March 17, 2022
How Robotics is Changing the Manufacturing Sector
By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
Los Angeles Bizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Sofvue, LLC and the author
Robotics are now used in virtually every industry, and the manufacturing sector is no exception. Robotics help manufacturers automate various processes, handle raw materials, work 24/7, and lower operational costs. They never take a break, they never have to go to the potty, don’t ask for vacation time and they never get sick.
More and more manufacturing companies have started leveraging robotics to their advantage, but truth be told, this trend started in the 1860’s during the industrial revolution. The only thing that’s changed is the marvel of technology and engineering that produce today’s modern robotics. The worldwide shipping of industrial robots is expected to reach 453,000 by the end of 2022, up from 384,000 in 2020. Furthermore, the number is forecasted to reach 518,000 in 2025. By 2030, there could be as many as a million new industrial robots being shipped annually, and the trend is not slowing down for at least the next four or five decades.
The number of orders validates the ‘robotics’ model and indicate that businesses are getting positive results from the use of robotics in their operations. But the question is how? How are robotics used in the manufacturing sector? That’s exactly what we will discuss today. Let’s get started!
Top Applications of Robotics in the Manufacturing Sector
1. Improved Productivity
Robots never get tired. They can work without breaks and faster than humans. They also don’t tire of doing the same monotonous task over and over again.
Robots are especially useful in conditions involving tasks that are too dangerous for humans to perform, such as handling chemical and hazardous substances. This minimizes the risk of accidents while still keeping people safe. I was once involved with a robotics application project involving the painting of panels used in a metal fabrication process for an electronics assembly cluster. At first I was perplexed why the company would want to do the project, but I soon learned that the paint being used for the paining process produced dangerous fumes. There was also an issue with the Phoenix summertime heat and the potential for spontaneous combustion. As it turned out, the ability to add paint and allow a robot to perform the “dirty” task of painting the panels was a perfect scenario for a robot and a software application to work hand in hand together.
2. Robots work around the Clock
As mentioned above, robots can work without breaks. This means that manufacturing activities can continue 24/7, if necessary. As the demand for products increases, a company can use robotics to “activate” or “deactivate” manufacturing capacity or volume, all with the click or tap of a few buttons.
3. Painting Vehicles
Vehicle manufacturers often use painting robots to do the detailing work on cars. Since robots are programmed to perform the exact same task perfectly, it ensures consistency in painting the car. This certainly doesn’t replace specialty painters who are more artisans than painter, but for mass production purposes, robots are hard to beat. Besides, industrial painting robots help standardize the distance and path the automatic sprayer takes. This also eliminates the risk caused by manual paint over spraying which has both health benefits and lessens the amount of paint needed for a paint job.
Utilizing robots for inspections in the manufacturing sector is experiencing a sharp increase, especially as the cost of inflation rises, driving pay scales higher, making robots more cost effective. High-quality robots are very good at detecting cracks, flaws, corrosion and erosion, and other detrimental material changes that are either hard to detect by a person, or too dangerous a job for a human to do. In addition, robots use a sensor that helps determine whether the part is consistent with the original engineering and quality specifications called for, and with augmented reality tools, can even measure components to verify whether they meet engineering standards. This saves employee time while simultaneously ensuring quality production.
5. Integration of Parts
Robots can more efficiently integrate different parts with higher speed than humans, not just higher accuracy, but in much faster time, which helps increase productivity rates. These robots are commonly used to tighten nuts and bolts with exacting X pounds of torque, place components into circuit boards, and perform similar tasks. Inspection robots are also used to ensure there are no defects or inconsistencies in the products.
6. Internal Logistics
Robotics can be very effective in managing internal logistics. For example, forklifts can be used in production facilities to move materials to the factory floor. The Ford Motor Company uses robotics in its Spain factory to deliver necessary materials to the factory floor and who among us haven’t seen the Amazon video’s with robots moving merch from rows of shelved products directly to a human who sorts and assembles packages for delivery. They can also lift heavier materials and transport them without any obstacles.
The Future of Robotics in the Manufacturing Sector
As discussed, robotics are used for a variety of applications in the manufacturing sector. As technology improves and as the costs of building robots falls, and it will, robots will likely become more collaborative, convenient, and smarter in the coming years. They will also help transform the entire manufacturing process in ways that today seem like science fiction.
Looking to leverage robotics in your manufacturing business? You’ll also need application systems that help you manage robotic operations, or at a minimum, software that allows humans and robots to interact seamlessly with one another. At Los Angeles Bizz, we can help you do both.
Los Angeles Bizz is a top mobile app development company serving Los Angeles and the surrounding communities. We have in-depth experience in the field of manufacturing, and we can help you maximize operations using custom designed software for your manufacturing process. Hire our app developers that will help you build a mobile app for your business. Give us a call at 909-997-4393 and let’s talk about your next great project.