I often get the question of what can you automate. So I will give a few examples here of things you can as well as a few basic tips.
Lets start with weld grinding. If you have people doing the welding then the weld will be a variable. This is a common issue and is to be expected. You can deal with this via several methods and it should not stop you. If you have robotic welding it just becomes a faster process in general and simplifies things.
Enclosures are another common item. Many of the same things apply here as in general weld grinding. The variable of the weld is much the same as is how you deal with it. Its a common application where you can gain speed and consistency. From just doing the welds or blending a finish its absolutely possible.
Blending would be more for corners on pre finished material. In the same system that takes down the welds you can have the blending operation. Adding a scotch brite belt or brush makes for very nice blends. It also allows you to break edges when needed to remove sharpness. Range hoods and wall panels are good examples.
Polishing is one of the tasks that tends to be a labor sponge. Its dirty work that tends to have high turn over. It can also be dangerous leading to worker injury. Automating polishing is one of the prime applications. Cutting worker injury and reducing the total labor needed are quick ways to see gains. From car parts to jewelry, polishing is a common application for automation.
A few good tips,
Don't mix sanding and polishing in the same system. The sanding debris will contaminate your polishing.
Don't focus on just one part. Look for parts that need a common process. The more you bring to any system the faster the return.
Think about your volumes and look for the areas where things tend to stall. Flow and pacing of material through the building is important.
As always feel free to send me any questions. I am always happy to take the time to talk about any situation and look for answers.