• May 24, 2024
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Robotics in Manufacturing

Robotics in Manufacturing

Presented by: Industrial Automation Australia

Automation in the manufacturing industry goes beyond just robotics. While the use of three- or six-axis robotic arms is a prominent aspect, enabling tasks like material handling and pick-and-place with greater speed and efficiency, automation encompasses a broader array of technologies and strategies.

Robotics in Manufacturing

Robotics, particularly industrial robots, play a crucial role in high-volume and repetitive processes. These robots, such as three- or six-axis robotic arms, excel in tasks that require precision and consistency, such as:

  • Material Handling: Moving and positioning materials along the production line.
  • Pick-and-Place Operations: Selecting and placing parts or products accurately and swiftly.
  • Heavy Lifting: Managing heavy objects that would be cumbersome or unsafe for human workers to handle.

Robots are programmed by controls engineers to perform tasks repetitively and precisely, ensuring uniformity and efficiency. Advanced robotic systems can be further programmed for flexibility, allowing them to adapt to varying tasks and conditions within the production line.

Beyond Robotics

However, automation also includes a variety of other technologies:

  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC): Machines that are controlled by programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, used for tasks like drilling, machining, and cutting.
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs): Mobile robots used for transporting materials around the manufacturing facility.
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs): Industrial digital computers used for automation of electromechanical processes, such as control of machinery on factory assembly lines.
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Networked devices that collect, exchange, and analyse data to improve manufacturing processes and maintenance.

Tailored Solutions

Not all manufacturing processes benefit equally from robotics. For low-volume or delicate production processes, alternative automation solutions might be more appropriate. Manufacturers need to:

  1. Define the Problem: Clearly identify the specific challenge or inefficiency in their production process.
  2. Evaluate Solutions: Consider various automation technologies, not just robotics, to find the most effective solution.
  3. Collaborate with Experts: Engage with experienced robotics integrators or automation specialists who can recommend and implement the best-fit technology to enhance efficiency, uptime, and quality.

Multi-Robot Dial Table Cell Example

In complex applications such as the automotive industry, multi-robot dial table cells can be utilized. These setups involve multiple robots working in tandem on a rotary table to perform sequential operations efficiently. This system can handle high volumes and ensure consistent quality, demonstrating the potential of integrated robotic solutions in specific sectors.

Automation in manufacturing is a multifaceted approach, with robotics being a significant but not exclusive part. The key to successful automation lies in selecting the right mix of technologies tailored to the specific needs of the manufacturing process, ensuring improvements in efficiency, reliability, and product quality.

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