With increased value provided by robotics to boost speed and efficiency with automation, drones and more on the horizon, the age of new tech is here for manufacturing.
Automation at Machining Factory
In the case of Attl A Spol, a company producing stainless steel tubes for a Volkswagen supplier, automated robots allowed them to perform monotonous manual labor with heightened precision and 20 hours a day, 6 days a week without any required downtime or service outages.
Improving the efficiency of their manufacturing line and supply chain, the addition of robotic arms freed up time for three workers to be assigned to other areas and re-trained. As automation costs continue to drop, a wealth of options are becoming available for manufacturers that did not exist, even a few years ago.
Cobots at Nissan Motors
Employing robotics can help connect the big picture for teams on the way to safe and increased value. In Nissan’s case, they identified bottlenecks in their production line and invested in the addition of cobots — collaborative robots working beside their human counterparts on the assembly line. Instead of replacing current employees, these complement and heighten productivity for greater efficiencies.
One supervisor noted that the ability to move their robots easily to takt time overruns, allowing them with the trial’s success, to plan for more implementation for ‘flexibly responding to the situation’ in their factory. Performing precise twisting movements for bolt assembly, cobots minimized a monotonous task for the workers and improved the production of the line.
Boosting the capabilities of workers with the strength and precision that cobots provide, there are many opportunities for Big Data integration and sensor technologies for systems that accurately register, analyze, and map out operational data points for decision making.
With visual dashboards and app development, engineers can then deliver key indicators and recommendations for sustained peak performance.
Quality Control at Ferg. Wagner
At Ferd. Wagner, two robots working in sequential collaboration now perform precise welding tasks with quality control in the code. The first robot selects the parts to be welded, inserts them into a machine to soak the parts in fluid.
Then, the second robot takes the piece to another station to be fused with the next piece. Then, this is the really cool part – the robotic arm holds the finished work up to a camera and an app automatically checks the precision quality of the weld and solder. The production manager at the factory bragged that by increasing their productivity, it also was pivotal for hitting their targets for cost stability.
Another area of robotics that is taking flight is with aerial drones. For everything from transporting raw materials and even finished parts and deliverables from one area to the next, they can also monitor production lines, to assess quality, count inventory and more. This frees up human workers for more machine overseeing tasks throughout the facility.
Sensors at Glidewell Laboratories
Today’s robots aren’t necessarily designed for a singular purpose. Thanks to advances in technology like the addition of IIoT and cloud connectivity, new tech can communicate with legacy machines, both inside the facility and outside, to add new functionality, eliminate downtime, and identify preventive maintenance and functionality for quality control.
Empowering human counterparts, sensors at Glidewell Laboratories use vision cameras, with robots switching tasks automatically when dispensers ran out, hacking the production time from 27 to 18 hours, and freeing up the time of two machine operators.
Suggested reading: Eight robotic monitoring benefits to enhance customer experience
Customization with Apps
Companies like AutoDesk are already using smartphones and next-gen devices to integrate the latest industrial software and robotics potential for cross-device support.
With niche developers creating apps to integrate with robotics and IIoT — engineers and manufacturers are today able to achieve their exact goals via visual dashboards and next-gen customization.
While full-scale implementation of robotics is many times limited by budget, today manufacturers can benefit from robotics with a 12 month ROI. Modular units accomplish the needs for expansion, like highly advanced turnkey factories, making robotics the ideal solution for a future of customized automation.
Cost Savings at L’Oréal
Now, more than ever, industries are seeking simple integrations to lower costs of goods sold by harnessing the power of robotics and IIoT. L’Oréal – one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies – was facing issues at their plant with end-of-line tasks creating severe ergonomic risks for workers.
By easily programming robotic arms to perform routine operations, it frees up worker time to work on more value adding activities. Apart from speeding up production time, the ability of robotics to gather data through sensors (and now drones) is a formidle boost to cost savings and timely adjustments.
Boost for Palletizing Operation
With the dropping prices of robotics technology with sensors, apps and robotics, Gustav Hensel GmbH integrated cobots for palletizing packed boxes. The medium-sized company optimized the capacity of the facilities and freed employees from significant physical strain. From automation, to cobots for quality control, assembly and customization, to visual controls and cost savings, robotics and IIoT are an attractive option for investment, with some companies like Gustav Hensel achieving base ROI in 12 months.
Suggested reading: Top emerging technology trends that will bridge the gap between humans and technology
As more legacy machines and new devices are connected, more opportunities are abound for engineers to assist with the integration and novel use of robotics, automation, and dashboards across industries. Following the simple steps of assessing company assets and capabilities, to reviewing potential benefits and ways to integrate, you can benefit the whole enterprise by leading the charge.
Guest Author: Joseph Zulick Joseph Zulick is a writer and manager at MRO Electric.