Did you know that most repetitive tasks in factories can be automated reduces worker fatigue, health hazards, and improves productivity?
Robot is derived from the word robota , which literally translates to hard work or forced labour in many Slavic languages including Czech. An industrial robot is a combination of multiple electro-mechanical components that synergistically work to assist humans in many ways. Today, industrial robots use sensors extensively, and work on principles based on mathematical models. That is, the exact parameters in three-dimensional Cartesian coordinate axes (X, Y, Z) are required to begin tasks (lift & place parts, transport parts, etc.).
In general, six major types of robots are used in factories ”Articulated, Cartesian, SCARA, Delta, Polar, and Cylindrical. Designers choose a robot type is based on important decision factors (load, orientation, speed, travel, precision, environment, and duty cycle).
The first known industrial robot meeting the ISO definition was created by Griffith Bill P. Taylor in 1937. The machine had a crane like design, powered by a single electric motor, with five axes of movement. It was automated (programmed) through punched paper tapes.
In 1954, George Charles Devol patented the first prototype of a programmable robot (punched paper tapes) that could stack wooden blocks. His firm Unimation (founded in 1956) developed the first robot used by General Motors in the automotive sector in 1961-62.
In the 1960’s, Japan’s economic growth surpassed West Germany’s, their automobile firms and other factories faced major labour shortages. Kawasaki, in partnership with Unimation launched the first Japanese industrial robot Kawasaki-Unimate 2000’ in 1969.
In the 1970s and 1980’s, rapid development of robotic technologies took place across the world including USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland. For example, the use of microprocessors, advanced sensors, and machine vision systems. These developments helped robots perform complex & repetitive task precision manufacturing and hazardous situations.
As per Mordor Intelligence, the industrial robotics market was valued at US $24.35 billion in 2020. This value is expected to be about US $52.85 billion in 2026, with a CAGR of 14.11% over this forecast period (2021-2026). The fastest growing market and largest market is the Asia Pacific region, led by China. The key drivers of growth are rise of e-commerce, electronics, and the automotive industry.
Among other sectors, industrial robots are extensively used automobile and electronics manufacturing:
• Time is a critical element in automobile manufacturing (assembly line processes), tasks involve – movement of heavy parts, and different types of welding. Robots can reduce workplace accidents and contribute to achieve on-time deliveries.
• Cleanliness and Quality are of utmost importance in electronics manufacturing (cleanrooms). The time involved to build microchips can vary from a few weeks up to a few months – depends on the complexity of the integrated circuits. Robots can help these firms achieve very high production efficiencies (Six Sigma/3.4 PPM).