Automation, Bulk Equipment, Bulk Technology

Are humans the right machine for the job?

The start of a new year provides plenty of opportunities for reflection. Braden Goddin, marketing, and sales manager at Aurora Process Solutions, tells ABHR about how its customers are reconsidering manual labour.

The start of a new year provides plenty of opportunities for reflection. Braden Goddin, marketing, and sales manager at Aurora Process Solutions, tells ABHR about how its customers are reconsidering manual labour.

Bulk handling processes are filled with repetitive tasks that need to be performed efficiently, safely and with minimal wastage. Unfortunately, humans aren’t wired for those kinds of jobs.

Sickness, injury, annual leave, family emergencies, and human error are a fact of life and introduce variables into the production process.

Braden Goddin, marketing and sales manager at Aurora Process Solutions said for many small and medium sized businesses, it’s not an ideal situation to stake their companies on.

“A process line needs to run with high reliability, consistency, accuracy and repeatability under time pressure… not an ideal match for us humans,” he told ABHR.

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“We’re better off using our talent on more value-add work that makes better use of our social intelligence, critical thinking, ability to empathise and adapt our knowledge.

“As a simple example, this may see a staff member shift from lifting heavy bags of product onto pallets all day to checking and correcting quality on outgoing product, providing clients with delivery updates and reporting to operations.”

This is where Aurora comes in. They help clients free-up their valued staff from the dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks and guide them through implementing packaging automation. 

The company specialises in bag-filling, closing, conveying, palletising, and wrapping/hooding equipment. In particular, the business works with industries dealing with heavy bags, such as the grain, stockfeed, fertiliser, sand, and cement industries.

Goddin said companies of all sizes have been investing in automation for years now, and there has been a rapid positive impact on the bottom line, often in unexpected ways.

“There’s the practical outcomes such as reduced product giveaway from more accurate filling, faster production, ability to accurately forecast production (the palletising machine will certainly be ready to go first thing Monday), better and more consistent packaging quality and presentation,” he said. 

“And then there’s the intangibles like the relief of staff not having to do the dreaded bag stacking tasks, managers not having to worry about absences or staff injury claims, the positive feedback from clients on the improved delivery times and package presentation.

“All this adds up to a game changing experience for business looking to break the status quo, boost the morale of the team and get ahead.”

Aurora understands that automation can seem complex, especially for smaller businesses. That’s why it provides education for its customers both on-site and through mixed reality presentations.

Its team will work with the client and their accountants to model a return on investment, providing them with the confidence they need to move forward.

Goddin said one benefit of the technology is it can scale to fit the purposes of an operation, and that businesses can start small and take it one step at a time.

“The new equipment can also benefit your ability to win new contracts,” he said.

“Increased capacity, more accurate production forecasting, increased production reliability can all increase your brand value and give you an edge over the competition. 

Even the fact that you have invested in new equipment provides a positive signal to potential customers about your company’s competence, management, and direction.

“If you do invest in new plant and equipment you need to let it be known, put it on your website and social media. 

You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your sales.” 

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