Venturing into the Collaborative Market
Automation in its broadest sense has expanded from its original industrial manufacturing base to laboratories and businesses.
Industrial Automation has always been part of manufacturing industry on limited basis. Over the past few decades automation has become a necessity in manufacturing industry due to global competition. This has helped in efficient manufacturing processes and in mass-production of goods. Automation is becoming inevitable globally in the manufacturing industry today.
All industrial processing systems turned to automation that is driven by the need for high accuracy, precision and performance of industrial processes. Thus, automation became an indispensable part of the manufacturing industry.
Automation in its broadest sense has expanded from its original industrial manufacturing base to laboratories and businesses. The application of robotics and automation has been successfully achieved in a wide range of industries dealing with well-defined processes and products like the manufacturing industry, FMCG, automotive industry, the healthcare industry, the pharmaceutical industry, to name a few.
With any big financial decision, it is important to be aware of some of the difficulties you may encounter. There are a few challenges with industrial automation like:
- A high initial investment – this is by far the most important challenge that the companies need to deal with. An initial investment will always be a lot higher as robotics have to be properly implemented into the operations of the business. Robotic automation has to be calculated while thinking about the greater financial budget of a company. The companies also have to think about possible maintenance costs. They can be high to deal with when the system is initially implemented.
- Not understanding initial needs – results will not be guaranteed if industrial robots will be incorporated. It is really important that the exact needs of the company are understood and considered when the system is implemented. ROI calculators are recommended and fully understanding the needs of the company is a necessity.
- Training needs – using robots means that some employees will have to be trained. You want to consider the amounts associated with this when you implement these robots.
Some of the advantages of industrial automation and investment in robots include:
Decreased Production Costs: A quick return on investment (ROI) outweighs the initial setup costs. With robots, throughput speeds increase, which directly impacts production.
Shorter Cycle Times: A lean manufacturing line is crucial for increasing efficiency. An automated robot has the ability to work at a constant speed without pausing for breaks, sleep, or vacations, and ultimately has the potential to produce more in a shorter time than a human worker.
Improved Quality and Reliability: Applications are performed with precision and high repeatability every time. It ensures the product is manufactured with the same specifications and process every time. Repairs are few and far between.
Better Floor Space Utilization: By decreasing a footprint of a work area by automating parts of your production line, you can utilize the floor space for other operations and make the process flow more efficient.
Reduced Waste: Robots are so accurate that the amount of raw material used can be reduced, decreasing costs on waste.
Attract More Customers: Reduction in schedule and cost attracts customers. Automation helps provide the highest throughput with least amount of spending.
Increased Safety: Robots increase workplace safety. Workers are moved to supervisory roles where they no longer have to perform dangerous applications in hazardous settings. Light screens or barriers are available to keep the operator out of harm’s way.
Expert at Multiple Applications: Automation in the manufacturing industry is the process of integrating industrial machinery to automatically perform a variety of applications such as welding, material handling, packing, palletizing, dispensing, cutting, etc.
With this idea of higher production rate and the need for human interaction with machine automation, the Collaborative robots were first developed in 2008 by Universal Robots. Universal Robots are the leading manufacturers of advanced user-friendly and light industrial robotic arms from Denmark. The human-robot collaboration is different from traditional robots. The idea is for humans and robots to be inter-dependent and achieve what each of them does best. There are a few things that must be done manually, whereas the accuracy, precision and mass production at higher efficiency is taken care of by the robots. Their latest technological advancement is in line with Industrial 4.0; which is in sync with the automated revolution in the manufacturing industry.
This approach is particularly appealing to the Indian Manufacturing Industry because labour-intensive conditions and the collaborative robots together can help the Indian market achieve the best of both worlds by making precise use of this distinctive technology.
Three robotic arms from Universal Robots namely UR3, UR5 and UR10 can incorporated into the various processes so that engineers could easily adapt the software to the specific needs for the required tasks. The easy programming, installation and collaborative nature of the industrial robot arms allow them to work side-by-side with the workforce for efficient, high-quality products.
A new generation of collaborative robots can usher in an era of shepherding robots out of their cages and literally work hand-in-hand with human workers who train them through physical demonstration. The collaborative robots were in line with Industrial 4.0 and have managed to fulfil the idea of humans and robots co-existing in a workplace. In the era of mass production, Universal Robots focus on mass personalization. Their emphasis is on increasing not only the production but also precision, efficiency, quality and the productivity of the industry.
Thus, the incorporation of collaborative robots will be a timely introduction to revolutionize the Indian industries which will bring optimization of processes, reduce waste, improve yield in production, with higher efficiency and precision. The functions that have already embraced automation will continue to prevail with incremental improvements from the normal cycle of technological innovation. Areas that are likely to witness quantum leaps will be in the integration between development work and manufacturing, efficiency and optimum utilization of robotics in the industry.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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