Located rurally in Drangan, a small village in the south Tipperary countryside, Horan Automation and Consulting is an organisation that designs, programs and installs bespoke robots. These robots then carry out specific tasks as requested by each individual client. Automation is a growing industry and global spending on robotics is expected to reach approximately €59 billion by 2025. Horan Automation is a market leader in Ireland, as well as beginning to make an impact on the European market.
The tasks that tend to be automated are repetitive jobs which are lacking in ingenuity or creativity; contrary to the myth that robots and artificial intelligence will eventually take over all jobs. The fact is that automation has huge benefits for all parties involved, especially when it comes to health and safety. Emma Lacy, commercial director of Horan Automation highlights how health and safety issues drive automation in manufacturing; “The decision to automate for about 50 per cent of our customers is derived from health and safety issues. Either the product their operators are working with or the process of manufacturing is dangerous. The customer would rather automate these areas of production and re-deploy operators to less dangerous, less repetitive work.”
On average there is roughly €149.226 billion spent on illness or injury per year in the United States. Automation reduces this figure by a whopping 20-40 per cent. The return on investment through the automating of a production line is achieved in as little as two to four years. What’s more is Horan Automation provide the option of different payment plans for potential clients considering automation. There are many reasons why automation helps reduce workplace accidents within the workplace. Firstly, it reduces the risk of injury from physical strain and/or repetitive motions.
‘Repetitive Strain Injury’ is a common type of workplace accident claim in Ireland, it is defined as a pain which is felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement or overuse. It most commonly affects workers who carry out the same task for a number of hours each day and regularly arises in manufacturing processes involving the bulk production of goods. By automating these jobs both the health of employees and the amount spent on these injuries each year can be greatly reduced.
Automation offers benefits regarding the safe handling of liquids and chemicals, as well as reducing the risk of human error in mass production. When a job is repetitive or boring a worker can experience a lapse in concentration which can lead to mistakes or even put themselves in harm’s way. Horan Automation uses various types of machine systems to automate manufacturing lines. The company often uses industrial robots and is a Kuka robot partner.
Kuka robots eliminate this risk of human error as it can continue doing the same task 24/7 reaping a higher return in terms of speed and quality. Substantial savings are made running the robot over 3 shifts, helping lead to a quicker return on investment. Horan automation and consulting provides filling and capping machines for liquids. These machines keep humans separate from the product until they are sealed within their containers. As a result, the risk of contamination in industries such as the pharmaceutical industry is greatly reduced. Employees are also prevented from burning their skin or eyes with certain products that may be corrosive or acidic.
Another health and safety related benefit is that automated systems typically respond faster to emergencies by providing real-time monitoring. Situations that had previously been perceived as unavoidable can be taken care of before the even occur. The machines provided by Horan Automation and consulting are programmed to carry out repetitive, dangerous or difficult tasks. Horan Automation and consulting uses Keyence vision systems to ensure the workers’ safety and the machine is operating effectively and there are no defects which could be potentially dangerous to people within the warehouse, eradicating the need for human supervision which leads to higher accuracy due to the elimination of human error and as well as that prevents eye strain in employees. Light curtains and physical barriers are used by Horan Automation to keep the operator out of harm’s way, light curtains are lasers that act as a barrier and turn off the machine if they become broken by a person or object passing through.
Automation is growing worldwide, with factories needing to automate in order to compete. According to the preliminary results of the World Robotics Report 2019, the European Union’s industrial robot sales up 12 per cent. The benefits of automation are obvious, and organisations can get a return on their investment relatively quickly. Today there are some fully automated factories in the world, and many more will follow suit in the coming years. Even though factories are becoming more automated the unemployment rate (5.4 per cent March 2019) is still falling which suggests that automation is allowing people to be repositioned within an organisation instead of losing their job.
These machines provided by this business in South Tipperary are now in operation all over Europe including many Irish companies. Horan Automation is now one of the leading manufacturers of high quality bespoke automated machinery. Their systems are specified for the manufacturing industry and are used particularly in the pharmaceutical and food industries. Horan Automation are now exporting their machinery to Europe and beyond, building a name internationally for their innovative customised manufacturing solutions. For more information on Horan Automation and consulting please visit https://www.horan.ie/