Robots in Industrial Automation

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As manufacturing assembly has grown increasingly complex, the need for new and expanded capabilities, particularly in automated assembly systems, has become evident. As components get smaller, as in micro-manufacturing, it is required that greater precision, more flexibility and higher throughput are achieved. Manual assembly no longer suffices for a great many of manufacturing's current requirements.

Functions formerly performed by humans, especially difficult, dangerous, monotonous, or tedious tasks, are now often assumed by robots or other mechanical devices that can be operated by humans or computers. Robots can take the place of humans in extreme settings or life threatening situations involving nuclear contaminants, corrosive chemicals, or poisonous fumes.

While the automotive industry is the largest market for robot manufacturers, other industries are increasing their use of robotics. According to reports from the Robotics Industries Association, industries such as semiconductors and electronics, metals, plastics and rubber, food and consumer goods, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and aerospace are all finding ways that their services can be enhanced and improved through robotics.

Some of these manufacturers are also improving the quality of their products by using robots with powerful machine-vision inspection equipment or by linking their robots to statistical process control systems. Robot fixtures can move quickly and fluidly without sacrificing accuracy. Servo-driven positioners can be programmed to handle more than one model on the same line, something especially important to lean organizations. T

his programmability also allows its users to set up the systems again and again for different applications. In most cases, converting robots from one application to another can be completed with minimal downtime, requiring only programming changes. Benefits include reduced capital expenses (you don't have to buy new fixtures for new applications), floor space requirements, lead-time, component expenses, and training investment.

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