Author: Tronserve admin
Friday 30th July 2021 02:39 AM
Interest in Robotic Automation for CNC Machine Shops Increasing
According to the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), robot unit orders in North America last year increased by 1.6% compared to 2018. The total number of robots ordered in 2019 was 29,988. The RIA says the largest driver of the growth was a 50.5% increase in orders from automotive OEMs and a 16.6% increase from the plastics and rubber industry.
Production Machining editors have encountered anecdotal evidence of precision machine shops’ increasing interest in robots. This type of automation can add capacity by taking advantage of time that’s currently unused, like nights and weekends. Plus, skilled employees are becoming harder to find. This makes a company’s current set of talented employees so valuable that they need to leverage that value as far as it will go. It can also help shops maintain steady production when employees are unavailable for work, which today can be a reality given the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. And while any high-production manufacturing plant is the natural candidate for robotic automation, even small shops are now beginning to consider it.
Today’s robots are faster and more intelligent than ever before. Latest vision technology as exemplified by high-speed, high-definition cameras offer improved part recognition capability for picking operations. Offline robot programming tools are becoming more powerful and intuitive, too. In addition, some robots can work safely alongside employees. A current trend in manufacturing robotics is the application of collaborative robots, or “cobots.” These robots use sensor technology that enables them to function safely alongside humans in a shared work environment. That means no more isolating fencing is needed to separate worker and robot.