Robot Arms on Factory Floors

5 Uses of Robot Arms on Factory Floors

Robot arms these days have a wide variety of uses, and business owners are finding more and more creative ways to deploy them effectively. In this article, we look at five uses of robot arms on factory floors, as well as the benefits of using robots in the world of manufacturing.

The 5 Uses of Robot Arms on Factory Floors

There are many uses of robot arms, since they operate with an end effector that can be replaced. End effectors are the tips of robotic arms, the part that does the task. Robotic arms can be fitted with screwdrivers, grippers, pick-and-placers, and more specialized tools, giving them high adaptability on factory floors.

  • Welding

Welding is the process of joining metal (or thermoplastic) parts together by melting the metals and fusing them. It is a common step in many manufacturing processes, and the most common type of welding is done at high temperatures. The reason welding is so popular is because it is affordable.

For example, Stick Welding involves the fusing of metals using welding rods or sticks. It is used in shipbuilding, repair, manufacturing, and aerospace processes.

Humans can equip a robot with a welding package, such as an end effector that can handle high temperatures. They can also program the robot to move at their desired speed along a certain welding path within certain millimeters to ensure consistency and quality.

  • Picking and Placing

Another task a robot arm can perform is picking and placing. This is a general umbrella term that includes everything from bin-picking, assembly, material handling to packaging and palletizing.

Humans can station robots at different points in a production line to pick and place different items. They can equip the robot with a gripper that is the correct size and choose a robot that can handle the appropriate payload. They can then trust the robot to perform the repetitive moment on its own.

In the case of specialized process tasks, humans can program the robot according to the requirements. They can also design special end effectors that suit the task. robots have high precision and great capabilities and accuracy, meaning they are unlikely to make mistakes when picking and placing.

  • Polishing, Sanding, and Painting

Humans can also rely on robots for more complex tasks that require even greater precision. Often, this is near the end of production lines, where humans task robots to place the finishing touches on a product. The processes can include polishing, sanding, painting, and more.

Depending on the end effector used, robots can very easily provide consistent finishing to any product. This is because robots have force sensors that can measure and control the amount of pressure they exert when they perform tasks. Humans can program them to paint and polish only certain areas, or to only sand using a specified amount of force.

  • Lifting

Even though robots are relatively small (at least compared to industrial robots), humans can trust them to handle great payloads. Many robot arms are designed to do lifting for humans. This includes both heavy objects and dangerous substances, such as acids or hot parts.

Business owners can choose a robot arm that has the payload they desire, and they can program these arms to pick up certain objects and place them where they should be placed. This can relieve the burden on employees. If needed, there can also be a human staff on the scene to ensure the process goes smoothly.

  • Quality Assurance

Finally, robot arms can be used for quality assurance. Even though we may think that only humans can perform this task, robots these days have sensors that extend their capabilities far beyond what we imagine.

A robot arm fitted with a camera can determine if a product is well-crafted. Another one may have a built-in scale to ensure that products weigh the same or have weights within a certain range. With replaceable end effectors and high re-programmability, the possibilities are endless.

Additionally, robots these days are capable of data analysis. This means they can record data as they perform quality assurance, and they can produce a report for business owners to store for future use and spot problems as they arise.

The Advantages of Using Robot Arms

There are plenty of reasons to use robot arms instead of tasking a human employee or using an industrial robot.

  • Robot Arms are Small

The first reason robot arms may be appealing to business owners is because they are physically small. Human employees are meant to work alongside them, placing these robotic arms on countertops and tabletops. This is beneficial for many small- to medium-sized businesses that cannot afford to section off a big space on their factory floor to accommodate an industrial robot.

If needed, humans can lift and reposition robot arms to perform different tasks. They can place them along production lines effortlessly, which is a huge draw for many. The small-size solution also does not come with too many parts. Workers can assemble them quickly, in a matter of hours, straight from the box, and they remain relatively low maintenance all their working lives.

  • Robot Arms Improve Workplace Safety

robot arms make the workplace a safer space in two ways. Firstly, they are lightweight and can work alongside humans, making dangerous processes much easier to complete. Secondly, as lightweight robots themselves, they do not pose a threat to the people they work with.

As we have seen above, manufacturing and production lines can be dangerous places. Often, workers must handle large components, and they must deal with the use of fire in processes such as torching and welding. robots improve workplace safety by performing these tasks in the place of human workers. This decreases the risk human employees take on when they go to work and decreases the chance of accidents happening on the factory floor.

As they are lightweight robots with the option to be programmed, employees can also set safety parameters. This ensures the robots themselves do not pose a threat at work. We have seen, time and again, industrial robots malfunctioning and injuring employees. robots have sensors that can detect humans around them through sound and motion, and they can stop operating when they detect any level of risk.

  • Robot Arms Improve Efficiency

Another advantage of robot arms is that they greatly improve efficiency in the workplace. Many people say robots are cost-effective, and it is not difficult to see why. Human employees can program them easily and set them up within a few hours, including those who have no prior experience in tech and engineering.

Once the robot arm is set up, humans can leave them alone to perform their daily duties. robot arms do not get tired unlike humans, nor do they need to take toilet breaks. They can work continuously and produce consistent results after calibration, which means they can be trusted to operate alone on weekends.

Having this consistency means a higher production on factory floors. It also means fewer mistakes and higher product quality. All in all, this bodes well for businesses.

Conclusion

It comes as no surprise that robots have a wide range of capabilities and they are quickly becoming the preferred automation partner for many business owners. As they are agile and adaptable, they fall into favor with human employees by increasing safety in the workplace. The future of robots is bright, as manufacturers and engineers come up with new ways to deploy them in different scenarios.

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