The automotive industry has been a pioneer in adopting robotic technology, ever since General Motors first started using the UNIMATE Industrial robot in the '60s.
Over the years, the automotive sector has grown. In line with this, robots have evolved to become far cheaper and more modern, outshining their previous bulkier counterparts.
Today, it's hard to imagine modern car factories that don't rely on industrial robots for various tasks of automotive production, such as:
You can use industrial robots for spot welding. The combination of precision and speed in joining metal pieces at specific points is almost flawless. They're also good to use for arc welding, where controlled welding guns create continuous seams between metal parts.
Robots are used for both primer (first coat) and finishing coat tasks, drastically decreasing your workload. The robot's ability to keep consistency when applying paint is unmatched. You can also use them for detailed work, painting intricate designs and logos where a high level of precision is needed.
Industrial robots can be used to install car parts, such as doors, windows, bolts, screws, door handles, and windscreen wipers, quickly. They also transport various materials by moving parts between stations and conveyor belts.
In this instance, you can work alongside a robot to install engines or electrical systems, where a keen human eye is still needed.
Industrial robots equipped with vision systems, cameras, and sensors scan and evaluate car parts' quality, ensuring they meet your required standards. Robots can perform leak tests on fluid systems, like fuel lines or air conditioning systems.
In the automotive industry, machine tending refers to the process of overseeing and managing machines that perform various (often repetitive) tasks related to the manufacturing and assembly of vehicles.
You can program robots to load and unload parts, initiate machine operations, change tools, and monitor machines during their production cycle to ensure that tasks are done correctly.
You can do machine tending yourself; however, automating this process through the use of Collaborative robots (also known as 'Cobots') speeds up the production process.
The manufacturing sector covers a wide range of industries, from the automotive industry to aerospace and beyond. In recent years, the sector has seen a significant increase in the adoption of autonomous robots to improve efficiency, quality, and safety in the workplace.
Robots can be used in various stages of manufacturing, from handling raw materials, machine loading, and inspection tasks to the final production line.
Let's take a look at some of the types of robots used:
This type of robot has a rotary joint that allows for a full range of motion. They can have as few as two or as many as ten interacting joints. The articulated (moveable) robotic arms are flexible and are capable of a wide range of complex tasks. They work well in confined spaces.
Commonly used for:
SCARA stands for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm. A SCARA robot is much faster and more precise at completing tasks but has a limited range of motion when compared to an articulated robot. The high speed and precision of SCARA robots make them ideal for linear motion tasks, which saves you time in the process.
Commonly used for:
Delta robots are valued for their speed and precision, particularly in handling lightweight and smaller components. A Delta robot is a parallel robot with three robotic arms connected to universal joints at the base. They are both speedy and reliable in the automotive manufacturing process.
Commonly used for:
Cartesian robots have strong and precise robotic arms that move in straight lines. They are great for lifting heavy loads (i.e. forklifts packing pallets) and are widely used in the automotive industry.
Commonly used for:
In material handling, many companies use robots to move goods in and around the factory floor. They can transport heavy loads from receiving docks to storage areas, or from storage to picking stations. Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are commonly used for these tasks.
When it comes to order picking, robots equipped with sensors and grippers have proven to be invaluable. They can navigate through warehouse aisles, identify the correct items, and pick them (with their robotic arms) with high accuracy.
This not only speeds up the ordering and packing process for warehouses and logistics but also minimizes errors, ensuring that customers receive exactly what they ordered.
Warehousing is a complex task and palletizing is a crucial element used in modern warehousing today. You can use palletizing robots to stack goods onto pallets in a precise and organized way, which is specifically efficient when it comes to packing orders for shipments.
They can handle a variety of items, from boxes to bags, and complete these often repetitive tasks with ease.
Box-making, labeling, and sorting tasks can be tedious. This is why automation has become increasingly popular nowadays.
You can program robots to assemble boxes, apply labels (with shipping or product information), and sort packages based on size, weight, or destination. This level of automation streamlines the entire logistical shipping process on your end, making it faster and more reliable.
Robots play an important role in the packaging of medications into blister packs. Their high level of precision ensures that each blister pack contains the correct dose, while their speed allows for mass production.
Delta or SCARA robots are designed to perform repetitive tasks, such as placing tablets into blister packs, thanks to their fast and accurate mechanics.
Pipetting is a task that demands extreme accuracy. Robots equipped with pipetting mechanisms can handle liquids at microscopic levels, assisting in tasks like DNA sequencing or the mixing of chemical elements (i.e. lab work). A Cartesian robot or Delta robot is often used for this.
Robots are used for pick-and-place operations within the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. Whether it's sorting different types of pills for packaging or selecting medical instruments during a surgical procedure, their speed and accuracy make these processes much more efficient. Delta or Cobots (which you can work with side-by-side) are used to minimize the risk of contamination in these settings.
Industrial robots are essential in various electrical tasks, like placing tiny electronic components on circuit boards. Given the intricate and sensitive nature of these materials, highly specialized industrial robots are used.
Common types of robots used:
In the food and beverage industry, industrial robots are being used to improve efficiency, hygiene, and quality control. You can use robots for tasks such as sorting and grading fruits and vegetables; another handy, time-saving tool.
These robots are versatile and can be used for tasks like meat cutting or mixing ingredients.
Known for their speed and precision, SARA robots are often used in pick-and-place tasks, such as transferring baked goods onto conveyor belts.
These are commonly used for high-speed sorting and packaging tasks, like sorting fruits by size, weight, or quality.
Cobots work alongside human operators and are often used for tasks that require skill or decision-making, like final quality inspection.
In the aerospace and defense industries, robots are vitally important for maintaining high levels of precision. They are involved in a wide range of complex tasks, from material handling and component assembly to quality inspection and testing.
With their high degree of versatility, articulated robots are often used for complex assembly tasks, such as joining aircraft components.
Known for their speed and precision, SCARA robots are commonly used in tasks that require straight-line (linear) movements, such as putting in screws.
These robots do well in tasks that require straight-line movements and high precision. Often used in quality inspection processes.
Cobots are designed to work alongside human operators and are often used in tasks that require a high level of skill and attention to detail, such as final quality inspections.
In the construction and heavy machinery industries, robots offer advantages in speed, safety, and efficiency. Robots have been seen performing tasks, such as laying bricks, pouring concrete, and handling and transporting heavy materials around construction sites.
Common types of robots used:
The benefits of an industrial robot include increased efficiency, minimized errors, greater precision, and the ability to perform repetitive tasks for longer when compared to human workers.
Robotic arms can be found on Articulated, SCARA, and Collaborative (Cobot) robots. These arm-like structures work similarly to human arms, moving in various directions.
As you can see, the adaptation of robotic technology is not just a passing trend but rather a fundamental shift, offering unparalleled levels of efficiency, safety, and precision. Industrial robots already play a pivotal role across numerous sectors, from automotive to healthcare.
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