Most companies in the manufacturing sector already take advantage of automation. They do so in order to be able to compete effectively in terms of cost of production, quality, and delivery speeds.
However, traditional automation systems are not enough. They are laden with a lot of inefficiencies. They are not easy to reprogram, they are expensive, they are bulky, and they aren't great at accommodating human input.
Small to medium-sized companies in the sector are quickly embracing collaborative robots as their go-to manufacturing automation solution. They are using them as a way of improving the efficiency of existing manufacturing processes. This is so especially when faced with the challenge of having to adapt to fast-changing consumer needs.
Here are the sectors that have benefited the most from this adoption.
Accuracy is a necessity when it comes to insertion, driving nuts, fitting parts together, and driving screws.
Traditional robots can do these jobs with the accuracy and precision that is required. But they tend to fall short when it is time to handle changing processes, machinery use, and design changes.
When a company has to change its assembling processes or part designs, reprogramming tends to be a little bit of a challenge. This tends to lead to extended downtimes, material wastage, and increased operational costs, especially at the beginning. And since these systems are less intuitive, employees may also require extensive training on how to operate and use them.
Collaborative robots can pick up the slack during these periods. In fact, they can altogether handle large chunks of the tasks that traditional robots normally do.
Since they are easy to deploy and intuitive, they reduce most of the inefficiencies that are usually associated with automation changes. And the fact that they can work alongside humans makes the changes even smoother simply because they are more accommodating of human input.
Tending to machines isn't just physically demanding for employees, it is potentially dangerous. Both of these things usually combine to create a number of inefficiencies on the production floor.
When a human being is tending a machine, he or she is bound to get tired. Mistakes can then follow. This is so especially given how physically demanding, and monotonous the tasks are.
And with mistakes comes injuries, property damage, and material wastage.
There is also the fact that the repetitive nature of the work can cause chronic pain. And since employees who are in pain aren't typically as productive as those who are pain-free, this can lead to a drop in employee productivity.
When these dangerous and repetitive tasks are assigned to robots, there is often improved efficiency. This is because it reduces the percentage of injuries. It also reduces the odds of making costly mistakes. All of these things usually lead to an increase in production efficiency.
There is also the fact that machine tending is inherently dangerous. To guarantee employee safety, most manufacturers are usually forced to put in place security measures and guidelines. This often involves taking extra steps and operating at slower speeds. As a result, things don't get accomplished as fast as they could.
With collaborative robots, one doesn't have to worry about implementing extra safety measures. These robots are accurate and precise. And they also don't get hurt. They can match the speed of the machine without any restrictions that are often occasioned by safety guidelines. As a result, using them often leads to higher efficiency.
Dispensing tasks are incredibly important as they play a significant role in determining customer satisfaction. And while manufacturers often use human workers to paint, seal, glue, and do other dispensing tasks, these are tasks that are best left to automation.
Since robots are typically more accurate and precise than human beings, they are bound to achieve better results. This is thanks to the advanced software and sensors that modern robotic systems come with.
Unfortunately, traditional automation systems don't have the flexibility that these tasks demand. They are not as easy to re-deploy or re-program. They also can't be moved around the place as easily. Opting for them will then either not be economically viable, or inefficient.
However, collaborative robots come with the versatility that makes it easy and convenient to let them handle dispensing tasks. Thanks to their precision and accuracy, using them almost guarantees excellent placement and consistency of execution. And thanks to the fact that they are affordable, lighter in weight, and small, it makes economical and practical sense to let them handle these tasks.
Advances in technology have called for machine parts that are increasingly becoming more complex. Increased complexity also requires a high degree of accuracy, consistency, and precision. Therefore, it is no surprise that most companies in the manufacturing space invest a lot in quality inspection.
Unfortunately, using human beings to carry out these inspections is no longer viable for most companies. This is because it often requires repetitive movements and a high degree of concentration to perform these inspections. And even then, given how complex and sensitive most modern parts are, this might still not be enough.
Automating the whole process also tends to come with its challenges as there are just some changes or differences -- especially when it comes to judgment calls -- that human beings are just better at doing. And so traditional automation is often insufficient and inefficient.
Collaborative robots offer a hybrid solution. They offer the precision, accuracy, and consistency that modern manufacturing calls for. They are also flexible enough to allow for easy and intuitive human input. By allowing for this easy collaboration, these robots improve the efficiency of the quality inspection process.
If you are in the manufacturing industry and are looking for a way to improve the efficiency of your facility, then opting for collaborative robots is the way to go. This is because these robotic systems offer a balanced solution to manufacturing and automation problems. They come with all the benefits of automation while at the same time limiting its downsides. Why? Because it allows for easy, safe, and convenient human input.