What’s Industrial Automation?


What’s industrial automation and why it’s so vital to success in in the present day’s aggressive manufacturing setting? On this article we’ll reply that query by exploring a few of the benefits of business robots whereas offering sensible examples of collaborative robots –a sort of business automation — in motion.
What’s the that means of business automation?
In its broadest sense, ‘industrial automation’ refers back to the {hardware} and software program instruments and related management methods, which can be used to exchange or complement human labor in industrial environments. Examples of automation usually present in manufacturing environments embody conventional industrial robots, collaborative industrial robots and cellular robotic platforms.
Machines can be utilized to automate particular jobs, however they don’t supply the identical degree of versatility and adaptability as robots. Merely put, robots are extra versatile than machines. Sometimes outlined as ‘common objective manipulators that may be programmed and re-programmed to carry out all kinds of duties,’ robots could be deployed on jobs from high quality inspection and meeting to machine tending and palletizing.
Not all industrial robots are the identical, nonetheless. Conventional robots are costly, comparatively static, have a big footprint, require in depth security measures reminiscent of fencing, and programming the robotic often requires an knowledgeable robotic engineer.
Collaborative robots (or ‘cobots’), which first got here on the scene simply over a decade in the past with the launch of Common Robots’ UR5 cobot, supply a unique paradigm: reasonably priced automation with a small footprint that’s straightforward to deploy –and redeploy—on a variety of duties. Cobots are additionally extremely cellular –they will simply be mounted on a cellular platform or lifted by dolly and moved to a unique a part of your facility as manufacturing schedules change.
Let’s take a better take a look at the benefits of industrial automation engineering expertise.
Some great benefits of utilizing collaborative robots
We’re going to discover 5 primary benefits of collaborative robots: security, flexibility, uniformity, productiveness, and affordability. As you’ll see shortly, these are all key the explanation why firms throughout the globe are relying increasingly on automated manufacturing that leverages the ability of cobots.
One of the crucial modern options of cobots, and a key differentiator between conventional industrial robots and collaborative robots, is that following a security evaluation cobots could be deployed proper beside human staff with out the necessity for particular security fencing. This reduces the general value of automation deployments whereas on the similar time decreasing employee accidents brought on by repetitively performing the identical duties, reminiscent of meeting, packaging, sanding and screwdriving. Deploying cobots permits staff to be deployed on extra ergonomic (and better worth) duties, whereas on the similar time eradicating the protection dangers related to conventional industrial automation.
Most factories might want to rework and replace their processes over time. Whether or not as a result of elevated manufacturing wants or a shift in how merchandise are made or a change in the kind of product being manufactured, these modifications are nearly inevitable.
Common Robots’ collaborative robots, could be simply tailored to carry out all kinds of duties, together with meeting, meting out, packaging, sanding, decide and place, welding, screwdriving, high quality inspection and plenty of others. Common Robots cobots are engineered to be simply programmable by most manufacturing worker following completion of a easy on-line course, additional including to the pliability of cobot-powered automation options.
When people carry out repetitive duties, errors are inevitable as staff can get distracted and fatigued and this can be very tough (and unergonomic) for people to carry out the identical bodily activity in precisely the identical method time and again all through a shift. Sadly, even probably the most minuscule of errors can have a major affect on the standard of a product.
Cobots get rid of this downside as a result of they will repeat the identical course of, over and over, with out deviation. There’s no simpler method to enhance the standard of a product that ensuring it’s constructed precisely to specification at each occasion. Conventional industrial robots supply reliability and consistency too however they’re much dearer and time-consuming to deploy than cobots.
Like their conventional robotic counterparts, cobots can be found 24/7 enabling busy producers to extend manufacturing and, the place mandatory, to beat labor shortages.
For instance, Swiss kitchen producer Franke, which manufactures greater than 10,000 kitchen sinks per 12 months, deployed a UR5 cobot to assist with the repetitive, low-impact manufacturing activity of meting out glue. The deployment enabled Franke to free staff from strenuous, repetitive duties, enhance the operational effectivity of its manufacturing line and cut back materials waste.