Today, industrial robots are an essential part of many manufacturing processes across a broad range of market sectors. Robots, as part of a modern manufacturing strategy, bring a host of benefits, including process consistency, improvements in productivity, quality and yield, high levels of flexibility and of course robots can free humans from dirty or hazardous working environments. Whether it is part-handling, assembly, machine-tending, welding, cutting or gluing, robots are playing an increasingly important role in our manufacturing facilities.
Robot systems are inherently fast, highly repeatable and reliable, and will perform each and every operation in exactly the same manner. Whether the task is a simple pick and place operation or a sophisticated assembly procedure, the robot will perform the operation with precision and consistency. Robots do not suffer from fatigue through tiredness, or from performing highly repetitive tasks, which may affect manual operators and result in errors that in turn lead to defective or scrap components.
Integrating robots to a manufacturing process can deliver significant improvements in productivity. Once the robot programme has been fine-tuned, the cycle time for every operation will be the same. This predictable performance, combined with the ability to operate around the clock at high levels of reliability, makes it possible to consistently achieve and maintain productivity levels. Robots also bring benefits in applications that require high levels of cleanliness such as those found within the medical, pharmaceutical and food sectors.
Maintaining the high standards required for operators within these often-challenging environments requires strictly controlled operating procedures, and the ongoing provision and cost of personal protection equipment (PPE). There are several robot types available which are specifically configured for operation within these environments and designed to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination in high care areas. Robots are also able to operate within low temperature environments with no loss in performance. Overall robots offer an efficient, reliable and cost-effective solution to many manufacturing processes, and are a valuable long-term asset.
Need help deciding whether adding a robot to your process could boost your competitive edge?
1. Reduced operating costs
Robots enable you to reduce direct and overhead costs, making a dramatic difference to your competitiveness. Take energy for example. With no requirement for minimum lighting or heating levels, robots offer a great opportunity to cut your energy bills. Current estimates point to a potential saving of 8% for every 1oC reduction in heating levels, while savings of up to 20% can be achieved by turning off unnecessary lighting.
2. Improved product quality
The inherent accuracy and repeatability of robots means you can achieve a consistently high-quality finish for every product produced. Robots eliminate the problems associated with tiredness, distraction and the effects of repetitive and tedious tasks.
3. Improved quality of work for employees
With robots you can improve working conditions for your staff. They will no longer have to work in dusty, hot or hazardous environments. In addition, by teaching them how to use robots they can learn valuable programming skills and do work that is more stimulating and challenging.
4. Increased production output
Robots can be left running overnight and during weekends with little supervision, so you can increase your output levels and meet customer order deadlines. A robotic solution will not need time away from production for breaks, sickness, distractions or lapses of concentration. Robots can now also be programmed offline, ensuring new production processes can be quickly introduced for faster production
5. Increased product manufacturing flexibility
Robots can add flexibility to your production line. Once programmed, they can easily switch between processes, helping you to meet changes in product design or customer demand with the minimum of effort.
6. Reduced waste and increased yield
By using robots, you can vastly increase the quality of your products. You will have more products finished on the first run to the standard required by your customers and reduce the amount of breakages and waste produced because of poor quality or inconsistent finishing. With products being produced to such a high level each time, you will gain greater yields.
7. Improved health and safety
Robots can readily take over unpleasant, arduous or health threatening tasks that may be currently undertaken by manual workers. By using robots, you can decrease the likelihood of accidents caused by contact with machine tools or other potentially hazardous production machinery or processes. They can also help to eliminate ailments associated with repetitive or intensive processes, such as repetitive strain injuries (RSI) and vibration white finger (VWF).8. Reduced labour turnover and recruitment difficulty
The high precision demanded by today’s industrial processes requires the highest levels of skill and training. With highly skilled manual workers becoming harder to find and more expensive to employ, robots can provide an ideal alternative. Once programmed for your process, robots are ready to begin work with none of the costs associated with recruitment or ongoing training. Robots can also offer greater flexibility, both in terms of work patterns and the ability to handle different production tasks.
9. Reduced capital costs
Using robots to achieve faster, more efficient production lines can help reduce capital costs associated with inventory and work in progress. By moving products faster in production, businesses can better predict the production rate and ensure a fast and efficient service is delivered.
10. Save space
Robots can be mounted in multiple configurations to help you save highly valuable space in manufacturing areas. They can also be programmed to work in confined spaces, so you do not lose valuable floor space.