Lights-Out Manufacturing Part 1: An Introduction

May 14, 2020 10:00:00 AM / by PlantStar Team


As technology changes, so do the processes used in manufacturing companies worldwide. These changes require factories to adapt their operations to keep up with the latest methods, and that includes implementing lights-out manufacturing.


What is lights-out manufacturing?

Lights-out manufacturing, or what is what is sometimes referred to as dark factory, is the concept of having a fully automated factory where the need for human intervention has been eliminated or greatly reduced, resulting in numerous cost saving, risk-reducing benefits, and overall plant efficiency. The term “dark” comes from the idea that in a fully automated factory, there is no longer a need to keep the lights on as the production machines or robots are perfectly content with working in the dark. While this may sound like science fiction to some, in truth, many factories across the globe are already capable of lights-out production to varying degrees.  


Looking Toward the Future

The idea of lights-out production isn’t a new or revolutionary concept, but it is one that many manufacturers have recently had to grapple with or at least look into more closely. With labor shortages plaguing the industry and new skills being required for manufacturing roles, preparing for effective ways to keep production moving is greatly beneficial to companies across the globe. 

As such, over the next couple of weeks we are going to take a closer look at this modern approach to automated manufacturing. We will discuss what lights-out manufacturing is and what it is not, and then look at the different benefits and challenges of incorporating a lights-out approach in your manufacturing company. Finally, we will look at the different ways some companies are already embracing a lights-out approach in order to help you assess your current and future needs and give you some ideas to begin thinking about should you decide to begin planning for lights-out manufacturing processes in your company.

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