Industrial robotics has emerged as a popular manufacturing methodology in several areas in recent years, including welding, materials transport, assembly, and spray finishing operations.


  • SPOT AND ELECTRIC ARC WELDING
  • PICK AND PLACE OPERATIONS
  • ASSEMBLY
  • SPRAY FINISHING OPERATIONS

FUTURE OF ROBOTICS

Recent research and development have addressed a number of aspects of robotics. Robotic hands have been developed which offer greater dexterity and flexibility, and improvements have been made in visual sensors as well (earlier generations of visual sensors were designed for use with television and home video, and did not process information quickly for optimal performance in many robotics applications; as a consequence, solid-state vision sensors came into increased use, and developments were also made with fiber optics). The use of superconducting materials, meanwhile, offers the possibility of substantial improvements in the electric motors that drive robotic arms. Attempts have also been made to develop lighter robotic arms and increase their rigidity. Standardization of software and hardware to facilitate the centralization of control systems has also been an important area of development in recent years.

COMMON USES OF ROBOTICS

Forging the future

After seeing the surprising versatility of machine vision applications on display at Automate, it became clear that machine vision is the technological advancement that will launch industrial robotics into the future. When combined with the interconnectivity of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other smart tools such as mobile analytics, machines equipped with technologies like 3D embedded vision, multispectral and hyperspectral imaging, and deep learning will possess a primitive form of artificial intelligence that allows greater flexibility in application and the ability to actively learn processes without programming.

The show floor featured a number of collaborative robots performing a wide variety of tasks from part handling to packaging; some even bagged candy to hand out or served ice cream in a cone. Using various sensing technologies, the applications for collaborative robots to work with human counterparts are infinite. Long gone seem to be the days of robots in hard guarding and being tucked away in the corner, wrapped in ominous metal fencing. Today’s robots are becoming more flexible in their range of applications, with friendlier interfaces, and free to be placed anywhere on the manufacturing floor.


As many in automation are aware, robots are becoming an increasingly popular answer to completing dangerous or repetitive tasks: grinding, deburring, bin-picking, part inspections, etc. Several manufacturers and integrators assembled elaborate booths displaying various robotic capabilities, many currently in use and others as possible future applications. This alone is indicative of the rise of robots, but it is only the beginning. The leading robot manufacturers all appear to be focused on making robots simpler to program/configure and easier to integrate with technologies that create incredible functionality. The result: collaborative robots.

The show floor featured a number of collaborative robots performing a wide variety of tasks from part handling to packaging; some even bagged candy to hand out or served ice cream in a cone. Using various sensing technologies, the applications for collaborative robots to work with human counterparts are infinite. Long gone seem to be the days of robots in hard guarding and being tucked away in the corner, wrapped in ominous metal fencing. Today’s robots are becoming more flexible in their range of applications, with friendlier interfaces, and free to be placed anywhere on the manufacturing floor.