Robotics has been referred to as the “fourth industrial revolution” by some. That notwithstanding, if numbers are to go by, the number of robots in use in factories is exponentially growing. These robots have brought with them precision, high productivity, and even more flexibility.
While there initially was, and there still is the fear that robots will replace humans, factories are today seeing an increased presence and use of collaborative robots. These are able to mesh seamlessly and work in harmony with human’s, further increasing efficiency and flexibility.
In essence, the industrial scene is increasingly adopting its own variant of the internet of things.
The Numbers and Future Expectations
By 2019, the International Federation of Robotics estimates that there will be 2.6 million robots in different companies and with different industrial applications. Internationally, it is estimated that robotic systems are valued at $32 billion. The automotive industry alone in the one year from 2013-2014 saw an increase of 43% in robots used in assembly lines.
With these kinds of numbers in mind, there definitely is a reason, and a good one, that robots are being adopted in every industry and with immense speed. Below, we look at some of the advantages of deploying robotics in manufacturing.
Advantages of Robotics in Industries
1. Low Production Costs
One of the biggest advantages if using robots in factories is the speed and precision with which these machines work. Although the initial setup cost might be high, the return on investment outweighs the initial cost with ease and at lightning fast speeds.
Some robot assembly companies have robots that are so efficient that they pay for themselves in 6 months’ time!
2. Swift Cycles
To increase efficiency in a manufacturing plant, one of the best strategies is to have a lean line. With an automated robot, this is exactly what you get. Processes are much faster and because a machine is at work, breaks and sleep, or vacations are out of question, which ultimately means more is done over shorter periods.
3. Better Quality and Reliability
One of the selling points for robotics is precision, which in itself means better quality. Robots also adhere to specifications to the last detail, and thus repairs are reduced.
4. Better Space Utilization
Robots take up way less space for the work they do than humans would if they were to do a particular task. Automated robotic parts decrease the footprint on factory floors and therefore reduce the cost of floor space required even as processes flow with increased efficiency.
- Waste and Cost Reduction
With the high efficiency that is resultant as a result of automation, raw materials are better used which means there is less wastage and thus costs of production are also reduced. Consequently, with high throughput and decreased production costs translating in affordable end products, companies enjoy more customers for their products.
6. Increased Safety
Robots increase safety in the workplace as they are precise in their working. Additionally, by automating some tasks such as handling hazardous materials, chances of human workers falling ill as a result are drastically reduced as the operator can control the robot at a safe distance if need be.
7. Master of Applications
Robots rely on software to perform a particular function which means they are basically masters in their fields. These robots can be integrated into industrial machinery to perform a range of applications automatically.
The continuous development in robotics has made these machines more user-friendly, affordable, and even more intelligent. Their consistency at task and precision offer increased productivity and even higher profit margins given their efficiency.
Additional benefits to robots’ flexibility include their ability to work in a variety of environments. While robots have almost always been confined to cages or protective areas away from humans, the new age of collaborative robots enables them to co-exist in the same space.
And this is only the beginning as there are continuous development and adoption of collaborative robotics in new industries.