Greg: I am always looking for people with interesting and enlightening application experience to feature in this column. I was fortunate to have Jim Cahill, Emerson social media manager, point me to Francisco Campa, director of manufacturing operations for Mohawk Home, a division of Mohawk Industries. Even when the economy was hurting, Mohawk Home was breaking sales records. At Mohawk, Francisco has demonstrated considerable success in applying technologies such as robots in manufacturing operations for home products that are outside the areas of expertise and the process industry applications of my career. One of the great benefits of this column is the opportunity to develop an understanding of innovative automation accomplishments that are the result of extensive effort and expertise in an hour of conversation. This knowledge and recognition of achievement leads to the advancement of the automation profession. This is my main motivation.
Stan: Francisco, as a previous configuration engineer and director of technology addresses both the technical and business aspects important for maximizing benefits, what is your general approach?
Francisco: Everybody agrees to automate, but how do we pay for it? I develop and justify automation based on whether it makes good business sense. I seek the business case in terms of contributions to the bottom line. I develop the scope, architecture and technology. During my career I have done tens of millions of dollars of highly successful automation projects using this approach.