Robots Continue to Rise

The growth of industrial robots began in the automotive industry and spread like wild fire since then. Industrial robots can tackle practically any application and bring a higher throughput and precision than manual completion.


Indus­tri­al robots began appear­ing in the ear­ly 1970’s when com­pa­nies like KUKA Robot­ics intro­duced the first sim­ple indus­tri­al robots. Robot devel­op­ment has accel­er­at­ed rapid­ly ever since, with appli­ca­tions expand­ing from basic grind­ing and pol­ish­ing to high­ly pre­cise weld­ing, pal­letiz­ing, and autonomous bin-pick­ing. The expo­nen­tial growth of indus­tri­al robots began in the auto­mo­tive indus­try and has expand­ed to many types of man­u­fac­tur­ing appli­ca­tions. The increased use of robots has been dri­ven by the fact that robots are able to turn any size man­u­fac­tur­er or busi­ness into a prof­itable glob­al com­peti­tor by cut­ting labor costs and boost­ing pro­duc­tion effi­cien­cy, all with­out sac­ri­fic­ing quality.

Robots are now in wide­spread use in the Unit­ed States, from large auto­mo­tive assem­bly line robots to effi­cient groups of pal­letiz­ing robots in small machine shops. The Robot­ics Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion (RIA) report­ed sales of 25,500 robots in 2012 for a total of $1.66 bil­lion dol­lars. That rep­re­sents a 17% increase in robot sales from the pre­vi­ous year (27% more dol­lars). These increas­ing sales num­bers indi­cate enor­mous growth poten­tial in the future of robots, espe­cial­ly since the RIA esti­mates that only 10% of busi­ness­es that could ben­e­fit from using robots are cur­rent­ly using them. This makes the 225,000 robots cur­rent­ly in ser­vice in the U.S. only the tip of the ice­berg. Robots will con­tin­ue to be on the rise as the com­pet­i­tive glob­al mar­ket dri­ves the remain­ing 90% of com­pa­nies to use robots to increase effi­cien­cy while main­tain­ing or improv­ing qual­i­ty. This increase of indus­tri­al robots in the Unit­ed States is also fueled by the recent trend of com­pa­nies return­ing their oper­a­tions back to the U.S. from over­seas. Logis­tics sim­pli­fi­ca­tion and bet­ter polit­i­cal con­di­tions are bring­ing com­pa­nies back, but the high­er cost of labor in the Unit­ed States is push­ing more and more com­pa­nies to auto­mate. Anoth­er major fac­tor in the increased use of robots is the recov­ery of the auto­mo­tive indus­try. How­ev­er, emerg­ing appli­ca­tions for robots, like pal­letiz­ing and auto­mat­ed bin-pick­ing, apply to near­ly all busi­ness­es and will have robots on the rise in 2013 and beyond. New capa­bil­i­ties are expand­ing the use of robots to dif­fer­ent types of busi­ness­es like the food and con­sumer goods sec­tor where Robot​ics​.org notes that orders jumped 31% in the first quar­ter of 2012.” This is just one of the many new busi­ness sec­tors that is begin­ning real­ize the poten­tial of robots.

Spe­cif­ic robot mod­els that exem­pli­fy the more advanced and effi­cient future of robots are the Motoman VA1400 weld­ing robot, the Fanuc M‑1iA spi­der robot” and the KUKA HA (“High Accu­ra­cy”) robot. The Motoman VA1400 is a high­ly advanced weld­ing robot that stands alone in the indus­try with its sev­en-axis mobil­i­ty. Oth­er weld­ing robots only maneu­ver on six axes, but the Motoman VA1400’s elbow-like sev­enth axis allows it to work in more com­pact areas on com­plex appli­ca­tions. This is valu­able on prod­ucts that require the robot to weld hard-to-reach areas. This increased mobil­i­ty allows high qual­i­ty weld­ing to be done by few­er robots, tak­ing up less space. The Fanuc Robot­ics M‑1iA is a great exam­ple of a unique, mul­ti-limbed spi­der robot” that can be used to effi­cient­ly per­form pick-and-place oper­a­tions. The Fanuc M‑1iA’s dis­tinc­tive build allows it to have a great deal of dex­ter­i­ty to del­i­cate­ly han­dle a large num­ber of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts with impres­sive speed and .2mm repeata­bil­i­ty. The M‑1iA is just one of Fanuc’s line of spi­der robots” which have a range of sizes, mount­ing options, pay­loads, and poten­tial appli­ca­tions to suit each unique cus­tomer. KUKA Robot­ics has devel­oped the KUKA HA (High Accu­ra­cy) series of robots that have indus­try-lead­ing .1mm repeata­bil­i­ty. Due to high­ly advanced gear­ing and ser­vo tech­nol­o­gy the KUKA HA series is able to main­tain its impres­sive accu­ra­cy and repeata­bil­i­ty and still have a high pay­load capac­i­ty. With the pay­load and flex­i­bil­i­ty to have dozens of appli­ca­tions and the advanced tech­nol­o­gy to per­form each of them so accu­rate­ly that qual­i­ty is nev­er com­pro­mised, the KUKA HA series is the total package.

The future of indus­tri­al robots is cer­tain­ly bright. With the com­bi­na­tion of tremen­dous growth poten­tial and ever-advanc­ing tech­nol­o­gy mak­ing robots more effi­cient, effec­tive, and eco­nom­i­cal robots will con­tin­ue to be on the rise. For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Robots​.com online or at 8777626881.

May 26, 2013