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The Advantages of Robotics for Manufacturing

Today's robotic advancements are a far cry from David Cameron's apocalyptic version of the future envisioned in the Terminator. Rather, the rise of the machines has revolutionised the production line, bringing about a raft of benefits and cost savings, for the Process Industries. In this article, PIF explores the merits of robotics for manufacturing.

What are the benefits of robotics?

Robots offer manufacturers a multitude of benefits. They can operate in unsafe, hazardous environments; they're consistent accuracy reduces errors and ultimately wastage and cost; they can work continuously, without the need for rest, holidays or tea breaks; and they excel at carrying out repetitive, often boring, tasks that could otherwise lead to accidents when handled by a human operative. In short, they're a shot in the bionic arm for plant productivity.

Robotics in food production

What Robotic advancements have been made recently?

Robotics is evolving away from the large, complex, and expensive industrial robotics toward inexpensive, smaller, and safer people-friendly systems,” says Dick Slansky, a Senior Analyst at the ARC Advisory Group. “This new generation of robots will not only look more human, but will be taking on human tasks, both in the workplace and even in the home.

Slansky adds, “Today’s robotic systems also benefit from the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI). These AI software systems allow robots to function more autonomously and to make decisions based on the situations encountered.” Google's self-driving car is a prime example.

What robotics products are available?

A case in point for Slansky's theories is Rethink Robotics' quizzically featured industrial aid, Baxter, who uses “behaviour-based ‘common sense’” to learn new skills and adapt to his environment. With no safety cages, complex programming or costly integration needed – and a very economical price tag of $25,000 (USD) for the base unit – could this be the future of automated manufacturing for small manufacturers?

Mitsubishi Electric's range of advanced MELFA robots offer speed, accuracy and compact design. Not to mention long life and class leading benefits for small-medium robot applications. The product range includes the almost universal articulated-arm robots with six degrees of freedom and payloads of two to 20 kilograms. SCARA robots have four degrees of freedom and payloads of three to 20 kgs for assembly and palletising tasks. While the F-Q-series features complete PLC functionality.

Who are the Robotics Leaders'?

As you may have gathered, Mitsubishi Electric are a major force in the world of robotics. They've been supplying automation products and solutions to the UK for over 35 years. They support industries such as water, food and beverage, process, packaging, rail and pharmaceutical. A number of their services and solutions aim to address issues important to corporate, end user, systems integrator and OEM businesses. For example increased productivity, operational efficiency, energy management, life cycle engineering, security, service, training and solutions from plant to business.

robots in automotive industry

The KUKA Group is also one of the world’s leading suppliers of robots and automated production systems and solutions. KUKA Robotics is one of the three market leaders in the field of industrial robotics in the automotive industry worldwide and number one in Europe. In Europe and North America, KUKA Systems is one of the two leading suppliers of automation solutions for the automotive industry. The KUKA Group is now applying more than 30 years of automotive expertise towards developing innovative automation solutions for other branches of industry, like medical technology, solar and aerospace.

So, are you fan of robotics? Has it revolutionised your plant's work practices and productivity? Or do you think we're overly reliant on technology and that robots are pushing out the human talent? Leave your comment below.

Industry Expert

David Wilson

I have over 30 years experiencing managing and owning Process Industry companies. As a trained engineer with a Masters’ degree in C&I, I have significant technical product and application knowledge

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