The automotive industry has been using industrial robots for more than half a century, since General Motors first adopted the UNIMATE in the early 1960s. Over the intervening period, the number of robots used in the automation sector has seen massive growth. The technology has improved too with more low cost, flexible, collaborative systems supplementing and replacing cumbersome and inflexible traditional robots.
Using robots allows car and automotive component makers to speed up production, reduce costs, improve quality and protect their workers from harm. Collaborative robots (or ‘cobots’) have created new possibilities for car makers, including the ability to deploy robots in close proximity to human workers without the need for fencing. Cobots allow manufacturers to free workers from dull, dirty and dangerous jobs –plus, cobots are available 24/7, 365.
We will take a look at six examples of cobots being used in the automotive sector, below, but first…
Where are industrial robots used?
There are very few industries that do not benefit from the use of automation. Since the first automotive robot joined the production line at GM, countless other factories and warehouses have adopted robot technologies. Industries that use robots include the pharmaceutical sector, general manufacturing, medical and agriculture. Universal Robots’ cobots are versatile platforms that can be deployed on a wide variety of tasks in several environments. The only limits are payload, safety compliance and your imagination.
What do industrial robots do?
Industrial robots in manufacturing can assume a wide range of jobs from material handling, pick & place and inspection to assembly, packaging & palletizing and finishing applications. Robots are designed to perform repetitive tasks and relieve human workers from strenuous physical labor. Robots can be equipped with machine vision and artificial intelligence systems that enable them to respond to a variety of situations and provide feedback on system performance in real-time.
Cobots in automotive production
Some of the most urgent problems faced by automotive assembly lines include the potential for injury, slow production times, and issues with the quality of the final product(s). These problems can be addressed by deploying cobots.
For example, UR10 robots are used by Ford in Romania to grease camshafts, fill engines with oil and perform quality inspections.