Robotic machine vision system in phone factory

What is a robot?

A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer.” – English Oxford  Dictionary

When was the first robot made?

Arguably, the first phrase “robot” was coined by the Czechoslovakian term for “work”, during a science fiction play, premiered in 1921 composed by Karel Capek. This play first introduced robots being created in a factory as mass-produced slaves. However, thorough research suggests that the idea of robotics was formulated much earlier than this time.

The very first recorded idea and production of a robot was during the 4th century BC by the acclaimed Greek mathematician, Archytas. This documentation details the creation of a wooden bird that was mechanically conducted by a pivot bar. Interestingly, this invention was not only labelled the first robot ever known, but also the first ever time that a scientist tackled to explain how birds actually fly.  From this point on, Archytas was classified as the “father of mechanical engineering.”

The history of robots

The evolution of modern robotics began in 1943 when science fiction author, Isaac Azimov stated three laws on how a robot must behave. The laws are as followed;

  1. Must not injure a human through physical interaction or allowing a human to be harmed.
  2. Must obey all commands set by a human, unless this collides with the first law.
  3. Must protect their own survival, as long as this does not conflict with both the first and second law.

These laws have continued to stick as technologies have advanced, as robots and human begin to work together efficiently over the centuries. An example of this is during factory work, such as a traditional car factory, where human beings were able to promptly construct a car, with the help of a conveyor belt and machinery helping with all heavy lifting aspects.

An analysis of industrial robotics

Before considering whether to incorporate robotics into your manufacturing, both advantages and disadvantages should be analysed to understand how they can aid your business in particular.

Advantages:

Efficiency growth

As programmed, robots are able to complete tasks quicker and in a more precise manner than humans. As industrial robots are less likely to get exhausted over periods of time, this can speed up manufacturing on the production line by being able to work for longer and create shorter cycle times, as a result.

Increased profitability

Inevitably from a top-level point of view, with an increased amount of products being produced, a larger amount of capital can be generated. However, as manufacturing robots especially can be instructed to strategically cause less wastage and implement quality assurance procedures.  

Uniqueness

By acquiring new industrial robotic machinery, this can definitely be an interesting feature to announce. This can help your business stand out amongst competitors who have not purchased this cutting edge technology and can help to sell your unique business proposition.

Disadvantages:

Automatic Assembly

 

Up front capital

Robotics are particularly expensive to purchase initially, whilst also needing expert programming for the robot to suit the precise procedures of the business. Manufacturing robots also require ongoing costs, in the event of the robot having a malfunction, or needs the programming needs to be updated to meet new process procedures.

Thorough expertise

In order to understand and work the industrial robotics, the business’ employees will also need training, which unavoidably takes time and capital to fully grasp. By thoroughly training employees initially to understand operating the manufacturing robots, this is likely to work as an advantage in the long-term of the manufacturing process as a whole.

Identifying needs

It should be recognised that by simply purchasing a manufacturing robot, this does not assure an increase results. The product being manufactured must be able to be made with automation and still meet their aligned business goals.

How can businesses incorporate industrial robots?

If a business chooses to integrate robotics into their business, they should carefully recognise that thorough training should be provided. This will aid in a straightforward integration into the business, and should also be adaptable to different procedures.

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