Automotive robots were not meant to take over the car manufacturing process wholly but to work hand-in-hand with humans. They compensate for staff shortages, increase productivity and produce quality products with minimal safety concerns.
While robots focus on production work, employees are redeployed to work on quality testing areas. Collaborative robots take over the strenuous and dangerous aspects of loading, inspection, and assembly while employees concentrate on programming and maintenance. The result is the production of affordable quality cars while maintaining lower manufacturing costs.
Today’s robots have visual characteristics that enable them to interact with changing surroundings. Automotive robots are an integral part of car manufacturing plants and are expected to continue evolving and become more sophisticated in the future.
Key Features of Automotive Robots
Collaborative robots can quickly adapt to changes or perform multiple functions upon configuration. Robots provide flexibility in car production by employing the use of machine vision systems and artificial intelligence. In addition, robots have the capability of trying out several options to complete assigned tasks.
Automotive robots perform single and highly repetitive tasks in structured environments. They usually are deployed to high-risk and hostile surroundings with radiations, excessive heat, and fluctuating lighting systems. Apart from configuration and servicing, robots hardly take leave due to fatigue.
With technological advances, the cost of manufacturing robots has reduced, and this has translated to affordable robots. If significant changes to a production line were made, robots could easily be redeployed at no or minimal cost.
Robots can be configured to work hand in hand with humans. Working with robots with no emotional connections will help companies register maximum output. The set production units are guaranteed to be constant as robots are preprogrammed; car production companies can then deal with overages or shortfalls.
Benefits of Automotive Robots
Quality End Products
Robots deal with inconsistencies by their ability to perform repeated complex tasks without variations. Its attention to detail is unmatched by humans prone to distractions and getting tired and bored. The finishing of the final product is similar to the first.
Secondly, robots work with precision, thus no room for errors, mistakes, and accidents, leading to mismatch and breakages. Automotive robots reduce risks of inferior final products, eliminate warranty costs, and guarantees excellent customer experience.
Thirdly, robotics reduce cycle times and facilitates real-time monitoring, which provides preventive maintenance. Robotics with machine vision systems can sense defects in the materials used and alerts the car production company.
Robots are swift and positioned to handle a particular task with ease and speed. Hence a single robot can effortlessly assemble several cars in a given time as compared to humans. Furthermore, robots have assisted car production companies in introducing 24/7 operations.
Secondly, robots have inspired automotive manufacturing companies to introduce a third shift, given that robots are not affected by fatigue. They can work without breaks and still maintain constant production. Robots do not require special treatment, are not affected by external factors, and cannot waste time.
Health and Safety at the Workplace
Robots take over the risky tasks of spot and arc welding, wheel mounting, and materials transfer. Car parts with sharp edges and molten metals can be dangerous to human employees. The frequent back-and-forth to the stores to get materials is tiresome and boring and might take a toll on the human employee.
Robotic hands worn by humans provide a solution to strains and fatigue and ensures a healthy workforce. Car production companies use robots in painting, coating, and sealing tasks which require consistency. Car paints are toxic and delicate and, if not handled well, lead to wastages.
Reduced Labor Costs
The need for a worker to oversee many operations is expensive. Robots free up employees to focus their skills and expertise elsewhere. Supervisors can then monitor the process from remote locations.
Although the initial costs of installing robots are high, the benefits are realized in the long run. A robot handling several units only needs maintenance and servicing once in a while.
Cost Cutting Measure
With minimal exposure to workplace risks and diseases, the company will not spend vast amounts on health and injury claims by its workforce. Heavy lifting, trips, twists, and falling objects may injure the workers. The robots solve the issue of medical claims and legal suits.
Additionally, robots’ precision characteristics cut down on wastes. Human error and mistakes may cost the company on wasted materials. Due to human limitations, employees will most likely be distracted and lose concentration. All areas of the car production line, from welding to painting, require extreme accuracy that can be achieved through concentration.
Future Trends of Collaborative Automotive Robots
Collaborative automotive robots are a dynamic and growing aspect of industrial automation. Through various customer tips, robots are improved and new ones developed to address customers’ changing needs.
While small companies operate on slim budgets, they are provided with affordable and easy-to-operate robots to configure to suit their plants. Initially employed in high-volume operations, advances in technology have provided opportunities for small and medium-sized units to acquire robots.
With the ever-changing technological advances, we expect to see cheaper robots in our day-to-day operations. Artificial Intelligence is proving to be a defining moment in our future lives.
Whereas robots cannot eliminate the human factor, it is noticeably clear that they guarantee speed, eliminate mistakes, and clock long hours. In turn, they guarantee quality and quantity while releasing employees to take charge of safe and high-level tasks.
Due to high initial investment, it is prudent to consider robots that can easily be configured when a company changes its operations in the future. It is also worthwhile to invest in employees and train them on the operation, maintenance, and programming of robots.
With all the above benefits, it appears the future of robots is guaranteed. As the cost of producing robots goes down, their prices also reduce. And most importantly, the sizes of robots are getting smaller compared to the initial cumbersome heavy-duty robots.