The automotive manufacturers have improved their automotive process, and the collaborative robots, also known as cobots, seem to have a hand in it.
Using robots in the automotive industry isn’t a new thing – it has been there for more than 50 years. Robots were used in the assembly line for the different manufacturing processes, and today, they are being used in more processes.
Compared to human workers, robots are more flexible, accurate, efficient, and dependable in production lines. Robot technology has played a massive part in ensuring the automotive industry is booming in the automated supply chains globally and continues to make them the most significant robot users.
Critical robot applications in the assembly line
A light industrial robotic arm is able to do more precise work because it can see what it is doing. The wrist carries the laser, plus a camera allays to give the machine instant feedback. Robot vision allows cobots to perform correct offsetting during installation. It is more accurate to install windshields, fencers, and door panels with robotic vision than regular robot arms.
Light robotic arms use in automotive manufacturing plants help assemble smaller parts like pumps and motors at higher speeds. Robot arms can also perform other tasks like wheel mounting, screw driving, and windshield installation.
Part Transfer and Machine Tending
It can be dangerous for human workers to load and unload CNC machines, transfer metal stamps, and pouring molten metal into the foundry. However, for large collaborative robots, this type of work is perfect. Smaller manufacturing operations also use smaller cobots for loading/unloading tasks and machine tending.
Spot & arc welding
The automotive industry prefers using collaborative industrial robots for spot welding on heavy body panels. The cobots have long arms as well as higher payload abilities to handle the task. They also use smaller cobots to wield light parts like brackets and mounts.
MIG (Metal inert gas) and TIG (Tungsten inert gas) are robotic welders that can strategically position the torch in the same orientation every cycle. The repeatable arc and speed gap continue to preserve high welding standards.
Cobots and other large industrial robots work together on massive assembly lines. Robotic welders and handlers need to keep collaborating to ensure the assembly line moves. Robot handlers place the panels at the right location for the welding robot to perform the programmed welds.
Robots follow a complex path every cycle without failing or making a mistake. This makes them perfect for trimming and cutting jobs. The automotive industry uses light robots because they are better suited for this work, thanks to their force-sensing technology.
Painting, Coating, and Sealing
Automotive painting jobs are not easy, and they can be toxic. With labor shortages, automotive manufacturing plants are finding it hard to find professional painters.
Since the job requires consistency for every coat of paint, robotic arms quickly fill the void. With a programmed path, the robots will consistently cover large areas and limit waste. They can also easily spray sealants, adhesives, and primers.
Once a collaborative robot learns a worker’s habits, it is programmed to recognize the same person and effectively initialize the required task. These robots have been designed to reduce the risks of injuries and accidents in industries.
Cobots are equipped with sensors for smooth designs, force limitations, avoid collisions, passive compliance, and overcurrent protection, making them deliver a better painting and coating job.
With collaborative robots being assistants to automotive factory workers, the automation and productivity go up. Cobots have made automotive manufacturing cost-effective and more efficient. Programming and deploying robots to work is more accessible today than it was decades ago.
However, collaborative robots still need human assistance for quality control and the final touches. Their reliability, productivity, and security rely on proper programming, which human workers do. With this kind of collaboration, automation becomes faster.