Manufacturing Automation Trends Taking Over The Industry


Manufacturers have developers and technicians of robotics at work right now trying to create something new. It is such innovations that are likely to influence manufacturing sooner than we expect. In the past decade, robotic automation in manufacturing has grown tremendously and is having great impact in the industry.

With roboticists working nonstop, these developments are showing no signs of slowing down or reversing. Here are some of the trends in robotics technology that are currently in the works and are likely to impact manufacturing operations in the near future.

Softer robots

Some developers are solely focused on creating robots with softer components specifically for use in manufacturing automation. The robots are covered with material such as rubber or plastic which helps endure the stress of the machine’s constant movement. This presents less danger to humans should they come into accidental contact with them. At present, some of the experiments involve the creation of soft, animal-inspired robots such as worms or caterpillars.

Since these projects are still in their early stage, the progress to date has only involved robots that lift comparatively light loads. However, there is a robotics company that boasts of owning a robotic arm weighing about 1 kilogram and can lift about five times its weight. Therefore, if other developers figure out how to balance power and softness, there could be consequential influence in applications that require a small industrial robot.

Sensors for big and powerful robots

While collaborative robots work safely among people, gigantic and more powerful robots are confined within enclosed work cells such as cages with the human workers staying at a safe distance. However, this could change over the next few years thanks to the continued efforts intended to make those massive and powerful pieces of equipment safe enough for humans to work near them.

Developers are placing 3D sensors around the robots in order for the machines to use software for building representations of the scenes around them. This software allows the robot to identify objects and humans or animals and then make estimations about the paths of moving things then, it controls the machine accordingly.

Robotic arms that are heavy duty

Heavy-duty robotic arms not only help in preventing accidental injuries which occur as a result of human strain or fatigue but also ensures the workflow runs smoothly. According to market analysis, researchers predict that the demand for heavy-duty robotic arms will have grown to $14.7 billion by 2026. This represents a combined annual growth rate of 4.73% for the forecast period starting in 2017.

Over this same time period, there will be more opportunities for humans to work with robots with these types of arms in their workplaces.

Robots working in hazardous environments

The continued growth of robots in various industrial sectors as well as other fields, has resulted in an increased need for engineers who specialize in robotics. Once these experts acquire at least a decade of experience, they often venture into the field of developing or creating new robotic machines and systems. These machines are expected to work collaboratively with their employers to meet their different needs.

Just like other professionals, engineers in robotics also deal with perpetual needs one being the constant need to figure out how a machine can free humans from dangerous, dirty and mundane tasks. Less and less people are willing to perform hazardous and unhealthy tasks knowing that accidents can happen at any time. For this reason, a good number of manufacturing companies run short of paid labor because there is barely anyone to fill in the spots.

Fortunately for everyone, makers of robotics are starting to introduce machines that are capable of tolerating strong fumes and toxic gases which are mostly associated with manual welding or in parts of a manufacturing plant that features flammable vapors. In the next couple of years, more of these robots will be widely used in manufacturing operations.


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