Few machines evoke as much concern and outright fear as the industrial robot. Perhaps the problem is those journalists and “experts” who sound like modern day Paul Reveres crying, “The robots are coming! The robots are coming!”
Of course, they’re not wrong. Industrial robots are on the rise, but that doesn’t mean they’re rising up. There are no “would-be” terminators lurking in the dark. Perhaps a few facts can lay all those robotic myths to rest.
Robots are Essential
Many of the items we buy were produced by industrial robots. Robots perform precision assembly, ensure consistent quality and lower costs.
Robots are Still Fairly Dumb
Robots just follow instructions written by a programmer. That means they need structured environments with precise positioning. The latest robots are getting smarter because they use cameras to locate objects in their workspace, but they cannot operate without instruction.
Robots Don’t Need to be Caged
Today, most robots are caged to protect people. This is because robots move quickly and powerfully in ways not always obvious to a bystander. Today, there is a trend toward using other safety measures than cages.
New safety controls coupled with area and force sensors have brought about “collaborative” robots. These robots stop moving before striking a human who inadvertently gets in their way and wait patiently until it’s safe to move again. The benefit, besides increased safety, is less space and money for those big cages.
Robots Do the Dirty Work
Manufacturing has come a long way from the IndustrialRevolution, but that doesn’t mean there are no difficult or dangerous jobs. Loud noise causes hearing loss; repeated bending, lifting and twisting cause musculoskeletal disorders; and repeating precise assembly motions lead to carpal tunnel and repetitive strain injuries.
All these are avoided by letting robots do the heavy, difficult, dangerous and repetitive work.
There are a lot of robotic myths in circulation. You can read about the biggest here and learn why they are not true. The reality is, robots are essential, they’re making the world a better place, and forward-thinking manufacturers are using them in ever-greater numbers.
If you'd like more industrial robotics information, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) is a great source.
To discuss how robotics could benefit your business, call or email Acieta today.