That’s a common reaction in the furniture industry when manufacturers try to envision bringing robots into sanding and polishing applications. And you can’t blame them; when it comes to shaping a plank of wood into the back of a chair or finish sanding cabinet doors or a headboard, automation hasn’t been as common – until recently.
The argument for adopting cobots for palletizing applications is compelling. In the United States alone, overexertion and repetitive motion account for 24% and 8% of workplace injuries. Manual palletizing is not just unergonomic though. It is costly. And it limits palletizing throughput and quality.
Industrial robot applications have seen massive growth over the last decade, as a variety of industries have realized the potential of industrial robots and, more importantly, collaborative robot (or ‘cobots.’). The vast majority of cobot implementations are found in manufacturing and industrial environments, but cobots have the flexibility to be used in a wide variety of sectors from agriculture and medical to pharma.
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.
Automation is transforming the food industry with robot applications as diverse as the range of food in our supermarkets. From the first robot-run lettuce farm in the world producing 30,000 heads of lettuce a day to novel fruit-picking robotic systems capable of distinguishing between apples and oranges, productivity...