By Atul Patil
Robotics is a major and a very important component of Industrial Automation. The balance maintained in the factories and shopfloors by bringing in robotics and automation has transformed the work processes and uplifted the efficiency manifolds. The use of automation and robotics is transforming various industries in this advanced era. Robots are now an essential component of many industries’ manufacturing processes because of the accuracy they provide and their capacity to work for prolonged hours without fatigue.
When Industrial Robotic Projects first emerged, they brought along confusion and denial. Automation is widely used in many industries today, from healthcare to agriculture, despite the fact that it was once more theoretical than practical in many of them.
During the first phase of this revolution, electric machines were introduced that performed repetitive tasks without fatigue. These robots were used in the automobile industry and other similar applications. The second phase brought industrial robots that besides performing basic tasks also absorbed data to evolve and become better. Today, robots have revolutionized a lot of important industries, some of which include:
1. Healthcare Industry: Healthcare is not only one of the fastest-growing industries, but it’s also one of the most developed sectors. With the passage of time, it has developed quickly benefitting from new technologies and innovations, including Robotic automation. A range of Robots is now specially designed for medical applications in environments that require very low particle emissions such as pharmaceutical, medical or semiconductors industries.
2. The Automobile Industry: Small robots and robotic automation are needed to meet the automotive industry’s changing demands, allowing the top two-wheeler manufacturers to create vehicles that are safer, more comfortable, environmentally friendly, efficient, and prepared for the future. Due to their high accuracy and flexibility, some robots can highlight every aspect of the workpiece, including quality assurance, haptic measurements, and the assembly of intricate components. These robots are capable of carrying out their duties 24 hours a day at full speed.
3. Food: Compared to other sectors, the food industry puts robotic automation to selective use. But with time, this industry is growing at a very fast pace and the diversity of possible applications such as pick-and-place raw material or processed food items, slicing, cutting, sorting, dispensing and many other activities would need robots in the near future. Considering the stricter hygiene standards, some robots are capable of tracing the products and processes included in producing it. These robots are becoming an integral part of the ecosystem today and will be the same in the future as well. Such robots ensure and assure the quality even for waterproof specification and for food-grade grease under hygiene-related guidelines from the US NSF (National Sanitation Foundation)
4. Industry producing semiconductor & electronics
A horizontal, multiple-joint robot with a space-saving suspended installation mode is suitable for a wide range of applications, from the precision assembly of electrical, electronic and other small components to inspections, high-speed transportation and packaging. SCARA robots, drive products, power distribution and control products, computerized numerical controllers, and a wide variety of other products and solutions better offer technical support.
The Future of Robotic Automation
With Industry 4.0 in place, robotic process automation will gradually expand its footprint in other important industries as well as the divisions of current ones, highlighting their significance in the contemporary manufacturing process.
Importance of Automation in Industry 4.0
We are in the midst of an advanced industrial revolution that allows complex machinery and processes to be managed much more effectively and affordably than ever before. By reducing the need for human labour in redundant and dangerous processes, automation allows businesses to focus on critical operations, energy usage, and safety. Because of the numerous technological changes that are affecting our industries, there is an urgent need for high-end, precise products that can only be met by high levels of productivity. Engineering systems, automated manufacturing, and industrial automation all play a role here.
Industry 4.0 and automation, are currently taking shape thanks to technologies such as AI, 5G, advanced automation, advanced sensing, and many others which have significantly altered how various industries operate and how their processes are carried out. Automation in Industry 4.0 places a strong emphasis on efficiency and optimization while significantly reducing the possibilities for errors. In a manual process where the margin of error can reach up to 10% when humans carry out the work, an automated platform can reduce it significantly.
The Reasons Why Industrial Automation Is Important
In addition to discrete manufacturing firms, the following factors are propelling new market entrants into the industrial automation sector:
Cost-Efficiency: Since automation requires lesser human intervention, it reduces production costs. Aside from that, the implementation of virtual and augmented reality, coupled with automation helps to increase productivity in business models and facilitate learning.
Competitive Advantages: Due to the nature of industrial automation technology, production is continuous and operational 24*7. As a result, it provides competitive advantages in terms of increased productivity, capacity, and process quality, while minimizing task errors and the cost of downtime.
Time Reduction: The time for information processing is reduced due to Automation 4.0. For the storage and management of data generated by processes, the platform has a sizable capacity.
Flexibility and Scalability: A human operator needs training because the industrial sector is dynamic and the tasks are constantly changing. The flexibility and scalability of robots and machines are maintained because they can be tightly programmed in a constrained amount of time and are reconfigurable.
Maximized security: Machines may be given risky tasks by the production line that pose a significant risk to the workers. For components, machinery, people, and systems, advanced security controls can also be put in place. With collaborative robots, the robot & humans can share a common workspace.
Monitored Control: The automated processes are controlled, monitored, and recorded to generate the big data that helps to identify patterns, improve operations, and implement changes to prevent future task errors.
Automation is expected to grow at an exponential rate on a global scale in the coming years which is going to give a rapid rise to the growth and development of Robotics in the Industrial division. At the same time, India is embracing Industry 4.0 at a reasonable pace and has seen exceptional growth as a result of recent automation advances. Industry 5.0 is a more recent trend that emphasizes immediate customer service, personalization, and the integration of humans and cobots (collaborative robots) to be proactive in the new industrial automation model and embrace new technological advancements.
(Atul Patil is the Head – Marketing and Business Innovation, Factory Automation Systems, Mitsubishi Electric India Pvt. Ltd. The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)