How robots are used in manufacturing

October 11, 2023
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Industry 4.0 and the role of robotics in manufacturing

The manufacturing industry has gone through major industrial revolutions. The first one in the late 18th century introduced machines to production. The 2nd and 3rd revolutions introduced electricity and automation, respectively.

Industry 4.0 represents the fourth industrial revolution and focuses on using modern "smart technology" for efficient manufacturing processes. Robotics solutions, alongside technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data, play a pivotal role in revolutionizing industrial operations and enhancing productivity in manufacturing. 

Robots are at the forefront of driving automation in Industry 4.0. They perform tasks precisely and quickly, handling repetitive and dangerous tasks, thereby reducing errors and enhancing worker safety. Collaborative robots (Cobots) work alongside human workers, adapting to changes and optimizing workflows. This level of automation leads to increased productivity and cost savings.

Robots equipped with sensors and cameras collect vast amounts of data as they operate. When analyzed using AI and machine learning, this data yields insights that help optimize manufacturing processes, predict equipment failures, and improve product quality. Real-time data analysis also enables agile responses to changes in demand, reducing lead times and improving customer satisfaction.

The integration of robotics in Industry 4.0 necessitates a shift in workforce skills. While robots take over repetitive and hazardous tasks, the human workforce needs to adapt by acquiring skills in robotics management, data analysis, and digital literacy. Training and reskilling initiatives are essential to preparing the workforce for the changing manufacturing landscape and leveraging the benefits of robotic technology.

Applications of robots in manufacturing

Industrial robots have been used to advance production processes and reduce operational costs. They usually have long arms with five or six axes (joints), used for various tasks.

Palletizing and packing

Robotic palletizers are used in the end-of-line manufacturing process to automate the placement of products onto pallets. They have these nifty grippers called end-effectors that they use to pick up different types of products and arrange them in neat layers on a pallet.

Some robots not only handle the boxes but also move the pallets around. They can grab empty pallets, put the loaded ones on conveyors, or move them where needed. In the food and beverage industry, robots are employed for packaging products and stacking them on pallets. Their precision and speed outperform human capabilities, especially in handling fragile items and maintaining hygiene standards.

Assembly lines

Robots dominate assembly lines in industries, especially in the electronics and automotive industries, where they perform tasks like welding, mounting parts, and painting. These robots are renowned for their speed, precision, and ability to work tirelessly, thereby significantly boosting productivity. They ensure that every weld is accurate, strong, and consistent, essential for vehicle safety and longevity. 

Due to their compact design and the ability to work in confined spaces, robots allow manufacturers to optimize the use of available floor space, potentially reducing facility costs and increasing efficiency.

Material handling 

Robots are extensively used for transporting materials within manufacturing plants, especially Gantry bots. These bots are large, rigid and can handle really heavy materials. There almost isn’t anything that is too big for a Gantry.

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and Autonomous Mobile robots (AMRs) also move raw materials, components, and finished products between different locations, reducing the time and labor involved in material handling.

While both are important in material transportation, AGVs follow predetermined routes often marked by wires, magnets, or lasers. In contrast, AMRs use sensors, cameras, and sometimes AI to navigate, making them more adaptable to environmental changes.

As a company grows or the layout of a manufacturing plant changes, AGVs, and AMRs can be easily reprogrammed and redeployed, making them a flexible and scalable solution for material transport needs.

Machining and CNC milling

Robots are deployed for tasks like drilling, milling, and cutting, which require high accuracy and consistency. Their ability to precisely operate and tend CNC machines has opened new possibilities in metal and plastic fabrication.

Whether it’s metal or plastic, these robots adapt to the material they’re working with. They adjust their techniques depending on whether they’re shaping a tough piece of steel or a delicate piece of plastic, ensuring the best results every time.

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Technologies driving robotic advancements

Sensors and Vision Systems: Advanced sensors and vision systems enable robots to perceive their environment, detect objects, and make real-time decisions. These technologies are crucial for tasks like inspection and material handling.

Machine Learning and AI: Integration of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows robots to learn from their experiences, adapt to task variations, and improve their performance over time.

Collaborative Robots (Cobots): Cobots are designed to work alongside humans, enhancing human capabilities rather than replacing them. They are equipped with safety features to prevent accidents and are often used in smaller manufacturing settings.

IoT and Connectivity: The Internet of Things (IoT) facilitates communication between robots, equipment, and human operators. This interconnectedness enables real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and data-driven decision-making.


Robots have become indispensable in the manufacturing sector, offering unparalleled efficiency, cost, quality, and safety advantages. As technology continues to advance, the integration of robots in manufacturing processes is predicted to reach new heights, further revolutionizing the way products are made and shaping the future of industries around the globe.

Next steps

Irrespective of your manufacturing needs, Standard Bots’ RO1 is customizable and can be easily programmed.

  • Despite being faster, stronger, and more precise, RO1 is significantly more affordable.
  • It directly integrates with a wide range of machinery.
  • Shop-floor operators can set up and program the robot within minutes.

Book a trial to get started.

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