Whilst there is much hype and discussion about the rise of the robots and growing prevalence of artificial intelligence, industrial robots have been in action on manufacturing floors since the mid-1970s, with the first programmable robot designed by George Devol as early as 1954.
Now in 2016, today’s modern industrial robots are suitable for a vast range of different applications including automatic welding on production lines, pick and place on operational lines for sorting, stacking and orienting, palletising and stacking, painting robots used in spray booths and on production lines and in hazardous environments where there may be radioactivity, high temperatures or where there is harmful gases or vapours.
Advances in industrial robots are progressing rapidly. Robots are becoming more capable and ever smarter day by day. The IFR, International Federation of Robotics shows since 2010 worldwide demand for industrial robots has accelerated considerably due to the trend towards automation and continued innovative technical improvements, with the electronics and automotive industries leading the way in a total global market value of US$10.7 billion in 2014.
“We’ve seen a huge rise in demand for all manner of industrial robots” says Derek Marsh, Head of Marketing for automation experts Granta Automation. “For many of our customers, there is a very compelling commercial case for investing in robotics. After installation of an industrial robot, businesses will see a reduction in production costs, an increase in production quality and production speed which has a positive knock on effect on increasing sales and profitability. Robots can really improve the quality of work by taking on the tedious, dirty and dangerous tasks that may not be possible or safe for humans to take on.”
The IFR are predicting double digit growth for 2016 to 2018 with an estimated 1.3 million new industrial robots installed in factories around the world driven by a combination of factors including;
- Virtual reality integration in manufacturing methods
- The take up of simplified robotics in small to medium sized companies
- Modernisation and increasing capacity requirements of production facilities
- Growth in demand for robotics for low precision tasks, but also increasingly sophisticated high tech robot systems.
“We can certainly see the near future where industrial robots are becoming more prevalent in smaller businesses and working hand in hand collaboratively with humans in everyday tasks.” Says Derek Marsh. “It almost feels infinite in terms of what robotics can now achieve from the smallest ideas imaginable up to global industrial manufacturing projects, it’s a hugely exciting industry to be operating in.”
Granta have a number of experienced automation consultants that are working with companies to develop bespoke automation solutions to meet any business need or requirement. The Granta team can work alongside in-house engineers or design and develop the complete automation solution from scratch.
If you want to find out more about how Granta’s custom automation solutions can increase efficiency and product quality whilst reducing costs, contact the Granta team on 01223 499 488 for a free automation project assessment.