4 Industries that Benefit from Configurable Component Manufacturing

8 min read

In the era of electrical vehicles, automated supply chains, and rapid medical and technological advancements, engineers across industries are seeing the way they innovate, design, and build change drastically.

To better support today’s engineers within these fast-growing industries, manufacturers are challenged to provide new solutions, so the technology and equipment needed for innovation and higher/faster production can keep up with the demand.

That’s where the power of configurability comes in.

At MISUMI, we’re never satisfied until a service can truly meet the needs of our customers. MISUMI’s Configurable Solution is the sweet spot between custom and standard that meets majority of projects’ budgets, production timelines, and design requirements. Yes — all three!

There are four major industries that have seen a positive impact on their engineer and design productivity, thanks to component configurability.

1. Medical & Lab Automation

Lab Automation PCR Machine
PCR Machines

The medical and lab automation industry is experiencing massive growth, especially in the lab automation space. The need for accurate and timely results is in high demand for several reasons, including early detection and prevention of disease.

Think PCR for testing for COVID-19. During the pandemic, these machines were in high demand, and to keep up with the demand, configurability has allowed build teams to source the right products faster and at a lower cost.

PCR technology varies by machine, but the most common PCR machine components include miniature linear guides, linear actuators, ball screws, timing pulleys and belts, brackets and plates, cross roller bearings, and XY stages — all in which can be configured.

Another example comes from a MISUMI customer, Gener8, a leading contract design and manufacturing company. The team at Gener8 were tasked with creating the first commercially available digital genome engineering platform for a customer.

The project required the use of linear actuators, which their current supplier couldn’t provide fast enough. So Gener8 turned to MISUMI for faster lead times, hands-on engineering support, and additional services required to get the project to the finish line.

“The team at MISUMI was great to work with. One awesome thing they did was provide lifetime calculations to confirm the actuator sizing was appropriate for our desired lifetime. They even joined one of our meetings with our customers and presented their calculations. Over the years, we’ve grown to recognize MISUMI as a partner.”

Chris Cortez, Lead Mechanical Engineering for Gener8

2. Warehouse and Packaging Automation

Conveyor Sortation System for Warehouse Automation
Conveyor Sortation System for Warehouse Automation

By 2026, 75% of large companies will be using intralogistics smart robots in their warehouses, according to Gartner.

And yes, online shopping is a major component of that. More and more companies are going global, thanks to direct-to-consumer, which means machines and technology for consumer packaging is on the rise to meet global product demands.

Across consumer and business logistics, warehouse and packaging automation is becoming the new norm with more robotics and other digital advancements being introduced.

So how do warehouse and packaging industries keep up with these advancements? With configuration, engineers can prototype, build, and design based at a faster, more affordable pace and still meet the appropriate requirements.

For example, machine build company ABCO has used configurable components for several high-speed, high-performance packaging machines. The team at ABCO found that by reducing the number of custom components per machine they were able to not only save time and money but are also produce machines that are more modular and offer better performance. 

As ABCO increased its use of configurable components within the design and build of several high-speed, high-performance packaging machines. In total, each packaging machine contained approximately 10,000 components. Of these, approximately 3,000 were MISUMI components.

Components used in these packaging builds included linear shaftsflanged linear bushingsstrut clampslocating pinslocating bushingsbelts, bearingsplatesbolts and rollers.

3. Electric Vehicle Manufacturing & Assembly

Electric Vehicle Battery Pack
Electric Vehicle Battery Pack

The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects to see 14 million in electric vehicle (EV) sales by the end of 2023, representing a 35% year-over-year increase.

As the electric vehicle revolution continues, automotive manufacturing continues to rapidly adapt to meet the needs of the industry. So far, the task of profitably manufacturing EVs is as just as challenging as the development of the cutting-edge technologies used to power the vehicles.

EV battery pack manufacturing processes rely heavily on a variety of machine components, which are present at every step in the fabrication process. 

That’s why EV engineers that specialize in battery pack manufacturing and assembly rely on configurable component. And fortunately, many EV battery packs utilize traditional machine components, including rotary shafts and linear ball bushings

The fixtures that check the battery cells are also comprised of dozens of components, including aluminum extrusions, mounting plates, timing belts and pulleys, and more.

4. Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductor Silicon Wafer Manufacturing
Semiconductor Silicon Wafer Manufacturing

By 2030, the global semiconductor industry is expected to become a trillion-dollar industry, according to McKinsey & Company. But since 2020, supply shortages in the semiconductor industry are still creating bottlenecks in the production of everything from cars to computers.

When it comes time for final production, time is of the essence. That’s why semiconductor device fabrication must be functioning at a high level to stay on top of mass production. And the machines and equipment used in handling semiconductor materials must offer high precision.

The benefit of using configurable components for semiconductor handling systems is the ability to get the right components needed to meet build requirements much faster than custom.

From wafer handling and transport systems to assembly, components that are configurable through MISUMI can be used in common semiconductor manufacturing machines and equipment, including ball bearings, precision stages, rotary motion, rotary shafts, conveyor timing belts, timing pulleys, and more.

To learn more about MISUMI’s Configurable Solution, click here.

About the Author

Shannon Callarman

Shannon is an Associate Marketing Manager at MISUMI. She has over 10 years of experience partnering with manufacturers to help showcase their unique offerings and provide more value for engineers and OEMs. She has developed go-to-market and content strategies for a wide range of manufacturers, from industrial automation to silicone, to food packaging.

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