It is no secret that robots are here accomplishing tasks with accuracy and consistency. Once the stuff of science fiction, now many industries are adopting robots to carry out tasks that are either repetitive or dangerous.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at how robots are being utilized in industry and how manufacturers such as Robotnik are pushing the envelope in terms of what’s possible with autonomous mobile robots together with other robotic types such as manipulators.
Robotics has come to the rescue of many companies that have to transport dangerous loads from one section of a factory floor or warehouse to another since they can lift both heavy and dangerous loads, removing any threat imposed on their human co-workers.
Autonomous mobile robots (AMR) often have a very low center of gravity and this adds a further element of safety. In fact, many load transporting robots resemble platforms and can carry loads of around 1000 Kg easily.
Many AMRs can be piloted by a human remotely, or be completely autonomous as they have hazard recognition features built in.
There can be no doubt that when it comes to transporting goods, AMR and similar robots are here to stay.
Robots are very good at keeping humans safe. Take, for example, robot manipulators that disarm bombs. They are sent in, no humans are hurt and the threat is neutralized.
There are, however, other areas which are not so well known. Currently, autonomous mobile robots are used in the construction sector. They are capable of working in all weathers and indoor environments. They scan the work carried out by the construction crews comparing it with plans uploaded into the AMR system. If the AMR detect a deviation from the plans, it flags it up allowing any defects to be remedied.
This keeps the construction project moving as planned, and with crews able to repair and remedy quickly, the project moves on schedule. This saves time and money thanks to better productivity management casuing the risk of a structural defect occurring to be reduced while saving lives.
Security is another area where robots are playing an increasing part. AMRs can be equipped with a camera which shows real-time images to an operator, who controls the AMR and the camera. For patrols, this is perfect as security teams can detect the presence of a nefarious intruder with no personal risk.
This is expanded as the AMR can patrol outside too in all weathers.
Security together with other applications such as transport is taken further by the use of robotic cars. These can effectively drive themselves along a pre-planned route. If you imagine a dangerous situation such as a warzone, a driverless car carrying a load of up to 1000 Kg can be used instead of a man driven vehicle.
As many manufacturing and engineering operations rely on just in time delivery, shortages of components at mission critical times slow down production considerably. Forward thinking companies have started to use AMRs to collect components and deliver them to where it needs to be in the supply chain.
This saves money, saves time, and keeps productivity on track.
The sophistication of the navigation is key to the success of the project. It can navigate hazards in confined environments such as corridors and it can negotiate other robots, forklift trucks and people.
Deployment of this robot has resulted in fewer human piloted forklift trucks as they are no longer needed, and the robot works tirelessly when needed.
One job robots are particularly good at is quality control. Equipped with a sophisticated manipulator it is able to detect which products pass QC and which ones do not. It is not just product returns which add cost and time, but more importantly, returns damage a business’s reputation and this can be a real problem.
Manufacturing plants now use this kind of robot and make more use of it by allowing it to travel around the plant where needed.
Like other robots of this kind, sophisticated navigation systems allow it to move around safely.
Embedded in the Pyrenees Mountain Range a power line connects France and Spain. Developed by Interconexión Eléctrica Francia-España, it is an ambitious project. The idea is that it can make use of energy between the two countries. As you can imagine miles of miles of powerline require a lot of inspection to detect problems. The solution was to install a robotic train equipped with thermal imaging and gas detection equipment.
The robot can swing into action whenever needed, and the powerline stays on giving power to two countries. Robots are being used in industries all the time. Before too long they will be at use in homes, but that is another story!