Robotic automation is one of the more popular applications that we supply. This blog, we'll be covering some of the different types of automation applications and how they differ from one another. We'll also be covering the different types of cables that are used within these applications.
To start things off, wire and cable within automation are almost always for specific application pieces. This can be anything from custom control panels and motor cable to custom assemblies. But why do so many large, successful companies rely on this new type of workforce? The answer is simple; it's an investment. Yes, the initial cost is expensive, and depending on your operation's size, it can easily cost millions. At the same time, if you're able to efficiently and effectively implement this new type of automation in certain circumstances, organizations could pay those costs within two years and sometimes even within the same year.
Let's think long-term. Is it more cost-effective to hire a key labourer for 40 hours a week + overtime costs, or have a robot work for $0.75 every hour, 24 hours a day for seven days a week, 52 weeks a year?
These different types of robotics do wildy vary in price, which is based on the overall tasks the application requires. This could be from parts, coding scripts, initial setup, research, and anything else the automation application demands.
The first application we're going to cover is slowly becoming one of the most prominent applications on the market and one that is heavily used by Amazon and Alibaba. The device being described is the Roomba-shaped robots simply called "drives." The drives are heavily used and have been able to replace a number of employees. This specific example of robotics is relied on for small scale distribution centers, and they're tasked with bringing packages from one employee to another.
This is one of the more simple applications, but there's still a number of issues that need to be worked out. Even though we can see robotics effectively manage tasks such as building a microchip or building a Telsa's frame, these jobs don't excel immediately because of how complex completing human-oriented tasks can become. Being able to replace numerous workers, eradicate human error, and having the ability to operate for long periods of time, is a process that takes hundreds if not thousands of hours of planning and testing to perfect.
Robotic Arm Automation
The next popular automation application was utilized early on in the manufacturing of motor vehicles. These are the large robotic arms. In the pictures above and below, you'll notice the different types of applications these robotics are subject to, welding, handling chemicals, packaging, labelling, painting, testing, etc. With such a variety of applications available, this type of robotics has become one of the most customizable and reliable in large scale manufacturing facilities.
Large robotic arms are one of the most popular types of automation worldwide but also one of the largest investments. From installation to long term planning, safety, setup, and maintenance costs can end up being quite pricey. Studies have shown that automation investments will pay for themselves typically after two years or less, depending on the application size and complexity. Large robotic arms are one of the more costly installations, but the tasks these large arms are completing can replace up to 1-5 employees. Although these installations can sometimes cost tens of millions of dollars, they can potentially save hundreds of millions if utilized fully and correctly over time.
Safety is the last major point I wanted to highlight with large scale robotics. Safety is always an organization's number one concern, which is why it's one of the primary considerations when planning out applications. This requires finding the optimal space the applications need to perform, making sure employees are out of the way, making sure harmful materials or chemicals never leave the designated areas and anything else your application may be subject to. When planning for safety specifically, there are several safety guidelines that must be followed, which are typically passed by government institutions like UL, CSA, Fire Services Advisory Board, and pieces of legislation like the Fire Protection and Prevention Act 1997. All of these different entities are put in place to help make applications as safe as possible, while still making them cost-effective alternatives.
Another very interesting robotic automation application is "Tabletop Robotics." Tabletop robotics can come in varying designs, although they're typically based around the popular one arm design; however, there are different dual-arm robotics like ABB's YuMi. As mentioned above, the single-arm automation robotics can be used for a number of things, but the tabletop aspect is a little bit different as it allows for more precise and cost-effective designs.
The different designs that accompany tabletop robotics vary widely on what the applications require. This could be anything from different arm lengths, more precise movements, twisting, increased range of motion and anything else that's application dependant. Being customizable also enables these types of robotics to fulfill requirements that are typically quite difficult to incorporate.
Tabletop robotics is one of the fastest-growing types of automation, simply because of the variety of tasks they're able to complete. Think about many of the different jobs in factories, whether it's a simple assembly, sorting objects or moving things to different locations. The ideas are endless. With this design, you can also move the physical robot to different areas quickly and safely. Overall this type of robotics is easily set up, has easy maintenance, can be moved to different locations fast and safely, all while being customizable to help meet every type of application requirement.
Many different types of robotics are strong solutions for a number of different industries. Some of these types of robotics are less popular simply because of the demand for their specific construction. A few of these reliable, but less used products are:
- Parallel Robots
- SCARA Robots
Lastly, these different types of robotics are quite different from one another. For example, the Cobot listed above is typically used as an assistance tool. This means key labourers will need to be in the vicinity or physically working with the active robot, which will still help improve production but in a different way.
In general, robotic automation will be very cost-effective if properly prepared for, no matter what type of construction you use. The future of these types of products will forever continue to evolve, creating faster, safer, more efficient and cost-effective designs. Whether your organization is dealing with chemicals, creating circuit boards, painting or even dealing with different kinds of hazardous materials, robotics is a perfect solution. If you are interested in robotics or automation, feel free to reach out to one of the different technical experts for more information or check out our robotic automation line card.
Popular Automation Wire & Cable Products:
- Terminated Connectors
- Custom Harness
- Cable Management (Heat Shrink, Sleeving)
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