In today’s manufacturing facilities, it is common to see a FANUC Arcmate 120ic or a Motoman HP20 working along production lines. There are many types of robotic applications that have been deployed across numerous industries. The use of robots is only expected to continue to grow as robotic applications become more advanced and intelligent. Below is a look at some of the ways robotic applications improve manufacturing.
- Reduce Errors - Manual manufacturing processes can be prone to errors. Humans are not capable of replicating their exact actions for every workpiece. Delicate parts can be mishandled causing them to brake. While inconsistencies in welding seams, painting, or assembly processes can lead to parts being scrapped, costing both time and money. Robotic applications help to reduce errors from occurring during manufacturing. Automating processes with robots results in consistent, reliable and quality productions. Robots are designed for tasks requiring high repeatability and precision. Tasks are completed accurately, decreasing or eliminating mistakes altogether. The FANUC Lr Mate 200id is one of the most popular used industrial robots in manufacturing because of its high repeatability and accuracy.
- Speed-Up Cycle Times - Cycle times are often viewed as a key performance indicator for many manufacturers. Cycle times can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line as the saying “time is money” is true in manufacturing. The quicker products are able to reach consumers, the better as less cost is involved and profits can be realized sooner. A key advantage of automating applications with robotics is the increase of speed of cycle times. Robots operate at much faster speeds than workers. They are programmed to move from part to part without delays, hesitation, or unnecessary stoppages. In addition, they can turn a 12-hour operation into a 24-hour operation since they can work around the clock. Throughput rates are increased, allowing products to move through productions faster and be finished in shorter amounts of time. For example, the FANUC M-1ia can transfer 100 parts per minute, getting parts to work stations much quicker than manual transfer methods.
- Eliminate Skills Gaps - Labor shortages and skills gaps have been plaguing manufacturers in recent years. Companies are having a difficult time finding the skilled labor needed to fill manufacturing positions as more of the workforce is turning away from manual labor jobs. Worker shortages can cause slow productions, delays, and even complete stoppages, all of which are costly to business. Converting manual processes into robot applications has helped manufacturers solve their skills gap issues. This has been especially apparent for the welding sector. Companies have been able to close the welding skills gap through robotic applications. A Yaskawa MA1400 can be programmed or integrated with vision to complete welds the same, if not better, as a skilled welder. With robots manufacturers do not have to worry about turnover or spend time searching for skilled labor. Robotic applications can be programmed and readily deployed when needed.
- Increase Productivity - With today’s global markets, manufacturers are facing increasing consumer demands. Productivity quotas have been increased along with the automation of applications with robots to meet these demands. Robotic applications increase productivity levels because robots have a higher output capacity than humans. Their faster operating speeds, 24/7 operation, and high precision all elevate productivity levels, keeping companies competitive.