The incorporation of robotics into factory and manufacturing processes helps improve output, resulting in revenue increases and greater efficiency.
For example, employing robots alongside humans in factories can reduce production time. Similarly, using self-driving trucks to deliver products can improve delivery times and reduce the chances of damage. Robotics will help drive automation in the manufacturing industry, an unavoidable and ultimately productive trend that will help manufacturing output and the jobs of factory managers in a variety of ways.
Technology's rise is certainly not subtle, and robotic augmentation to aid human efforts on the assembly line is nothing new. Its origins can be traced as far back as the rope-and-pulley system on Henry Ford’s first assembly line. Although paling in comparison to today's hyper-focused robots that aid with everything from welding and die casting to painting and boxing, the rope-and-pulley system in Ford’s assembly line shows an early willingness to optimize the process, which today reaches its natural arrival at AI and automation. Ford has over 20,000 robots in operation today on their assembly lines.
1. Raw Material Handling
A variety of chemical and hazardous materials have the potential for use in manufacturing, putting workers at risk. That is, unless a robot can do the job. The ability of robots to fill roles in dangerous working environments is impressive, handling everything from dangerous chemicals to radioactive substances. Robots can undergo programming to handle these materials with precise care, with the worst case scenario involving a technological repair rather than a human casualty. Additionally, robotics can help prevent product damage in warehouses as they are more adept at handling hazardous or temperature-sensitive materials. A loss-by-damage incident includes mishandling by workers or transit equipment and can cost a manufacturer significantly — a cost that robotics can help avoid.
2. Round-The-Clock Operation
People can easily become overworked, sacrificing the quality of work and leading to dangerous circumstances. Robots, on the other hand, can operate 24/7 and not show signs of fatigue. People will still have to oversee production to ensure there's no malfunction, but robots can certainly assume the bulk of work.
3. Eclectic Usage
Automation can be cost-effective for every type of company, with many tools now available for small businesses to feel the benefits of automation without the overbearing costs of the past. Small businesses can also harness automation more than ever to help with the supply chain and day-to-day tasks. Businesses can churn out more products, emails and general communication with automation. Whether robotics takes form with actual robots or services that mimic a robot assistant, they tend to yield greater output in a shorter period.
In the manufacturing industry, there’s no limitation to the use of robotics. Whether a manufacturer is creating automobile parts or designing toys, robots can undergo programming to design precisely to the company's specifications.
4. Robotics Are Not Eliminating Jobs
Those in the manufacturing industry wary of robotics are uneasy because of job security. There's no need to fear though, since robots in manufacturing help create jobs by reshoring more manufacturing work, instead of sending jobs offshore.
Robots free up worker resources to help maximize skills in areas where manual labor is more relevant. In addition, more jobs can be created because people are needed to monitor these robots.
5. Increasing Maximum Output Capacity
Department of Labor statistics show that American workers are maximizing their output capacity, but robotics can help increase that capacity by saving on utilities, creating cleaner spaces and achieving their ROI within two years. In essence, robots can help domestic companies compete with offshore companies since robots will help alleviate costs and worker resources. Robotics can help improve manufacturing output, increase the safety of manufacturing sites and work at all hours, making the rise of robotics in the manufacturing industry a beneficial trend.
Kayla Matthews is an independent technology writer at Productivity Bytes.