It’s no secret that machines and robotics are quickly emerging as a powerful workforce. More than ever, jobs are being replaced by machines that can do them faster and more efficiently. Everything from shop assistants to doctors are already being replaced. It won’t be long before robots are driving our taxis (well, the cars will be driving themselves). But let’s take a look back at where it all started: the world of manufacturing.
Robots have long existed in factory environments. In fact, they were key to the early production lines. However, things have come a long way since then and the technology is now fascinating. For example, there are now rotary tables that are used in manufacturing and precision-cutting of metal products.
Let’s take a look at some of the robotic machinery working in the manufacturing industry.
CNC machines – CNC machines are sophisticated tools that control cutters, grinders, mills or routers. They are controlled by a simple computer, and wield a variety of tools. They are used to cut and manufacture to an incredibly high precision. The most advanced examples are the 5 Axis CNC machines. They are routinely used in the aerospace industry, as well as agriculture and standard manufacture. The computers within control a series of high power tools and there’s a lot of power inside.
3D printing – If you regularly read technology blogs, you’ll have heard of 3D printers. They’ve been the hot topic for tech enthusiasts for more than a decade. They were predicted to change the world, and, in a slow way, they are. Already employed in hospitals to print new organs and body parts, these machines are fantastic. However, they’re most commonly used in manufacturing. 3D printers quickly manufacture just about anything from just a simple computer input. It’s revolutionising the prototyping and production industry.
Laser cutting – Combining robots with lasers is destined to produce a cool machine. However, these are now commonplace in many factories. Using lasers to cut through metal and other materials is significantly more efficient. It’s faster, more precise, and leaves much less waste. Laser cutting has been used for more than a decade, but its capacity is increasing every year.
Painting, welding, gluing – Machines and robots aren’t just doing the heavy work in manufacturing processes like sheet metal fabrication. They’re also involved in the final touches and assembly. We see significant evidence of this in the auto manufacture industry. The Ford assembly line was the first example of a modern production system ever. Now, the auto industry uses thousands of robots to paint, weld, and glue the various car parts in the factory.
Sensors – Most interestingly, these machines are growing beyond the scope of their main job. Many are now fitted with sensors, which means they understand their surroundings. They can move out of the way if something comes near them. If there’s a problem, they can react. It fascinating technology, and a clear indication of what’s to come.
It’s clear that robots and machinery are becoming more sophisticated. They’re more powerful and efficient than ever before. Moreover, they’re becoming self-aware and responsive. It’s quite a leap forward. The future looks exciting, folks.