Robots are becoming more critical at auto assembly and supplier plants. And they are taking on more responsibility. Here are three trends to watch:
Robots do more
Flexible fixturing is a system in which robots work together. For example, four fixturing robots can be programmed to lift a vehicle body at a certain point on the assembly line so that a spot welding robot can do its job.
If the next vehicle on the line is a different model, the same robots can be programmed to know when and where to lift the new model so that it can be welded.
Ultimately, flexible fixturing allows multiple vehicles or parts to be processed on the same line.
A vision system allows a robot to see two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally. A force system enables a robot to know the maximum pressure it can apply to a part.
When the systems are combined, they let robots perform delicate tasks, such as assembling a clutch. Robots are able to produce products that are more accurate than when assembled by hand. Ultimately, this can cut companies' warranty costs and help address workers' ergonomics issues.
A robot controller is the hardware and software package that runs a robot. Smart robot controllers can act as a master control device that coordinates the action of multiple robots, instead of just one robot.
The smart control system makes it easier and quicker to change parts on robots, requiring adjustment on only one controller instead of several. This streamlines production.
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