Benefits of using Robots for Automating your Manufacturing Process
Robots are finding their way into many traditional industries that primarily depended on manual labor. The manufacturing industry is also one of the traditional industries that have been dependent mainly on human labor for so long. But as time changed and the world experienced Industry 4.0 revolution, the need for automation started to increase.
This article will explain how to automate manufacturing processes with robots and why it is the need of the hour.
What is Robotic Automation?
Automation is a process through which industries can get the job done with minimal or no human assistance. Automation is all about giving commands to the machines through which the operations can be run and monitored in a working unit. The automation process uses robots controlled by specific software and electro-mechanical systems and are designed to perform repetitive tasks that take a long time to finish when performed manually.
The types of robots that are used for automating the manufacturing process are industrial robots. These robots can perform simple to complex tasks, including Pick and Place, Inspection, Machine Tending, and many other applications.
Manufacturers have started to rely on Robotic automation to stay competent and efficient in the continually growing market. Robotic automation increases productivity, but it also empowers the manufacturing business owners and workers by simplifying their jobs.
Challenges faced by the Manufacturing Industry
Dependence on manual work
Currently, most of the manufacturing processes are largely dependent on manual work. Manual operations are time-consuming, and they demand a lot of hard work and strength from the human workers. Dependence on manual labor is the most significant factor in slowing down operations, lesser productivity, and increased costs.
Robots are all about avoiding this dependence on manual work through automation. Manufacturing industries need automation to improve their productivity.
Insufficiently skilled workers
Another challenge that the manufacturing industry is currently facing is a scarcity of skilled workers. Skilled workers are difficult to find, and because of the increasing competition, the number of job switch percent of factory workers is getting higher. Companies can reduce their dependence on skilled workers through robots that can work as multiple skilled workers combined.
Lack of productivity
Due to primarily being labor-intensive and depending heavily on manual operations, manufacturing industries lack to meet the market’s increasing demands. Consumers do not like to wait for the deliverables, and they want everything fast. Because of the lack of automation, manufacturing processes are slow, energy-consuming, and lack uniformity. The productivity of the manufacturing industry gets adversely affected due to the lack of automation.
Longer operation time
Human workers have their limitations, and they can not work as fast as machines; manual functioning results in more time consumption for completing a certain amount of work. Though human workers are an essential part of industries, there are places where only brainless labor is required. There’s plenty of work that’s repetitive and can be automated. By automating the repetitive tasks, manufacturing industries can save operation time to deliver faster results. At the same time, they can employ the human workforce for more essential operations.
What are the types of robots that can be used for the manufacturing process?
6- Axis Articulated Robots/Cobot
6-Axis Articulated Robots and Cobots are types of industrial robots that are popularly used in the manufacturing industries. 6-Axis robots/cobots are flexible, and they are suitable to perform applications like machine tending, pick and place, assembly, packing and palletizing, welding, material removal, dispensing, and inspection. Articulated robots resemble human arms, and they are suitable to work in dirty, dangerous, difficult, and dull environments.
SCARA stands for Selective Compliance Articulated Robot Arms. SCARA robots can move and rotate, and they work on 4 Axis. SCARA robots perform lateral movement and perform vertical assembly very well. They are best suited for high-speed pick and place and packaging applications.
Cartesian Robots are three-axis robots, and they are also known as a gantry or linear robots. Cartesian robots make linear movements along the X, Y, and Z-axis that can be up and down, side by side, or in and out. The users can easily adjust the speed, and stroke length, and size of the cartesian robots. They are flexible and best suited for applications like pick and place, inspection, dispensing, and assembly.
Delta robots, also known as the spider robots, have three arms that are connected with a base that is mounted on top of the workspace. The delta robot’s three arms can work with high-speed and precision, and these robots are best suited for fast pick and place operations. Other than pick and place, Delta robots are also used for assembly and inspection.
Applications that can be automated in the manufacturing process
A wide range of applications can be easily automated through robots and increase the manufacturing unit’s productivity and efficiency.
- Material Handling: The material handling process involves the placement of products in different locations with robots’ help. This process can be repetitive, time-consuming, fatiguing, and tedious for human workers. Robots are specialized to reduce time consumption and to increase productivity in the material handling process.
- Pick and Place: The pick and place process includes picking up equipment, parts, and other items and placing them in different machines or locations. Robots can help to simplify the Pick and Place process. Pick and Place robots perform the task more efficiently, and they also free human workers from manual jobs so that they can indulge themselves in more meaningful work.
- Machine Tending: Machine tending is another labor-intensive process that includes constant loading of material on the machines (CNC Turning- Milling, Press machine, Injection Molding, Furnaces Etc), unloading them once the operation is over. With the help of robots, the time and energy consumption in machine tending can be reduced. Robots also provide uniformity and structure to the material handling process.
- Material Removal: The manufacturing industry’s material removal process refers to removing the excess metal from the final product. The material removal process requires high precision and accuracy. Robots improve the precision and accuracy and reduce the scope of human errors in the material removal process.
- Welding: Welding is a vital process in manufacturing. It requires alertness, precision, attention to detail, and consistent quality. In the case of human workers, the chances of flaws are more. Robots reduce the scope of errors with precise welding. They also avoid reworking and save human workers from possible injuries and accidents that can occur during welding.
- Assembly Solutions: The assembly process in manufacturing is about joining various parts to create the final product. The Assembly process requires precision and cautiousness. It is natural for humans to make errors while performing such high precision tasks. Therefore, robots help in standardizing and automating the process and reduce the chances of errors.
- Packaging and Palletizing: Packaging and palletizing is a labor-intensive process that involves packaging the final product and palletizing them. Because of manual operations, it is difficult to standardize the packaging and palletizing process. With robots, this process can be easily standardized, and therefore, the efficiency of operations can be enhanced.
- Painting: In manufacturing, painting is one of the processes that come at the finishing end. The final products of manufacturing can be of different sizes and shapes. Robots can be used for a consistent, dripping free painting in the manufacturing process, which can be challenging to do manually.
- Vision Inspection: Vision inspection is one of the most crucial applications in manufacturing. Inspection is required to detect the flaws and ensure the best possible quality of the deliverables. With the help of robotic automation, it is easy to detect the flaws and determine the accuracy.
Benefits of using robots
Reduced Labor cost and increased labor productivity
Automation through robots in the manufacturing process reduces labor costs and increases labor productivity. Because of robots, many manual operations get automated, and the requirement for human assistance reduces. Also, because of the automated processes, productivity increases as the robots help perform repetitive tasks more efficiently.
Higher efficiency and productivity
Higher efficiency and productivity can be achieved when; production time is less, the cost of production is less, and when the errors are minimum during the production.
One of the primary goals for adopting automation is to improve production time, reduce costs, and minimize errors. Therefore, robots bring efficiency and productivity by achieving all three of these crucial goals.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns in the manufacturing industry. Several activities are hazardous and expose human workers to constant threats of injuries and accidents. One significant benefit of automation is that robots can replace humans in operations that involve any kind of health risk and the ones that are tedious and fatiguing. This replacement makes the workplace safer and, at the same time, allows the human workers to engage in tasks that demand more knowledge, intuition, and creativity.
Reduced manual operations
Automation can reduce multiple manual tasks that can be repetitive, tiring, and boring for the workers. Robots can perform repetitive manual tasks with more precision and at a much better speed than humans.
Reduced overall time
Manual operations have contributed to widening the gap between order and delivery over time. Time can be the making or breaking factor when it comes to the client. Every client expects the work to be done as soon as possible, and with manual operations, it’s not always possible. Automation benefits the manufacturing industry by reducing the overall time of production and keeps the clients satisfied.
Automation through robots is highly beneficial for the manufacturing industry. Automation is the way for manufacturing industries to keep up with the continually changing market and increasing demands. The manufacturing process can be revolutionized with automation and is beneficial for both businesses and clients.