hollogram arm holding human hand

How can an industrial robotic arm benefit companies?

As technology continues to progress rapidly, more manufacturers are turning to automation to keep up with consumer demands and remain competitive in their industry. With industrial robots becoming more affordable each passing year, even small to mid-sized businesses are turning to automation to speed up their production lines. According to a study done by McKinsey and Company, the average robot price has dropped by half, with it likely to become even cheaper in the future.

While in the past, most robots that had an industrial robotic arm were clunky and could only be used to do very simple tasks, since they did not have any way to tell objects apart. Now, this has changed. With high-quality sensors, cameras, soft touch grippers, as well as machine learning, companies can outfit robots with these technologies to assist in tasks such as quality assurance, palletizing, and assembly.

If you are thinking about utilizing an industrial robot for your manufacturing line, then make sure to consider all of the advantages that these robots could bring. We have listed out some of the top benefits that may apply to all kinds of manufacturing applications, regardless of industry.

Reduced costs

There is no doubt that industrial robots help to increase productivity and ensure tasks are completed quicker, meaning they can save on manufacturing costs. Operating costs are also reduced – as robots can take over repetitive tasks that once needed many human employees to do. Instead, these human employees can move on to do more strategic or creative tasks. Although it may seem like a huge upfront cost to get manufacturers and businesses to invest in a robot, you will be happy to know that they are becoming cheaper every year. Studies have suggested that businesses can recoup the cost of an industrial robot in around two years, with some reducing this to one year or less.

Increase productivity and efficiency

As industrial robots do not need to rest, sleep, or eat as human employees do, manufacturers can use them to boost the productivity and efficiency of their production lines. For instance, manufacturers can program industrial robots to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without any breaks in between. They can also be programmed to be consistent and precise in their movements, which would not be possible for a human employee. In effect, industrial robots, take the human error problem out of the equation. This means that the level of production is not only higher, but that output also drastically increases too. As a result, this would most likely boost a company’s bottom line. In fact, it has been shown that robots working alongside human employees are the most efficient way to speed up the production process, as both machines and humans can learn from each other and cover each other’s mistakes.

Enhance flexibility

Although most people might not know this, industrial robots are built to be flexible. This means they can be easily reprogrammed, retooled, and redeployed to different tasks needed in the production line. This is fantastic for smaller to mid-sized businesses that generally either have shorter manufacturing lines, but more high-mix, low-volume production. This means that everything is made-to-order, so a business produces a high variety of products in small batches. This method of production is now seeing an increase, as consumer trends tend to favor customization and uniqueness, meaning less mass production. To keep up with consumer demands, industrial robots must be flexible and learn how to do new tasks quickly, so they can rapidly switch between product lines or jobs without needing to take a long time to set up.

Boost product quality

The sad fact of life is that humans make errors. This is something that is inescapable, which means manufacturers must take this into account when running production lines. However, too many errors can lead to wastage (both in monetary costs and materials), in addition to dissatisfied customers and delays, which are not good for business. On the other hand, industrial robots can bypass this issue altogether. Because robots can be programmed to do specific tasks over and over again without them varying, this results in improved consistency in both products and quality. Additionally, robots also save manufacturers time and effort in replacing or fixing errors, so fewer resources are needed, making it more cost-effective in the long run.

Increase workplace safety

As industrial robots can take over repetitive and mundane tasks that human employees may struggle with, it increases workplace safety as well. Especially if the task is dangerous, hazardous, or damaging to an employee’s health. For example, lifting heavy objects. A human employee may have to worry about back pain and muscle strain, but an industrial robot does not. Industrial robots can also be used if there are unsafe working conditions. Say, if a company specializes in storing cold and fresh meat in a freezer, it can be hazardous for human workers to stay too long inside the cold storage, for fear of hypothermia. This problem is completely resolved when robots are used instead. Shifting work roles reduces accidents and injuries in the workplace and allows workers to stay healthier in the long run.

Enhance customer satisfaction

Because industrial robots are so consistent in the tasks they perform, the overall quality of the end product tends to be of higher quality. This means there will be fewer mistakes, errors, and damages, so customers do not have to request a new product. Higher customer satisfaction helps the business due to word-of-mouth referrals and reviews, which means – a free method of advertising, and also a way to generate more leads. If a customer requests any changes, then industrial robots can also quickly implement them as seamlessly as possible, without much delay. Industrial robots also help to keep up with customer demand and any customization requests they may ask for in their products.

Free up floor space

While in the past, industrial robots tended to be large and unwieldy, today it is not necessarily true. In fact, most of them are compact and can fit in small spaces. Some of them can also be mounted on walls, ceilings, and other strange places that can save floor space in a warehouse or factory. A few special robots, called cobots (short for collaborative robots) are even small enough that they can sit on tables, or next to your production line. They are designed to work side by side with human employees, meaning they are incredibly safe, as well as small. With companies able to produce products in a smaller space, this allows them to pack as many production activities in one area as possible. This, in turn, saves on costs, in addition to letting manufacturers complete all their tasks with a smaller footprint.

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