Robotic automation is the latest trending in the industrial automation segment for now. With their many advantages like increased productivity, reduced cycle times, increased safety and increased profits, they are slowly garnering all the attention for being the most efficient way to stay on top of the market. In simple words, using technology to have machines that will perform any given task automatically, repetitively and precisely is referred to as the industrial automation technology.
Types of industrial automation
Depending on the kind of industry and the type of task that is involved, the kind of automation technology used also varies. Some tasks can be dangerous or unsuitable for humans to get involved and here is where the robotic automation or automated
manufacturing technology comes into play. There are four major types of industrial automation that you can make use of namely,
- NC (Numerically Controlled) machines: A CNC mill will be the best example for these machines, where computers are used to analyze, cut and mill every piece with lesser errors and at a better speed. These machines basically make use of computers in order to execute operations by storing data, analyzing and calculating the right way to do it.
- Robots: This is when software or a robot is used to perform certain tasks automatically. The Robotic automation is mainly used in areas where it is harmful for humans to get involved in. The initial cost of setting up industrial robots might be huge but they do come with a very good ROI. These machines are capable of performing almost all the automated applications like assembly, welding, painting, palletizing, etc.
- FMS or Flexible Manufacturing Systems: This is an automation system which combines both Numerically controlled machines’ ability and the technology of robotic automation in it. These systems are capable of producing similar products with slight variation to the parts as programmed.
- CAM or Computer Aided Manufacturing: This is a step further than the FMS where computers are used to control the entire process of manufacturing including the FMS systems. A very commonly found example will be CAD where the computer programs are used to plan layouts, products, and also help with the designing the robotic automation
Thanks to these multiple types of industrial automations, we now do not have to depend on doing everything manually. And these processes are prone to lesser errors comparatively as well. Let us take a closer look at the Robotic Automation technology and the benefits associated with implementing the same in your industries.
What is Robotic Automation?
If you are looking for a textbook definition, then robotic automation is a set of programs designed to process, manipulate and analyze data, trigger the right responses and communicate with the multiple digital systems or machines. It is both automation of industrial as well as clerical processes and hence is found to be used in multiple industries.
Why should you deploy robots in your industry?
It is estimated that by the year 2018, there will be nearly 1.3 million robots deployed in multiple industries. And why wouldn’t they be? They do come with multiple advantages like precision and flexibility. Let us take a deep dive into the benefits of using robotic automation technology in your industrial area.
- Lower cost: Of course, the most important factor that works in the favor of the robotic automation is the fact that they involve lower production cost comparatively. While the initial set up cost might be high, the ROI far outweighs it in a very short period.
- Lesser cycle times: With a robot, there is no break or sleep or vacation or sickness to bother with. They can work nonstop for hours together making more than what humans can make in the same time.
- Precision and trustworthy: Irrespective of the number of times, you have to make the robots perform the same task, it will be performed with the utmost precision and you can trust the robotic automation technology to not let you down at any point.
- Decreased footprint: Now when you using these automated machines, the number of footprints or the space it occupies is rather less giving you more floor area to utilize on better and other innovative purposes.
- Reduction in wastage: A big driver behind the increased usage of robotic automation is the fact they make optimal usage of raw materials ensuring that you do not waste unnecessarily. Also the reduced cycle times, ensures that you deliver ahead of schedule, keeping your customers happy.
- Safety improved: When you have robots in play with hazardous production areas, you are minimalising the risks associated with having humans working in the same area. And the ROI makes it all the more enticing an investment.
Of course, given that there are multiple benefits associated with robotic automation, it is to be expected that there is a downside and a few to tackle with. Every major financial decision in your industry, which ever it may be, will face some tough situations or challenges. But you can always overcome these challenges by being prepared.
Common challenges and how to mitigate
- The initial set up cost is a very commonly raised concern among the industry players who want to invest in robotic automation Of course it is significant and so will be the maintenance costs in future. But what we need to really look at here is the ROI on your investment. Whether it is really worth to invest money in to a system should be your question.
- Another option you have that can help you to lower the set up cost considerably is to use the service of companies that provide you with used robots or rather second hand robotic automation You have to be however careful of the place you buy from and ensure that the systems are of the best order before paying up.
- You have to definitely impart training on how to handle these systems to all your employees, without which the system will not be a profitable investment. Again, you can get someone in the market, who are professionals in giving such trainings to do so. These will cost you financially but are worth the money as your employees will perform much better with the training to guide them.