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McGill Machine Works: We Can Automate That™


There is little doubt that off-the-shelf automated solutions have allowed the manufacturing sector to make significant strides over the past decade. The ‘one size fits all’ approach has resulted in automated products that are easy to purchase, install and maintain.

However, this approach has created something of an issue for companies with specific manufacturing requirements that many standardized automated machines struggle to provide. Customization of the automated process can sound like a scary prospect to some who fear their factories will have to deal with lengthy downtimes and unmanageable bills, but McGill Machine Works has the experience necessary to make the process easy.

As customers begin to understand more about the benefits of automation, these misconceptions are slowly beginning to change. With this in mind, we are going to run through some of the advantages and considerations associated with automation machinery.


McGill Machine Works isn't just a machine shop. We're also an automation shop. From prototypes to full build-outs, we can produce five automated assemblies or one massive, fully-automated project. Whatever your needs are, here are some of the ways our automation expertise can help your business.


The aim for any manufacturer is to increase throughput while maintaining and improving standards. Installing custom automation into your operation means a range of tasks can be completed faster, freeing up staff to concentrate on other areas of production. The knock-on effect means your product can be produced in larger quantities and at a faster rate. By increasing the size of orders you can take on board and subsequently, your sales opportunities, this will also provide a greater incentive for your sales force.


Automated machinery will replicate the exact same task thousands of times with extremely tight tolerance levels. In fact, a recent study found that 80% of errors that occurred during pharmaceutical manufacturing was due to human error. Automation will streamline the process even further, reducing this percentage figure significantly. Wastage control is a key part of any production line and being able to match the original design specifications lowers the cost of both the materials being used and purchased.


The golden egg for any manufacturer. Automation ensures this can be achieved without compromising the quality of your product and McGill Machine Works ensures this partnership can take place. The idea that automation machinery costs more and takes longer to achieve a return on investment (ROI) is a common misconception that surrounds the technology. Automation machinery can be adapted to integrate and optimize overall efficiency. Lower wage costs, energy use and improved use of materials will all help to lower production and unit cost.


The common practice has been to purchase a range of automated machines that can each perform a specific individual task. This may seem like the most logical way forward, but when you take into consideration installation time, man power, energy use and a number of other factors, are you really getting the most of your current automation set-up? Each business has an individual need – no matter how common the product – and automation makes the most of new and existing machinery, increasing productivity and ease of use.


The reasons for switching to custom automation vary from case to case, but there are clear advantages to be had by moving away from manual processes. By implementing a careful and considered plan of action, any concerns can be remedied to achieve the desired results.

If you are still unsure, remember that you don’t have to fully overhaul your manufacturing equipment in one fell swoop. The advantages listed above are intended as a brief introduction to the pros of bespoke machinery, but we are always on hand to discuss your requirements in more detail. We’d love to answer any further questions you may have, so feel free to email or call us at anytime at (847) 301-8000.

In the meantime, please find listed below a few more considerations to be had on any potential automation project.


A common fear that surrounds the increased implementation of automated machinery is the threat to the human workforce. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Automation should be utilized to undertake the dull and repetitive tasks that staff do not enjoy, assisting workers rather than replacing them. Using and improving their skills in other areas of the business will guarantee a number of benefits – stronger morale, higher productivity and a healthier bottom line.


There should always be a detailed analysis of where and how the installation of automated machinery can improve the manufacturing operation. Before seeing a ROI, the initial cost of purchasing automated machines will be relatively high, along with any training and education required for the workforce. For most customers, a convincing case can be made for moving towards automation 99% of the time. McGill Machine Works can guide you step-by-step during the entire process, from concept and design to realization and final installation.


Every manufacturing process will evolve and change over time, and the concern is that custom automation will not be adaptable enough. However, this can be avoided. Much of this comes down to forward planning and allowing room for tweaks and changes to be implemented over time. The McGill Machine Works team embraces this forward-thinking philosophy along with your company’s requirements, which allows them to install automation machinery that can be adapted over time.

Automation: FAQ
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