How to Succeed When the Pace of Electronics Manufacturing Continues to Accelerate
Electronics and semiconductor industry pioneer Andrew Grove famously opined that ‘only the paranoid survive.’ In sectors defined by constant change, manufacturers who can quickly adapt to new economic and technological realities can both avoid complacency in good times and ensure survival through difficult times. These days, those companies are often doing it with the help of collaborative automation.
Soaring demand for electronics products comes at the same time as falling prices for electronics and components. Skilled labor shortages occur alongside pandemic-related social distancing and travel restrictions. Manufacturers are tasked with adapting to these rapidly changing circumstances as painlessly as possible and without suffering drops in productivity and quality.
No surprise then that the electronics industry has enthusiastically embraced collaborative robots. In a 2021 report that predicts stunning global cobot sales growth of 15-20% year-on-year to 2028, analyst firm Interact Analysis identified the automotive and electronics sectors as the largest end-industry adopters of cobot technologies.
As the electronics sector adapts to change—embracing progressively finer layers of customization and the shift towards more high mix/low volume production runs—flexible automation helps companies keep pace. Collaborative robots are flexible and easy to deploy and redeploy on manufacturing processes from quality inspection and material handling to testing, screwdriving, dispensing and packaging.
That makes Universal Robots’ cobots a perfect fit for electronics manufacturers.
Flex with the best
Our collaborative robots provide manufacturers with a flexible automation platform that can be programmed to take on a virtually limitless set of tasks from cutting and soldering processes to PCB handling, touchscreen testing, parts insertion, dispensing and inspection. Through UR+ --the industry’s most comprehensive ecosystem of certified Application Kits and peripherals designed to integrate seamlessly with UR robots—we offer cobot-powered systems designed to handle specific applications that are critical to electronics manufacturers.
UR+ provides manufacturers with Application Kits tailored to specific tasks, such as the Q-Span Workstation (shown), a system specially designed for inspection of small parts.
Our small and lightweight cobots have a small footprint, which means that you can quickly introduce cobots to your facility with a minimum of downtime and without having to redesign your manufacturing lines. Our user-friendly cobots can be wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or mounted on mobile robot platforms, further adding to the deployment possibilities.
Touchscreen testing with a cobot from Universal Robots.
Our cobots have proven their reliability across hundreds of real-world electronics manufacturing applications from soldering, drilling, silicone dispensing and light assembly to screw driving and applying the finishing touches to audio equipment with spray paint.
We aim for Swiss watchmaker-like attention to detail across our manufacturing operations, running constant checks to ensure that our cobots provide the repeatability our customers asked for. Our UR3e and UR5e cobots, for example, provide a pose repeatability of ± 0.03 mm (30 microns), enabling them to be deployed on a wide range of precise electronics manufacturing tasks. And our UR16e cobot, which can handle payloads of up to 16 kg (35 lbs), provides repeatability of ± 0.05 mm (50 micron) making it a great fit for end of line packaging and palletizing operations.
PCB Cutting with a cobot from Universal Robots.
In addition to improving the health and safety of workers by freeing them from dull, dirty and dangerous tasks, cobots help increase profits for electronics manufacturers. By increasing productivity and throughput, and enhancing quality and inspection outcomes, cobots can help electronics manufacturers of all sizes make the best use of their human and robot resources.
Understanding global and local electronics industry challenges, and everyday pain points informs our conversations about R&D and product development and allows Universal Robots to continue supplying the electronics and technology sector with the robot tools it needs.