BARA Expert Advice: The Benefits of Robots
As robotics and artificial intelligence have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. This has created a plethora of opportunities for automation in the manufacturing industry. Automation and robotics promise to transform manufacturing production lines, with an array of benefits for business owners, employees, consumers and the economy at large.
The British Association of Robots and Automation (BARA) is the organisation at the forefront of championing these developments. Along with providing a voice for the robotics and automation industries, convening with government, industry, financial and academic institutions, BARA offers expert support to the end-user community. The organisation’s expertise and support makes it one of the leading names in robotics and automation.
It is estimated that what is known as ‘Industry 4.0’ technology will add £450 billion to the UK economy over the next 10 years. Robotics and automation are expected to account for £180 billion of this sum. What’s more, significant government support, pledging investment and grants for businesses which take on these new technologies, make it easier for the Manufacturing industry to grasp the opportunities offered by robotics.
These are some of the many benefits to be gained from employing robotic automation processes in your organisation, according to BARA and explored in more detail in this talk from BARA Chairman, Mike Wilson:
The Benefits of Robotics in Manufacturing
1. Accuracy and Consistency
Human error has long been a necessary evil in manufacturing. If human workers are required on a production line, a certain margin of error should be tolerated. Robotic systems, however, are by nature both accurate and consistent in their output. Therefore, error and subsequent waste is dramatically reduced, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the production line.
2. Efficiency and Output
A human worker must take breaks and work set shifts. Robots need no such breaks. As machinery can be programmed to work continuously, production can continue around the clock, boosting productivity proportionately. The automotive industry, for example, has seen a 50% increase in productivity through robotic process automation (RPA) since 2009.
In the past, a new factory infrastructure would be required for each new iteration of a product which is, of course, both costly and time-consuming. Software-controlled robots, on the other hand, can be reprogrammed at any point to incorporate design changes and other alterations without overhauling the production line infrastructure.
Human staff on the production line would also need to be retrained or briefed on any changes, meaning further lost production time. With a reduction of human staff on the production line, and agile software to power it instead, production can continue relatively uninterrupted. This flexibility is important in cases where products are regularly upgraded (such as electronics).
4. Better Jobs for Humans
Working on the production line can be incredibly risky, with health and safety challenges a serious concern for employers and employees alike. One of the benefits of robots in manufacturing is the chance to remove human workers from harm’s way, elevating them to more meaningful roles within the company.
Some may have worried that jobs would be lost to robots due to automation. In fact, the opposite is true. By automating monotonous and manual tasks, humans are now being elevated to roles where their skills and abilities can be used and developed, and with the development of new skills comes career progression and better income.
What’s more, automation in Manufacturing has the added benefit of creating new roles that did not previously exist. Robots will need servicing, and software developers, programmers and other experts will be required to keep the automated production line running smoothly.
To survive in a competitive and fast-changing industrial landscape and to remain profitable and competitive, it is necessary to stay abreast of technological developments and master them ahead of your competitors.
History shows us that those who adopt technology earlier are those which survive longer, whilst those which fail to innovate ultimately end up closing their doors. Robotics and automation are serious business, and now is the time to act.
Finding Robotics Companies with PPMA
BARA and PPMA have been working together since 2009 to provide support for and to develop the Manufacturing community.
PPMA has an extensive database of companies offering robotics and automation machinery, both in the UK and internationally. Our database includes machinery for everything from processing and packaging through to ancillary manufacturing machinery and robot vision. To search for the right supplier for your manufacturing project, visit the PPMA Machinery Finder.