It is difficult to imagine how car manufacturing ever happened before robots came into the picture. There must have been tasks that were difficult or even downright risky for human beings to perform. The robots not only took over such tasks, they also gave and continue to give automotive plants a competitive edge.
Car Manufacturing Robots
Car manufacturing robots have helped in improving quality and thus reducing warranty costs. They also protect workers from dirty, dangerous and repetitive tasks. While the robots are used mainly for painting and spot welding, there are numerous opportunities to use them throughout the supply chain. Having the right robot software is crucial.
Manufacturers invest in robots for a variety of reasons, but in the automotive factories, the main reasons are:
A huge advantage that robots have over humans is that they neither tire nor get distracted. They can perform a task over and over throughout the day or for as long as it takes without needing breaks or getting bored. In addition, their performance is consistent as they do not err. They are able to handle parts without dropping them thus avoiding damage and by extension, waste. Additionally, it means less variability in assembly.
Since they are fitted with vision systems, robots used in the automotive industry can detect variations in incoming materials and adjust their paths to suit them. This results in fewer errors and reduced warranty costs which leads to customer satisfaction.
Manufacturers aim for consistent times and process control every step of the way. They try to avoid running into problems which can stop the assembly line. Robots do not suffer the usual robot limitations, so assembly is constant and at all hours. Humans will need breaks throughout the day and cannot work through the night. Robots can, which means production is greater with robots.
Safety for the Workers
Many of the jobs in the car production lines can be very dangerous. The thought of molten metal spilling onto a human does not bear thinking about. Then there are the less obvious dangers such as muscular issues resulting from lifting and turning especially if these tasks are repetitive. Robots have no such concerns and can safely take up such tasks. They also keep workers from exposure to harmful emissions that could result in respiratory complications as well as protecting humans from noise pollution.
Automotive robots are able to:
- Changeover smoothly from one task to the next. They have the Flexible Gripper Design to facilitate this changeover.
- Handle the different product families.
- Be redeployed without much cost.
Applications for Automotive Robots
Car parts take a while to fix because there are myriads of them. A human worker would take a long time to fix them in even one small car. The manufacturing processes to make these parts are numerous. Automotive robots make the work of manufacturing these parts and assembling not only easier but also faster.
Some of the applications that these robots are best suited for include:
- Welding: this task is best suited for large robots with a high payload and a long reach. They are very capable of welding car body panels. Smaller robots weld brackets and mounts.
- Assembly: this involves tasks such as screw driving, installing windshields and mounting wheels. This best done by automotive robots.
- Material removal: for instance, light trimming and cutting tasks.
- Part transfer: it is safer for the robot to pour molten metal into a foundry and transfer a metal stamp from press A to press B. a human worker could easily get hurt performing these tasks.
- Machine tending: this involves uploading hot moldings from a die casting machine or injection molding.
- Painting, sealing and coating: a robot will be consistent and the painting will therefore be done in a uniform manner.
Ultimately, automotive robots have various advantages over humans which make them indispensable in the vehicle manufacturing plants which are very competitive. Product quality as well as volume plays a huge role in the success of any motor vehicle production plant.
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