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Collaborative Robots Use in the Automotive Industry

Automotive sector continues to make huge steps in the adoption of industrial automation thus being a renownedrole model to other industries. In fact, robot use has been associated with the automotive industry since their inception into the market over 50 years ago. Back in 1962, the use of the first robot was in General Motors’ plant in New Jersey which became the very first major manufacturer to adopt robot use in its production. But as time went by, other industries have followed this example to automate their production processes.

Fast forward to today, and the sector continues to dominate robot usage globally by increasing their investments in the industrial robots. Changes that seem to be taking place in car markets is driving automotive manufacturers to improve their operational efficiency, increase productivity and be cost efficient.

How Cobot use has helped the Automotive Sector

The introduction of these new generation robots from Universal Robots known as the collaborative robots or cobots has enabled the industry achieve an increased production output. Collaborative robots are designed to work side by side with human workers.

These cobots are ushering in a new era by turning automobile factories into smart factories in which networked robots are in constant communication with each other. Integrated measuring systems and sensors in the robots enable them to monitor assembly operations. Cloud computing is applied in order to host the data in remote data centers and run software applications from centralized servers.

These smart collaborative robots are very easy to install, can well withstand high peak shift and seasonal requirements in the production lines  whenneeded

A Case Study of Automotive Industries Using Collaborative Robots

·         SHAD

SHAD is a Spain based company which makes accessories for motorcycles. Recently the company has been experiencing a rise in the demand for their products thus sparking the dire need for them to find a long lasting production solution that will enable them meet the demand.

The company chose UR5 since it perfectly meets their specifications that include; it can be easily moved around their production facility and it is easily reprogrammable.

The UR5 works well with SHAD’s employees in the same working space thus freeing them from the dull and repetitive tasks thus saving them precious production time.

·         Continental Automotive

Continental is a Spanish automotive manufacturer that has always focused on innovation. However they needed to improve their productivity since they operate within a highly competitive sector.

In 2016, they decided to invest in several UR10 cobots to automate their manufacturing tasks and the handling of PCB boards. This move has enabled them minimize the changeover times by 50%, from the previous 40 minutes when done manually to 20 minutes by the collaborative robots thereby reducing their operational costs.

The company has also managed to control the robots decision by having a central electronic and a robot controller point that enables them make changes to the system without the assistance of outside experts all thanks to the easy programming feature of the robots. Cobots use also means that their employees no longer conduct menial tasks and can concentrate on the important jobs which will increase the overall productivity of the company.

There are plenty of other applications in the company that require a repetitive but precise process. The collaborativerobots are ideal for conducting such tasks. They have alsoenabled Continental Automotive to achieve a reliable production consistency leading to its growth.  The company continues to maintain high quality standards with their major focus being the restoration of high cost parts to achieve better standard dimensions.

Final Remarks

The continuous innovations and improvements of industrial robotic technology enable manufacturers to utilize robots in order to achieve their objectives depending on the specific challenges they want to solve.

It is therefore important for companies to consider their long-term business and production goals they aspire to achieve when embarking on the automation process.


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