As the UK automotive manufacturing industry gets back on its feet, many carmakers will be looking at innovative ways to safeguard their futures.
Robotics has long been used in the automotive industry, but technological developments are thrusting the industry forward in new and exciting ways.
What robots are currently used in automotive manufacturing?
Robotics has long been used in automotive manufacturing and is commonplace in every plant. Below are some of the most common robots used in the industry:
Collaborative Robots (CoBots)
Designed to operative safely alongside their human counterparts, CoBots use sensors and react to human contact should someone get too close to their operations. They do not need to be constantly monitored either, freeing up resources for elsewhere. With the ability to automate difficult tasks, CoBots allow production to become more versatile and efficient.
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)
AGVs are used to haul heavy objects and material around large manufacturing sites. Using pre-programmed software, these forklift sized vehicles do not require a driver and use 3D map technology to navigate their way around industrial buildings.
Taking much of the safety risk away, welding robots have been used traditionally for spot or arc welding. Newer, smarter six-axis robots can also perform a range of welding techniques, with minimal human supervision from welding specialists.
Robotic arms are used to provide a consistent coating of paint, resulting in a high-end finish every time. These robotic arms not only provide accurate paint coverage, but production is much faster than a human, no matter how skilled.
Using 2d and 3d perception, robots with “vision” abilities can process visual data to support their human handlers with difficult tasks. They are often used for installing tricky car parts like windshields and bumpers because of their high level of accuracy.
What robots will be used in automotive manufacturing in the future?
As technology evolves, so robotic use will inevitably evolve within automotive manufacturing too. Here are some of the predictions about robotics to be used in the future:
Over the next few years, it is certain that robotics will be used in working toward creating automated, or self-driving, vehicles. Using 3D mapping and road traffic data will be essential in creating safe self-driving cars for consumer use.
3D Printing of Parts
3D printing is already being used to create automotive parts. But as this becomes a more sustainable process and focusses on recycling and using sustainable materials, 3d printing will become commonplace within the automotive manufacturing industry.
As automotive manufacturers seek to innovate their products, their production lines will have to be innovated too. AGVs will undoubtedly develop in the coming years to meet the needs of electric and self-driving car manufacture.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems will become the norm in automotive manufacturing over the next decade. Machine learning is set to improve every area of the production line and manufacturing operations overall.
Driver experience is also set to become more personalised, with AI algorithms adjusting the driver experience to tailor to each individual, customising areas such as the seat, mirrors, pedals and so on.