Going through the industry’s greatest change in over 100 years, manufacturing has managed yet again to become a hot topic. With globalization, domestic jobs have evaporated from many countries, automation is taking over day-to-day tasks in a plethora of companies and off shoring maybe reverting to near shoring. For this reason, the way we build and deliver the products and goods that drive our economies and lives is changing as well.
According to research, we are in the middle of our fourth industrial revolution which as a result, products are being manufactured faster and with high consistency. Similarly, we are able to develop products that have greater value to consumers and are increasingly complex. This industrial revolution we are experiencing now is fueled by various advancements including artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, the Internet of things (IoT) and robotics. Here are four trends emerging in the world of manufacturing using robot assembly.
Building smart factories in the cloud
Aside from virtual reality and robot assembly, a wide range of factory environments are also powering advancements in smart sensors and cloud computing. Smart sensors can perform tasks such as shutting off devices in the event of a performance or safety issue, recording feedback and statistics, converting data into different units of measurements and communicating with other machines. IoT on the other hand is responsible for consolidating control rooms, tracking and analyzing production quotas as well as creating models of predictive maintenance.
Viewing in 3D
3D printing is also making mark in the world of robotics and manufacturing. Using a single machine, allows for the seamless creation of tangible products. This is a major step in the future of robotics because 3D provides you with a lot more possibilities on how you design a particular assembly part. For instance, if a certain category of product normally requires six pieces, with 3D printing, you can achieve the same in one piece without the need for additional processes such as screwing or welding.
Additionally, 3D printing cuts down on the wait time for transportation or replacement of parts and reduces waste through recycling plastics. Due to its various implications for mass production, 3D in robotics make advancements possible in products ranging from medical devices to toys.
360° angle, seeing around corners
With new tools in the market, companies are now creating test situations in the virtual world for the purpose of simulating the assembly line and design process before an actual product is created. This helps to significantly cut down on manufacturing or assembly time this ensuring that the manufacturing process delivers what companies intended to create.
The future of manufacturing greatly relies on automation. More and more companies are adapting to this by fully automating their manufacturing processes. One major advantage to automation is that it enables a level of productivity and accuracy that is beyond human ability especially in environments that are considered unsafe for human workers.
The new generation of assembly robots are not only much easier to program but also to use. They have capabilities such as image and voice recognition to help them recreate intricate human tasks. Another advantage of new generation assembly robots is that they do exactly what you ask them to do, nothing more nothing less. While automation is eliminating some of the most dangerous, dull and dirty tasks manufacturing, it is also paving way for the creation of new jobs for a retrained workforce.
While building a better manufacturing sector with robotics and data analysis, augmented and virtual reality seems to be the way forward the question still remains what will the future look like? Even with some significant challenges ahead, the outlook is promising despite the obvious concerns or assembly robots taking away jobs from humans. Since these robots are used for work that is considered unsafe for humans, it makes them a compliment rather than a replacement.