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Industrial robots are a critical, fundamental aspect of manufacturing, and without industrial automation, the world would be a very different place.
FREMONT, CA: Industrial robots are used in various industries today, from semiconductors and vehicle manufacturing to plastics processing and metal forging. Almost any repetitive task is ideal for a robot, especially if it is risky or difficult for humans.
Robotics is highly advantageous in manufacturing businesses. Robots have traditionally been utilized in high-volume operations. Still, as technology progresses and the cost of industrial robots decreases, new possibilities and opportunities for medium- and small-sized businesses become available.
Simultaneously, these robots assist manufacturers in addressing several critical issues, including limited labor pools, worldwide market competitiveness, and safety.
The following are the primary benefits and drawbacks to consider:
Advantages of Industrial Robots
1. Increased consistency and quality: When combined with other technologies such as the industrial internet of things (IIoT) or 3D printing robots, industrial robots provide higher production quality and more precise and reliable procedures. Additionally, shortened cycle durations and real-time monitoring aid in improving preventative maintenance methods.
2. The highest possible productivity and throughput: Industrial robots accelerate manufacturing processes in part by operating 24 hours a day. Robots do not require rest periods or shift changes. Robotics' speed and dependability ultimately cut cycle times and increase throughput.
3. Enhanced security: Using robots to perform repetitive jobs reduces the danger of worker damage, which is especially important when manufacturing in hostile environments. Additionally, supervisors can monitor the procedure remotely or online.
4. Cost savings associated with direct labor: The expense of having a person oversee numerous production tasks is frequently more than the cost of a robot. Additionally, this can free up workers' skills and knowledge for use in other areas of the organization, such as engineering, programming, and maintenance.
5. Retaining manufacturing in the United States: While some say machines are displacing American workers, this is not always the case. Industrial robots are often integrated into a sequence of human-assisted operations. For instance, manufacturers may have a robot weld components before handing them off to a human to complete a task that requires intuitive "if, then" reasoning.
Disadvantages of Industrial Robots
1. A substantial initial investment: Typically, robots demand a significant initial investment. Consider all costs associated with industrial robots when developing the business case for purchase, including installation and configuration. Additionally, manufacturers should determine whether the robot's operation can be updated in the future.
2. Expertise may be in short supply: Industrial robots require a high level of sophistication in operation, maintenance, and programming. While the number of people with these talents is increasing, it is still relatively small. As a result, it's critical to examine the personnel investment required to acquire that knowledge or "retool" existing staff to perform the task.
3. Ongoing expenses: While industrial robots can help cut production labor costs, they can have associated expenditures, such as maintenance. Additionally, manufacturers will want to factor in the price of protecting their robots and any associated IIoT-connected devices from cyber threats.