Leveraging an existing industrial or manufacturing facility (a “brownfield site”) instead of establishing a new, purpose-built facility (a “greenfield site”) has its advantages. However, it’s prudent to proceed with caution. During planning, brownfield automation can hit snags if the facility’s limitations, upgrade requirements, and potential automation retrofitting challenges aren’t thoroughly considered.
Brownfield automation is the process of replacing or retrofitting the legacy equipment, systems, and infrastructures of existing manufacturing environments with efficient automated technologies.
Sounds simple, right? However, at the time of the original brownfield development, the building design may not have included provisions for automation. Or, perhaps the level of prior automation is not on par with greenfield's modern communications, methods, and hardware. As a result, the potential pitfalls of implementing automation in an existing facility can quickly complicate matters.
Before deciding on automating a brownfield facility, weigh the impact of seven challenges that you will likely encounter:
Knowing the challenges that could lie ahead with brownfield automation should raise both awareness and questions. Due diligence is required when exploring a brownfield facility versus a greenfield build. An automation-worthiness assessment provides insights that help decision-makers better understand that addressing automation challenges requires:
It’s a multidisciplinary process which can achieve desired results, but navigating the potential pitfalls can be problematic.
Alternatively, leveraging automation that does not require any special accommodation or provisioning could be the ideal solution to brownfield facility challenges.
MūL's MARC autonomous robotic cart is the perfect option for a brownfield facility. This hold true even if more complex automation will be used in the future, because:
Whether tackling brownfield automation or initiating automation adoption on the shop floor, MARC is the simple, safe, and cost-effective choice for manufacturers in many industries. See all of MARC’s features and benefits for yourself! Book your live interactive demo of MARC today.