Analyzing Robotics, Automation and the Factory of the Future
Today, the world is experiencing the rapid evolution of entirely automated production equipment as a result of flexible, more capable, and cheaper technologies. Still, companies face a challenge when it comes to determining the best way to exploit their power.
At Universal Robots, a leading robot manufacturing company, the production of industrial robots is executed by industrial robots under the supervision of a specific number of employees per shift. Recently, the use of robots in the company has outnumbered the number of human employees. Since the introduction of robotic operations, many companies have been slowly eliminating human labor in different factories.
In some of the production concepts especially where material flows and manufacturing tasks are fully executed automatically, robots are increasingly becoming a common aspect of advanced manufacturing. Somehow, the current automation wave will be compelled by circumstances similar to those that introduced automation and robotics in the workplace in the beginning.
These are, to enhance accuracy, cut down on variability, and improve quality, and take over redundant, dangerous, and dirty tasks from human employees, as well as reduce manufacturing expenses by substituting expensive humans with machines that are cheaper.
The most evolved automation systems today come with extra capabilities as illustrated below. These facilitate their use in environments that are currently non-suitable for automation. Additionally, they facilitate the acquisition of new value sources in manufacturing.
· Dropping Robot Prices
The increase in robot production has seen a drop in their prices. According to a robots.com report, ordinary robot prices dropped by approximately more than a half in actual terms as well as in relation to labor expenses. Demand for evolving economies is encouraging robot production costs further down. In the future, robots are expected to be cheaper in the near future.
· Handy Talent
Individuals with the expertise needed to operate, design, maintain, and install robotic production systems are increasingly becoming available. Unlike in the past when robotic engineers were expensive and rare to find, these subjects are taught in colleges and schools across the world as part of comprehensive education in regards to engineering outline for manufacture, on manufacturing technologies, or in dedicated programs.
Software availability such as offline programming and simulation packages systems capable of assessing robotic applications has minimized engineering risk and time. What’s more, they have made the programming of robots cheaper and easier.
· Ease of Assimilation
Advancements in software evolution techniques, computing power, and networking technologies have made it possible to maintain, install, and assemble robots faster and at a cheaper cost than before. For instance, in the past actuators and sensors had to be connected individually to robot controllers complete with wiring dedicated through terminal connectors, junction boxes, and frames.
Today, they utilize plug and play technologies where components could be linked by the use of simple network wiring. The components are capable of identifying themselves to the control system automatically which cuts down the setup time. These actuators and sensors can audit and feed the control system with their status report all by themselves.
This assists process regulation and data collection for continuous enhancement, maintenance, and regulation purposes. Other network technologies and standards make robot linking to more production systems simpler.
· Highly Volatile Tasks
Advancements in sensor technologies and artificial intelligence enable robots to execute a higher task to task volatility magnitude. Their ability to conform their actions to respond to change within their environment provides automation opportunities in various areas which include handling of agricultural products where the part to part volatility is substantial.
In some countries, trials have shown that robots can reduce up to 45 percent of the time needed to harvest strawberries. This can be achieved by the use of a stereoscopic imaging system to establish the fruit’s location and its ripeness. These abilities also propel quality enhancements in numerous sectors.
Smarter, cheaper, and more flexible automation is revolutionizing manufacturing in multiple ways. Even though the technology is expected to become easier to deploy, business determinations will not. In order to tap the entire value of favorable circumstances that the new systems bring along, companies should adopt a systematic and comprehensive approach and affiliate their automation concept according to the current and future business requirements.