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Automotive Manufacturing: Here Are 7 Robot Applications

Auto Tech Outlook | Wednesday, October 28, 2020

In many automotive manufacturing plants, light robotic arms bring together smaller parts like pumps and motors at high speed. Other tasks like wheel mounting, windshield installations, and screw driving, are done by robot arms.

FREMONT, CA: For over half-century, the automotive industry has been making use of robots in their assembly lines for an array of manufacturing processes. At present, automakers are exploring the employment of robotics in even more methods. Robots are more flexible, efficient, accurate, and reliable on the production lines. This technology has facilitated the sector to remain the most automated supply chains globally, and the most significant users of robots.

With over thousands of parts and wires in every vehicle, it takes a multifaceted manufacturing process to get components to where they should be. Below are several robotic applications that are critical to an efficient assembly line:

1. Robotic Vision

A light industrial robotic arm with eyes can do more accurate work because it can see what it is doing. The robot wrist carries the camera array and laser, which gives the machine immediate feedback. Robots can now execute proper offsetting when setting up a part since they know where it goes. Installation of door panels, fenders, and windshields are more precise with robotic vision than ordinary robot arms.

2. Spot and Arc Welding

Massive industrial robots with higher payload capabilities and long arms handle spot welding on large body panels. Smaller robots weld lighter parts like brackets and mounts. Metal Inert Gas (MIG) and Robotic Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welders can place the torch in the same orientation on each cycle. Safeguarding high welding standards in each fabrication is feasible due to the speed gap and repeatable arc.

Collaborative robots work jointly with other huge industrial robots on massive assembly lines. Robotic handlers and welders should collaborate to keep the production line moving. Additionally, robotic handlers ought to place panels at a specific location so that the welding robot can carry out all the programmed welds.

3. Assembly

In many automotive manufacturing plants, light robotic arms bring together smaller parts like pumps and motors at high speed. Other tasks like wheel mounting, windshield installations, and screw driving, are done by robot arms.

4. Painting, Sealing, and Coating

An automotive painter’s job is not simple and is toxic to boot. Besides, labor shortages make it hard to find skilled and professional painters. Robotic arms can fill in the void as the job entails uniformity for each coat of paint. Robots can chase a programmed path, constantly covering large areas and limiting waste. Machines are also helpful for spraying adhesives, primers, and sealants.

5. Machine Tending and Part Transfer

Transferring metal stamps, pouring molten metal in a foundry, and loading and unloading CNC machines is dangerous for human workers. This type of work is ideal for large industrial robots. Loading/ unloading tasks and machine tending are also done by smaller cobots for minor manufacturing operations.

6. Materials Removal

Robots can chase a complex path multiple times without deteriorating, making it the faultless tool for trimming and cutting jobs. Light robots with force-sensing technology are well-suited to this type of work. The responsibilities include trimming flash from plastic moldings, cutting fabric, and polishing molds.

7. Internal Logistics

Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) and other AVs like forklifts can be used in an industry setting to move raw materials and other components from storage areas to the factory floor. For instance, one motor company recently implemented AMRs from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) to distribute industrial and welding materials to different robot stations on the factory floor, substituting a manual process.

Programming and deploying a robot labor force these days is more accessible than it was a decade ago, and production lines have been more competent ever since. Above are a myriad of robotic applications used in auto manufacturing today. Furthermore, there are also numerous projects in the pipeline that aspire to enhance security, reliability, and productivity. The result of these projects will be reduced costs and faster delivery times.

See also: Top Automotive Technology Consulting/Services Companies

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