and strategizing. They’ll produce more and get paid more. You’ll run an army of robots and make good money for your family. 

The type of people you need to run lights-out manufacturing

You can have one million machinists, but their skill levels will be different based on how they comprehend all of the variables in machining—and their ability to fixture. Because at the end of the day, you fixture parts to a tombstone. 

It’s time to shift your mindset. Instead of running numerous tools for a part, you’re building a library of standard tools for standard materials and programming off that. You can schedule it. So every time you run those complex parts, you drop costs and build relationships with big companies.

When you can bring part costs down, they will never take that work away from you. That’s why you have to make sure your machine is equipped for a variety of jobs. 

How to mitigate the risks of lights-out manufacturing 

One of the hardest parts—and biggest downsides with lights-out manufacturing—is that something can go wrong in the middle of the night. How do you mitigate those risks?

Machines are sophisticated. You can use them to check the quality of parts to make sure they’re being manufactured correctly. It will ping your phone if there’s a problem.

Secondly, there are redundancies you can have in place. How many parts can you get with one tool? If one breaks and something goes wrong, you should have another machine programmed to complete the parts.

You can also set up cameras so you can see how your machines are operating any time you want, straight from your phone. You can press a button and they run all night while you’re at home. You don’t need the best machines with the latest technology to get to a lights-out state. Small mom and pops can do this too. 

The bottom line: If you don’t automate, you’ll get left behind

If you have your own product, you can dictate your price. But if you’re in a competitive market, or you’re an OEM that has to keep prices down, you have to embrace automation. If you don’t, you’ll get left behind. ZENGERS wasn’t the first to market with vending systems for parts. But I got behind it and now it's over 50% of our business. What if I hadn’t done that? We’d be out of business. 

So many companies are struggling because of supply chain issues. They want to bring work back to the US but they don’t know how. Everything Titan does is focused on solving people’s problems.

We are going into a recession. People are scared. What can you do right now to solve problems? Figure out a solution, automate the solution, and sell it to the customer. If you figure out how to solve customers’ problems, you’ll always have consistent work. If you solve customers’ problems, they will never leave you. If you solve customers’ problems, you’ll be successful

Learn more about lights out manufacturing and automation in episode #354 of the MakingChips podcast with special guest Titan Gilroy. 

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