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Importance of Robots in Industries

Importance of Robots in Industries

Robotic manufacturing systems may be a relatively new concept for some parts of the manufacturing sector, although the technology has existed for decades. By combining traditional production methods with higher forms of technology, factory managers and business owners can exponentially increase their production rates and boost their bottom line.

Robots have changed manufacturing in a myriad of positive ways. The impact of automated manufacturing spreads far and wide, improving productivity and success for the entire company. When human employees are freed from tasks that robots can easily perform, they can extend more of their energy to contributing much-needed knowledge and ideas within higher organizational roles. When implemented correctly, robotics creates an undeniable upward shift within a business’s operations.

If you’re curious whether robots can enhance your value stream, here are the main benefits to consider.

Robotic in industry revolution

Robotics is a major and a very important component of Industrial Automation. The balance maintained in the factories and shop floors by bringing in robotics and automation has transformed the work processes and uplifted the efficiency manifolds. The use of automation and robotics is transforming various industries in this advanced era. Robots are now an essential component of many industries’ manufacturing processes because of the accuracy they provide and their capacity to work for prolonged hours without fatigue.

When Industrial Robotic Projects first emerged, they brought along confusion and denial. Automation is widely used in many industries today, from healthcare to agriculture, despite the fact that it was once more theoretical than practical in many of them.

During the first phase of this revolution, electric machines were introduced that performed repetitive tasks without fatigue. These robots were used in the automobile industry and other similar applications. The second phase brought industrial robots that besides performing basic tasks also absorbed data to evolve and become better. Today, robots have revolutionized a lot of important industries, some of which include:

Healthcare Industry

Healthcare is not only one of the fastest-growing industries, but it’s also one of the most developed sectors. With the passage of time, it has developed quickly benefitting from new technologies and innovations, including Robotic automation. A range of Robots is now specially designed for medical applications in environments that require very low particle emissions such as pharmaceutical, medical or semiconductors industries.

The Automobile Industry

Small robots and robotic automation are needed to meet the automotive industry’s changing demands, allowing the top two-wheeler manufacturers to create vehicles that are safer, more comfortable, environmentally friendly, efficient, and prepared for the future. Due to their high accuracy and flexibility, some robots can highlight every aspect of the workpiece, including quality assurance, haptic measurements, and the assembly of intricate components. These robots are capable of carrying out their duties 24 hours a day at full speed.

Food

Compared to other sectors, the food industry puts robotic automation to selective use. But with time, this industry is growing at a very fast pace and the diversity of possible applications such as pick-and-place raw material or processed food items, slicing, cutting, sorting, dispensing and many other activities would need robots in the near future. Considering the stricter hygiene standards, some robots are capable of tracing the products and processes included in producing it. These robots are becoming an integral part of the ecosystem today and will be the same in the future as well. Such robots ensure and assure the quality even for waterproof specification and for food-grade grease under hygiene-related guidelines from the US NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)

Industry producing semiconductor & electronics

A horizontal, multiple-joint robot with a space-saving suspended installation mode is suitable for a wide range of applications, from the precision assembly of electrical, electronic and other small components to inspections, high-speed transportation and packaging. SCARA robots, drive products, power distribution and control products, computerized numerical controllers, and a wide variety of other products and solutions better offer technical support.

The Future of Robotic Automation

With Industry 4.0 in place, robotic process automation will gradually expand its footprint in other important industries as well as the divisions of current ones, highlighting their significance in the contemporary manufacturing process.

Importance of Automation in Industry 4.0

We are in the midst of an advanced industrial revolution that allows complex machinery and processes to be managed much more effectively and affordably than ever before. By reducing the need for human labour in redundant and dangerous processes, automation allows businesses to focus on critical operations, energy usage, and safety. Because of the numerous technological changes that are affecting our industries, there is an urgent need for high-end, precise products that can only be met by high levels of productivity. Engineering systems, automated manufacturing, and industrial automation all play a role here.

Industry 4.0 and automation, are currently taking shape thanks to technologies such as AI, 5G, advanced automation, advanced sensing, and many others which have significantly altered how various industries operate and how their processes are carried out. Automation in Industry 4.0 places a strong emphasis on efficiency and optimization while significantly reducing the possibilities for errors. In a manual process where the margin of error can reach up to 10% when humans carry out the work, an automated platform can reduce it significantly.

Robots In Manufacturing Examples

In this section, we journey through the diverse applications where these mechanical marvels showcase their prowess.

Welding:

The adoption of robotic technology in arc welding marked a pivotal shift in the 1980s. Today, robots handle high-temperature welding tasks, making sure not only precise metal joining but also enhancing worker safety by mitigating the risks of arc burn and exposure to hazardous fumes. This level of automation extends to spot welding, where robots efficiently join metal surfaces with minimal human intervention.

Material Handling and Machine Tending:

Material handling robots are the unsung heroes of the manufacturing floor. They tirelessly move, pack, and select products, minimizing direct labor costs and eliminating tedious, hazardous tasks traditionally performed by humans. In machine tending, robots take charge of loading raw materials into machinery, overseeing the entire process and increasing overall efficiency.

Painting Process:

Automotive and various industries benefit from robotic painting applications, ensuring consistent product quality while realizing cost savings through reduced rework. These robots operate with precision, covering surfaces uniformly and minimizing paint waste, contributing to improved environmental sustainability.

Assembly and Finishing Tasks:

Robots have become indispensable in assembly processes, tackling repetitive and tiresome tasks. Their dexterity shines in tasks like mechanical cutting, grinding, deburring, and polishing, offering a level of precision that is challenging to achieve manually. Additionally, in tasks such as gluing, adhesive sealing, and spraying materials, robots bring increased speed, consistency, and quality to the final product.

Other Applications in Manufacturing:

Beyond the specific applications mentioned, robots find their place in various other manufacturing processes. Inspection, waterjet cutting, and soldering are among the myriad tasks where robotic automation showcases its versatility.

Automotive Manufacturing:

In the automotive industry, robots play a critical role across the entire manufacturing spectrum. From welding and painting to assembly and inspection, they contribute to precision, accuracy, and speed. Welding robots, equipped with advanced sensors, reduce cycle times significantly, enhancing productivity and ensuring consistent weld quality.

Electronics Manufacturing:

Electronics manufacturing has witnessed a transformative impact with the integration of robotics. High-speed pick-and-place robots handle the delicate task of accurately placing electronic components on printed circuit boards, surpassing human capabilities in both speed and precision. Robotic soldering systems contribute to improved consistency and reduced defects, enhancing the overall quality of electronic devices.

Aerospace Manufacturing:

Aerospace manufacturing demands unparalleled precision and safety, making robotics an indispensable ally. Automated guided drilling machines ensure precise hole placement with tolerances as tight as ±0.001 inches, a crucial factor in maintaining structural integrity. Robotics in composite material layup guarantee uniform thickness, meeting the high standards required for aerospace components.

Metal and Plastic Manufacturing:

Metal and plastic manufacturing benefit immensely from robotic applications. In welding, cutting, and machining processes, robots maintain consistent quality while reducing production time. From injection molding to blow molding, robots ensure efficient handling and production, contributing to the overall efficiency, precision, and competitiveness of these industries.

Five Main Types of Industrial Robots

While there are more than five types of industrial robots, the International Federation of Robotics classifies them based on their mechanical structure. Let's see each type:

Cartesian Robots:

Operating on three linear axes (X, Y, Z) in a Cartesian Coordinate system, these robots, also known as gantry or linear robots, are prevalent in CNC machines and 3D printing. Their modularity, scalability, and precision (0.01 to 0.1 mm) make them suitable for various manufacturing applications. With a robust frame and cost-effectiveness, they're favored in industries like automotive and aerospace.

SCARA Robots:

The Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) has two parallel rotary joints, making it an ideal choice for high-speed assembly. Its unique horizontal arm design, coupled with selective compliance in the horizontal plane, provides precision (0.01 to 0.1 mm) and agility. Commonly used in electronics, automotive, and consumer goods manufacturing, SCARA robots excel in lateral movements.

Articulated Robots:

Resembling the human arm, articulated robots feature two to 10 joints. Their 6-axis configuration enables exceptional flexibility, making them versatile for tasks like packaging, painting, and metal casting. With precision, dexterity, and the ability to integrate various end-effectors, they are widely employed in automotive, aerospace, electronics, and pharmaceutical industries.

Delta Robots:

Heavily utilized in the food, pharmaceutical, and electronic industries, delta robots boast a unique design with three parallel arms connected to a triangular base. This configuration, along with linear actuators, enables them to achieve high-speed pick-and-place tasks with precision (0.1 to 0.3 mm). While they are efficient for small, lightweight objects, their compact design makes them ideal for industries where space is a constraint.

Collaborative Robots (Cobots):

Designed for safe human collaboration, cobots have become indispensable in various manufacturing and assembly environments. Equipped with built-in safety features, user-friendly interfaces, an

d adaptability, they work alongside humans efficiently. With advanced sensors, they can detect obstacles and adjust their movements to avoid collisions. Cobots offer a versatile solution for tasks like assembly, pick-and-place, and machine tending. Their compact design and ease of integration make them suitable for facilities with limited space or complex layouts.

Robots In Manufacturing Advantages And Disadvantages

In today's rapidly evolving industrial landscape, incorporating robotics into your manufacturing processes can offer a myriad of advantages. Let's check out the benefits before exploring a few potential drawbacks.

Advantages of Manufacturing Robotics:

1. Consistent Quality:

Manufacturing robots are designed to deliver unwavering quality and precision. Proper programming and maintenance ensure reliable results, making them a dependable asset to your production line.

2. Enhanced Productivity:

With the ability to reduce cycle times, manufacturing robots maximize productivity. Automation, coupled with PLC programming, adds control and capabilities to your conveyor system, boosting overall efficiency.

3. Increased Safety:

By replacing manual tasks with automated robotics, you eliminate the risk of harm to employees, especially in challenging manufacturing conditions. Safety takes the forefront when robots handle the heavy lifting.

4. Reduced Labour Costs:

Manufacturing robots operate faster than humans and are cost-effective in the long run. Despite the initial investment, they swiftly provide a healthy return on investment, keeping ongoing labor costs at a minimum.

Disadvantages of Using Robots in Manufacturing:

1. Initial Cost:

The journey to reaping the rewards of manufacturing robotics begins with an upfront investment. Costs vary based on complexity, but the positive return on investment and long-term revenue improvement make it a worthwhile consideration for many manufacturers.

2. Rare Expertise:

Complex robotics may require specialized expertise for operation, maintenance, and programming. Finding skilled individuals in this field can be a challenge and may come with a higher price tag.

3. Maintenance Requirements:

To ensure continuous operational productivity and cost-effectiveness, manufacturing robots need regular maintenance. Prioritizing routine upkeep keeps them running at maximum capacity, sustaining their value over time.

Future of Robotics In Manufacturing

Historically, industrial robots were defined by their mechanical structures, limited to specific tasks in fixed locations. However, the current generation of robots is shifting towards being data collectors. Integrated into the workforce, these collaborative industrial robots, or co-bots, equipped with environmentally aware sensors, now work alongside factory operators, handling tasks that were once exclusive to human workers. This evolution is marked by their ability to operate safely in human environments, collecting valuable data at every step of the manufacturing process for enhanced traceability and detailed analysis.

Expanding Horizons: Robots Beyond the Factory Floor

Advancements in robotics technology have facilitated the transition of robots from the traditional factory floor to diverse applications, such as retail. Autonomous robots, armed with sensors, navigation systems, and cameras, contribute to store operations by scanning for hazards and keeping track of inventory. Future expectations include their involvement in various retail aspects, ranging from warehousing to delivery. In agriculture, robotic drones are employed to examine fields for crop deficiencies, analyze water and dryness levels, and assess the ripeness of goods. Meanwhile, mobile robots and drones monitor critical infrastructure like oil and gas pipelines, conducting regular inspections and identifying maintenance needs.

Revolutionizing Manufacturing: Factors Driving Robotic Adoption

In the realm of factory robotics, ongoing evolution is influenced by several key factors. Falling robot prices over the past 30 years, increased specialization, ease of integration due to advancements in software and computing power, expanded capabilities making robots smarter, improved collaboration with humans, agile production, and the ability to perform complex tasks all contribute to the growing importance of robotics and automation in manufacturing. These factors create a landscape where the value of robotics is continually increasing, with the potential for further improvements in the coming years.

Manufacturing Robots AI

Evolution in Manufacturing: AI and Robotics

The manufacturing industry has undergone a transformation with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, aiming to reduce human labor, enhance efficiency, and simplify operations. In the past, multiple individuals were needed to handle a single task, but now, AI-based robots have made it possible for one bot to manage each task efficiently. This article explores the roles of AI and robotics in manufacturing, highlighting their advantages and disadvantages.

Importance of AI and Robotics in Manufacturing

AI and robotics offer several benefits in the manufacturing industry:

Damage Control and Quick Maintenance: AI-based robots are programmed to detect faults and provide solutions swiftly, contributing to effective damage control and maintenance.

Automatic Control: Technological advancements allow for the automatic control of systems through AI. These intelligently programmed machines can make accurate decisions based on the situation.

Demand-based Production: Monitoring each stage with sensors, AI-based software ensures production management aligned with demand and capacity. The production process adapts to real-time data, enhancing efficiency.

Near to Real World Interaction: AI-based robots and software closely mimic real-world interactions, understanding and responding to natural user language based on both semantic and episodic data.

AI in Production Sector

In the production sector, AI serves as a powerful tool for preventing design errors. Its application extends to evaluating product quality, determining market value, and improving inventory management through self-learning algorithms. The versatility of AI solutions caters to various needs in managing operations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, From the clunky beginnings on General Motors factory floors in the 1960s to the sophisticated precision of today's diverse robotic applications, the journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.

As we look back at the various examples we've explored, like welding in automotive and assembly in electronics, it's clear that combining automation and innovation has transformed industries. The future promises even greater strides, with robots poised to continue their role as catalysts for efficiency, precision, and consistent product quality.

2nd Jan 2023

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