Robots have evolved, creating an era where machines are used on the factory floors, in manufacturing warehouses and in logistics.
The robotics industry is booming with global research predicting that the industrial robotics industry is set to surpass $80 billion by 2024.
But does this mean the world is ready to replace man with machine? A daunting concept for some, for others an opportunity to underpin the capabilities of collaborating on a whole new level.
The revolution of cobots have changed the working environment we know today. Developed in China and Japan, they’ve been carefully designed with the intent to work alongside employers in a shared workspace.
During a study, MIT researchers found that a collaborative, robot to human workforce was more efficient than singular machine, or singular human workforces. They also found that when humans worked alongside robots, unproductivity reduced by 85 percent.
You may think that working alongside a robot could be dangerous, but developments have allowed for safety priorities.
For example, if a human arm was to get in the way of the cobot’s programmed path, it would stop its movement, with the aim to prevent.
Some of the cobot’s responsibilities could include heavy lifting, tightening bots or connecting electronics.
However, with this new revolutionary technology, many factory floor workers have found themselves unemployed and replaced by a worker who doesn’t need a coffee break.
In six years, the Wall Street Journal reported that the sales in industrial robots have risen by 140 percent worldwide. And, paving the way, China’s demand for robots grew by 20 percent in 2017 alone.
Industrial size robots have the capabilities to weld car parts together and even the ability to perform more delicate tasks such as handling food produce.
One of the industries most innovative breakthroughs is the process in which machines can learn behaviours.
Machine Learning is a development in the artificial intelligence where robots, cobots and computers use data to overcome challenges, without being specifically programmed to do so. This could be useful in the packaging, logistics or manufacturing industries.
For example, if an object was to accidentally fall out of line on a production belt, a machine could have the capabilities to notice it’s missing. It would alter its automatic behaviour to find and pick up the product, saving on waste.
Even out of the office, robots are now being used in our restaurants and drones in deliveries. The international Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has taken the service robot to a whole new level in their signature Bionic Bar, where a robot arm mixes cocktails.
With the continuous development of robots across most fields, other companies have developed in other ways to provide a service that maintains their relevance.
One of which is Airblast Eurospray who install their large scale blast rooms and spray booths for employees to complete surface preparation.
Speeding up production, while providing a safe work environment in the manufacturing industry without the use of robots, is just one way in which a human workforce can still be valuable.
This just goes to show how a development in one industry can impact another. With the overall growth in technology across the board, it’s an exciting industrial era to be a part of.
(Main picture shows a containerised blast room system.)