The 3 Most Common Tasks Delegated to Robots in Manufacturing

Robots have well and truly entered the field of manufacturing, but what do they REALLY do?

People will sometimes worry about robots stealing their jobs, but if you see the jobs that robots perform, you’ll realize that these are mundane tasks that humans wouldn’t want to perform anyway.

Here are the three most common tasks you’ll find robots performing in today’s plants, whether they be automotive plants, or something else entirely:

1. Assembly

Thanks to the growth of collaborative robotics, the cost of implementing robots into the workplace has gone down significantly. These “cobots” come in lightweight models that work alongside people on the production floor. Their sensor and vision technology allows them to understand when humans are nearby and stop themselves before an accident occurs.

Small manufacturers are incorporating assembly into the fabrication line as costs go down and it’s safer to automate the welding process. Robots are also responsible for fixing, press-fitting, inserting, and disassembling products — in a consistent manner.

2. Packaging

SCARA (Selective Compliant Articulated) robots are commonly used in industrial settings. It has three joints in the horizontal part of the robot and one linear joint. This is combined with a vision system to give it the ability to move products from the conveyor belt to a package at a rapid pace. The joint structure also allows it to change the compliance (or softness) in its force.

3. Material Removal

In many cases, manufacturing involves finishing touches that include grinding, cutting, sanding, polishing, or other methods of material removal. Robots can fortunately perform this task as well. They can use abrasive tools to smooth out steel or polish a small piece of metal like the housing for jewelry. The use of force torque sensors allows them to apply a consistent level of pressure when performing material removal tasks.

Robotic material removal provides a consistent level of polish, which is excellent for mass production, and removes the need for safety concerns when workers normally work in this type of field. Humans shouldn’t breathe in the dust or fumes that material removal causes.

>> Read more by Mariane Davids, Robotiq, March 28, 2017