Is the auto industry being taken over by robotic innovation? That’s a question that involves a little bit of history. The concept of automation in the auto industry likely began in 1913 when the Ford Motor Company opened its first assembly line, drastically cutting down the time and cost of manufacturing vehicles. Prior to this, each car was built by workers in factories, taking an average of 12 hours to complete one vehicle.
Automating this process cut production time down to 1.5 hours, increasing profit margins and allowing Ford to pass that profit onto its employees and affordability to consumers. Fast forward more than 100 years, robotic innovation has grown and adapted on a global scale to meet consumer demands.
Robotic Automation Vs. Human Judgement
There has been a lot of talk in recent years about robotic automation pushing human workers out of the workforce. However, innovations have allowed robots to replace monotonous tasks and dirty or dangerous jobs. It has also given humans the opportunity to re-skill, learn new trades or develop the knowledge of how to maintain these machines. This results in higher-skilled workers that benefit from higher wages.
One key element that can’t be overlooked in the auto industry is human interaction during the production process. Human dexterity and judgment are integral in spotting errors, inspecting work, and manually completing those tasks that robots are unable to perform.
What are the Benefits of Robotic Innovation?
There’s no argument that robots have improved production and assembly processes. From 2005 – 2014 alone, the number of manufacturing robots sold jumped by 48 percent. On a global scale, the market for robotics is expected to reach $41 billion by 2020.
Within the auto industry, the key benefits of robotic automation include:
- Increased Quality
Robots that never tire reduce the percentage of waste in auto factories previously caused by human errors such as dropping parts or defects in performance. Robots that are equipped with vision technology can even detect material variations on the warehouse floor and adapt their path accordingly. Robots ensure each task is performed the same way and with precision each time, thus reducing mistakes and increasing customer satisfaction.
- Worker Protection
The implementation of robots in the auto industry has drastically reduced the incidence of workplace accidents. Hazardous jobs such as welding, handling liquid metal or exposure to dangerous fumes can all be handed to a robot without putting humans in danger. Further, repetitive physical tasks such as lifting and twisting, which can cause long-term injuries to humans, are prevented by using robotic automation.
- Supply Chain Demands
Peak production performance is essential in an automotive supply chain. However, even a small problem can halt an assembly line and produce production delays. Robotic workers solve this problem by consistently performing their tasks without the need for breaks, shift-changeovers or burnout.
What’s Next in Auto Manufacturing?
As the auto industry moves toward greener energy and electric technology, robotic automation will play a critical role in propelling this change forward. Although standard combustion-engine car production isn’t obsolete, manufacturing plants are beginning to update their assembly lines to satisfy customer demands.
During this transition period, robot workers can continue to perform their usual tasks while adapting to updated technology as needed and training to meet higher demands and production schedules. While working alongside humans, robots are able to eliminate downtime, increase production speed and drastically reduce production costs – something that will allow new technology to become affordable in the consumer market sooner.
Innovative Automation Manufacturing
Innovative Automation has over 25 years of experience in automotive, automated assembly systems, and test systems. In the automotive industry, we provide manufacturers with the tools they need for robotic automation in a variety of applications including:
- Automotive lighting
- Automotive interiors
- Automotive exteriors
- Automotive powertrain
- Automotive electronics
- Automotive seating
We are a leading provider of automation for global manufacturers. Contact us today to learn more about how automation can improve your business’ efficiency, reduce costs, and eliminate downtime.