Robotic manufacturing is still a new approach for some sections of the manufacturing industry, even though it has been in existence for many years now. By merging conventional production techniques with advanced technology, entrepreneurs and factory managers can boost production rates and increase revenue. Read on to understand the impact of robotics in the manufacturing sector.
Robotics have revolutionized manufacturing in various positive ways. The effect of automated manufacturing stretches wide and far, enhancing productivity and increasing the chances of success for the whole company. Manufacturing with robots frees workers from roles that robots can execute with ease, allowing them to focus on offering ideas and knowledge in more targeted tasks. Implementing robotics appropriately helps improve business operations.
Understanding Robotic Applications in Manufacturing
Manufacturing robots facilitate the execution of repetitive tasks, streamlining workflow in the entire assembly. They also work together with human workers to ease production. Some tasks within the manufacturing floor can be dangerous or involve high material volumes, endangering human workers.
Often, employees get distracted and grow weary after executing repetitive tasks, increasing the chances of errors. Entrepreneurs can eliminate such errors by using robots. These units have advanced machine learning and dexterity levels, enabling them to execute tasks with precision.
Some studies suggest that more than 20% of unexpected interruptions in the manufacturing industry occur due to human error. Often, the manufacturing sector suffers from human-related errors more than in other fields. A simple mistake can interrupt the whole assembly line and this is where manufacturing robots come in handy.
Bright Future for Manufacturing Robots
Experts in the robotics and manufacturing sector opine that demand for advanced manufacturing robots will hit more than $3 billion in the next few years. This number represents the entire world, indicating that global production managers and business professionals understand the value of automated industrial robots. These units are evolving rapidly, but they also have pros and downsides.
To reap overall benefits from manufacturing robots, you must consider their pros and downsides before adopting them. Here are some of the notable pros.
- Reduced energy and operational costs
- A high ROI (return on investment)
- Great objectivity and precision during the execution of comprehensive tasks
- Enhanced reliability
- Downsides of Manufacturing Robots
- High initial investment
- Job loss resulting in the elimination of some positions
- Lack of expertise
How is Robotics Evolving?
Manufacturing robots have advanced and become more efficient in the last few years. While some people think of robots as modern inventions, they have been in existence for decades. George Devol, the inventor, filed the initial industrial robot patent in 1954 and launched the prototype in 1961. The ancient robot operated like modern-day robotic arms. It could carry up to 500 pounds while executing functions that were previously a preserve of human employees.
Automotive factories adopted the robot later after their invention. Today, robots feature multiple capabilities and features, making them more productive, flexible, and unique. Collaborative robots can now operate in the same environment as human workers for an efficient and fast workflow. Workers can even adjust some collaborative units to ensure they can remember and repeat steps without human intervention.
Robots are now acquiring various senses like vision and touch. These advancements make modern-day robots more capable while allowing them to achieve the success that would have otherwise been impossible. Here are comprehensive details on advanced robotic senses.
Some recycling firms use robots to pinpoint and separate waste based on the texture. Merging the touch feature with vision-oriented machine learning makes robots more capable of sorting waste than human employees. Employers can leverage this feature to relieve human workers of hazardous waste management tasks.
Some robots use laser vibrometry to determine vibrations. With this feature, robots can hear conversations and basic sounds. This feature is common in consumer electronics, such as smart devices. However, it might penetrate the manufacturing robotics sector soon.
Some advanced robots come with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors, enabling them to gauge distances with the help of laser reflections. This sense is similar to echolocation available in animals, such as dolphins and bats. These animals leverage soundwaves to detect an item’s location. Some robots available today use light detection and ranging sensors to navigate objects and people.
What is the Future of Manufacturing Robotics?
Here are some predictions for manufacturing robotics
- Lights-Out Manufacturing
With the lights-out, manufacturing robots can operate without interference. This feature is ideal for factories with limited human workers. In this case, machines can manage the entire production process.
Some manufacturers may implement this feature, while others might see no value. However, manufacturers who adopt the lights-out feature notice changes in labor costs and productivity.
Organizations that adopt this strategy may experience enhanced energy efficiency due to the reduced need for extra lighting and climate control.
- Internet of Things Ability
The internet of things links physical gadgets with internet applications such as cloud-based software, making them smarter, and more familiar with their surroundings, says ZDNet. Robot manufacturers are merging the internet of things with their gadgets by installing sensors in robots, enabling them to learn their environment. These tools absorb external information like visual and tactile input. Robots can leverage this data to determine the best action to take.
Some advanced internet of things applications include local tracking and predictive analysis. Incorporating these features in existent robotic sensors can upgrade the devices to the next automation level. A robot capable of predicting the possible failure of another machine or notifying production managers about its due maintenance schedule can take innovation to another level.
Revolution in Cybersecurity
Using cloud-linked robotics and artificial intelligence in your business can place your organization ahead of competitors. However, it can also make your systems more vulnerable to cybercrime.
As more companies adopt IoT-based systems, they have to enhance their cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive data. Advanced cybersecurity is a core trend in robotics for various reasons. Robot operators, integrators, and manufacturers are responsible for system security.
Robotic software and firmware can be vulnerable to cybercrime and companies developing these units should install robust safety systems in the manufacturing stage. Defensive and offensive security involving installing security controls and analyzing vulnerabilities can secure these units against external interference. This technique requires a team-based approach between operators and integrators to succeed.
Some manufacturers are yet to implement robotics in their operations. However, adopting advanced technology is vital for enhanced productivity and continued success.