What are the Benefits of Using Robotics in Automotive Manufacturing?

Auto Tech Outlook | Friday, February 07, 2020

Car manufacturing is a complicated process and it is challenging for human workers. Thus, manufactures have adopted robotics to maintain and improve operational efficiency.

FREMONT, CA:  The automotive industry has been using robotics in their assembly lines for more than 50 years. Robots have proven to be more efficient, flexible, and dependable on these production lines. Robotics technology makes the automotive sector and one of the largest users of robots. Car manufacturing robots have reshaped the automotive companies as they improve quality, reduce warranty costs, relieve bottlenecks, increase capacity, and protect workers from dirty, challenging, and dangerous jobs. Car manufacturers use robots for tasks such as spot welding and painting, but the supply chain can use robots for a variety of new opportunities. OEMs, Tier 1s, and other part producers all want a piece of the hot pie using robots in the car manufacturing sector.

Robots are the perfect workers on the assembly line as they never get tired or distracted. So, every cycle is performed the same way. Robots neither drop parts nor mishandle them in a way that causes damage, which reduces waste previously caused by human error. Automotive robots equipped with vision systems can detect the quality of incoming materials and change their programmed paths accordingly. Consequently, they increase customer satisfaction, make fewer mistakes, and lower warranty costs.

Automotive supply chains run a lean assembly line with minimal inventory to buffer against production delays. Automotive part manufacturers understand that even the smallest problems can halt the entire production line. Hence, manufacturers use robots as they do not feel end-of-shift fatigue, the cycle times are constant throughout the day, and peak production rates are consistent. Additionally, robots can work through breaks and shift changeovers which results in additional output. The majority of the tasks in automotive manufacturing are hazardous such as pouring molten metal in a foundry. Using a robot can eliminate the risks to humans. Robots save humans from the fumes of welding and painting, weld flash, and noise of stamping presses. Thus, robots cut accidents and injury claims by preventing workers from performing these dangerous tasks and environments.   

Robots have the flexibility to switch almost instantly, whether its compact machine trimming from flash range of plastic moldings or sport welding different vehicle body styles in quick succession. Robots can process a wide variety of parts by using vision systems or technology like RFID tags. The robots can be redeployed with little additional or no cost when a product line disappears.

While small robots can weld brackets and mounts, larger robots with high payload can weld car body panels. In car manufacturing plants, tasks such as screw driving, wheel mounting, and windshield installation fall under the robotics category. Good examples of robots tending production machines are unloading hot moldings from an injection molding or loading and dumping CNC machining centers.  A robot is an ideal tool for light trimming and cutting tasks as it can follow a convoluted path repeatedly. Furthermore, robots can efficiently perform tasks such as pouring molten metal in a foundry and transferring a metal stamp from one press to the next, which are dangerous for human workers. Robots are easier to program; thus, manufacturers are interested in adopting automotive robots.

See also: Top Automotive Technology Consulting/Services Companies

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