The use of robotic automation has been accelerating over the past few years. More companies are implementing industrial robots than ever before. As the demand for industrial robots continues to grow new innovations and trends have emerged in robotic automation. Below is a look at what is new with robotic automation.
Growth of Cobots
The development of cobots has revolutionized robotic automation. Now manufacturers have the ability to place robots and workers on the same production line, increasing productivity while improving work conditions for employees. Cobots have become especially critical as many companies deal with on-going labor shortages. The Universal UR10 can be up and running within just a few hours, filling in where needed with its adaptability and easy programming. The intuitive nature of cobots is fueling their growth which only continues to accelerate. Cobots were initially used for automating material handling processes, but as their demand grows so do their capabilities. Now welding automation and material removal cobots is available. More manufacturers are entering the collaborative robot market too. Yaskawa Motoman recently developed their HC cobots. FANUC has recently launched a second line of collaborative robots, the CRX series, to compliment their original cobot line, the CR series.
Adoption of Robotics in Non-Traditional Industries
Manufacturing robot arms have become commonplace in industries such as the automotive sector. However, many other industries have been hesitant to transition to robotic automation. That is no longer the case with rising labor issues and high consumer demand, industries avoiding robotic automation are now adapting industrial robot arms. These include the construction, logistics, and food industries. With less manual labor available many companies are realizing the necessity to automate with robot manipulators. The adoption of articulated robots in non-traditional industries will only continue to expand the capabilities and technology of robotics.
Six axis robots are also becoming more intelligent with the increasing role of AI technology. The first robotic manipulators lacked intelligence and could only perform simple, highly repetitive tasks. Today’s factory robots can take on more variability with applications. The integration of AI with robotic automation has made robots smarter. With AI technology industrial robotic arms can quickly recognize and adapt to changes while operating, eliminating extra programming and downtime. They can predict when and where they will need maintenance, simplifying the upkeep of robotic systems. AI technology also allows robots to better mimic human behavior for smoother workforce integrations and fine-tuned motor skills.
Predictive Robot Maintenance
Robotic maintenance is also evolving from scheduled, generalized maintenance tasks to being conducted when actually needed for specific components. Robots equipped with predictive maintenance are able to self-monitor their systems, alerting users when maintenance or a repair is needed along with a course of action. This streamlines maintenance tasks and allow for greater uptime.
Robots Creating More Desirable Jobs
With record high turnover it is critical for employers to create more desirable jobs to better retain employees and that is exactly what robotic automation is doing. The fear that robots will replace human workers has been fading as the FANUC LR Mate 200id and other handling robots are taking over repetitive, mundane processes. This is relieving workers from undesirable job duties allowing them to focus more valuable tasks. Robots also are creating better jobs as more robot technicians, operators, and engineers are needed with the growth of robotic automation.
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