Industrial Robots in the Home Appliance Industry

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For years industrial robots have been used to automate the assembly of many of the components that go inside larger home appliances. These include circuit boards, motors, pumps, and compressors. When it comes to the actual assembly of home appliances themselves, industrial robot arms have been mainly left on the sidelines with manufacturers opting for manual and semi-automated methods. However, recently there has been a push to introduce more robotic automation in the home appliance industry. Manufacturers are starting to replace their assembly lines with the ABB 6700-175/3.05 and other robotic manipulators in the industry.

Why Home Appliance Manufacturers are Automating with Robots

Several reasons have led to the increase in robotic automation in the home appliance industry. Manufacturing in the industry have realized they need more flexibility within their productions due to shorter product cycles. Increased global competition along with advancing technology has led to shorter product cycles. Home appliance makers need the ability to quickly adjust their operations or change product lines. Assembly robot allow for greater flexibility. The FANUC R-2000ib can be used for multiple projects with its multipurpose application capabilities. Robot manipulators can be reprogrammed and redeployed when changes arise, allowing manufactures to quickly adjust product lines.

Increased consumer demand has also led to the automation of home appliance assemblies. In order to meet consumer demand, manufacturers need to increase productivity. Factory robots increase productivity with their speed, efficiency, and long operation hours.

With more competition due to the expansion of the global marketplace, appliance manufacturers need to maintain a competitive edge. Automating appliance manufacturing lowers production costs, which allows companies to sell their products at competitive prices. Manual manufacturing results in higher costs which makes it difficult for appliance makers to offer consumer friendly prices.

Increasing labor shortages is another factor driving the automation of appliance manufacturing. Many workers are leaving manual labor positions. Companies are having a difficult time finding new workers, leaving many factories short staffed. Articulated robots fill in the these labor gaps and reduce turnover issues. Six axis robots can provide consistent and reliable labor.

Lastly, many appliance manufacturers are automating with robots to improve product quality. Home appliances have become more technological, making them more complex to assemble. Greater assembly complexity increases the chance of human error, which can have major functional implications for the appliance. Industrial robotic arms are programmed for accuracy allowing them to effectively automate complex assemblies, mitigate errors, and improve quality.

Types of Robots Automating Appliance Manufacturing

Articulated and SCARA robots are the most common types of industrial robots being used to automate home appliance manufacturing. Six-axis robots in particular are favored for automating appliance manufacturing processes. Their full range of motion provides the mobility needed to assemble larger household appliances such as refrigerators. Higher payload robots are ideal for handling and lifting the heavy components of large home appliances. Articulated robots are also incredibly versatile, allowing manufacturers to automate multiple applications. Articulated robots are a used to automate packaging, finishing, assembly, material handling, painting, gluing, welding, and matching in the industry. While SCARA robots are mainly used for assembling the small parts that go into the appliances.

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