Automation and robotics are changing the face of modern manufacturing, with technological advancements creating new ways to streamline workflows, optimize production processes and reduce overall costs. As the manufacturing industry adopts this new wave of automation and robotics, it’s essential to examine its trends and impact.
According to recent reports, there’s a significant increase in investments in automation and robotics in manufacturing. A report by Tractica estimated that the global market for industrial robotics would reach $41.2 billion by 2020.
Part of the reason why businesses in the manufacturing industry are readily adopting robotics and automation can be attributed to the need to remain competitive. A world where faster production leads to more sales requires a faster, and more efficient way of production.
Speed of Production: Industrial robots are capable of running for 24 hours without the need for periodic rest breaks or time-off, significantly improving the production speed. Advanced computer systems and sensors installed remain accessible without human presence, making it possible to monitor multiple machines simultaneously by a single person. This system ensures that production lines could run non-stop, and during disruptions, assembly line stoppages were minimal compared to those that require manual labor.
Flexibility: As companies continue to adopt lean production techniques, maintaining flexibility has also become a priority. Automation and robotics have promised to offer businesses the flexibility they need to produce in smaller batches and customize products to the consumer’s preference. Robotics systems have become increasingly adaptable, such that they can learn from their environment and adapt to changing conditions, leading to improved production efficiency.
Safety: The implementation of automation and robotics in manufacturing has led to a safer work environment by removing human operators from hazardous tasks such as welding, painting, and handling of hazardous materials. By replacing human labor with advanced robotics systems capable of performing dangerous production tasks, the manufacturing industry can significantly reduce the number of work-related injuries resulting from manual labor.
However, there are some challenges to the adoption of automation and robotics in the manufacturing industry. The primary issue is the cost of deploying these systems. Manufacturing companies must analyze the cost and potential return on their investments in automation and robotics. The cost of implementing robotics can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars depending on the complexity of the system. For small and medium businesses, this can be a daunting task, leading to a gradual transition to these new technologies.
Additionally, the implementation process of automation and robotics in manufacturing can take time. While it may promise long-term benefits, the initial implementation of these systems could slow down the current production flow due to reorganizing the production lines or retraining the workforce to work alongside the new technology.
In conclusion, the impact of automation and robotics on the manufacturing industry is undeniably transformative. Trends such as speed, flexibility, and safety, amongst others, are making automation the new normal. The manufacturing industry must continue to push boundaries and adopt new technological advancements to remain competitive in a fast and ever-changing business world.…