What Applications are Ideal for Robotic Automation?
Robotic automation has been revolutionizing manufacturing applications for decades. Robots are replacing traditional production lines across a number of industries from the automotive to the electronics to even the food industry. Today’s industrial robots are autonomous, intelligent, durable, and sophisticated machines that are capable of automating just about any production related task.
Manufacturing applications that are ideal for robotic automation are ones that are highly repetitive, high-volume, and require precision. Robots have high repeatability making them capable of performing the same task over and over accurately, unlike with human workers. Tasks that are dangerous or hazardous for humans are also well suited for robotic automation. Robots can lift heavy objects, be exposed to fumes or particles, and perform strenuous movements repeatedly without failure.
Advancements in robotic technology has led to the expansion of robotic automation for more complex processes. The integration of robotic vision systems, force sensors, or anti-collision software enhances the operation of industrial robots and provides them with more autonomy. Robotic automation can be deployed for processes with a high mix of parts, complex paths, or even low production volumes. A FANUC M20ia will be able to recognize and adapt automatically when parts change in the middle of operation when integrated with a vision system.
Automating production related tasks with robots improves productivity rates, product quality, and overall production efficiency. Robotic automation is much faster than manual processes allowing for higher throughputs, reduced cycle times, and ultimately increased productivity. Reducing the amount of human interaction during manufacturing helps to eliminate errors that compromise product quality. Faster cycle times, improved product quality, and the reduction of human labor will lead to a reduction in costs. Through robotic automation operation efficiency is achieved allowing manufacturers to stay competitive and grow their operations.
Popular Applications for Robotic AutomationAs mentioned above, robotic automation is suitable for most production related tasks. Welding, assembly, palletizing, pick and place, and painting are some of the most popular applications.
- • Welding - Robotic automation is typically used to for both spot and arc welding. Robotic welding processes account for almost fifty percent of all robot applications. The FANUC Arcmate 120ic and Motoman MA1400 are ideal for performing robotic arc welding processes, while the FANUC R2000ib/210F is designed specifically to automate spot welding.
- • Assembly - Due to the high repeatability and accuracy of articulated robots, assembly has become popular for robotic automation. A FANUC M10ia is more capable of assembling parts with tight tolerances or complex configurations than a human worker.
- • Palletizing - With the heavy lifting requirements of palletizing it is not suitable for manual labor. Changes in pallet and packaging materials have resulted in the need for a flexible automation solution instead of traditional palletizers, leading to the adaption of palletizing robots. Four-axis robots are ideal for palletizing with their payload capacities and extra stability for moving heavy pallets.
- • Pick and Place - Pick and place applications tend to involve highly repetitive movements that require moving large product volumes, making them ideal for factory robots. A ABB 1200 can pick parts and place them on conveyors around the clock, helping to keep productions running smoothly.
- • Painting - Producing even, smooth paint finishes is critical to the aesthetic and overall quality of manufactured goods. The precise, controlled movements of six axis robots make them ideal for automating painting tasks. Fumes and flammable chemicals associated with industrial paints is another reason why automating with industrial robots is best.