Industrial advancements have a direct influence on a country’s economic prosperity. In view of that, several initiatives are being taken worldwide to essentially transform the existing manufacturing models. Innovation 3.0, Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition are some of the modern terminologies used to define the new age industrial revolution.
A notion of smart manufacturing is what these terminologies assert on and there is a good reason behind it. The constant evolution of mankind is translating into the creation of new requisites that can only be fulfilled by further innovation and development of smarter technologies. For instance, Rockwell Automation a leading manufacturer of industrial equipment offer a smart manufacturing infrastructure based on Internet of Things (IoT) system. The infrastructure brings production facilities one step closer to functioning independently without much human intervention. Such cutting-edge smart manufacturing models come with greater connectivity and production intelligence. Smart manufacturing brings a host of new opportunities for manufacturers to enhance their operations and help tackle challenges such as shortage of skilled labour.
To upscale productions manufacturers are rapidly embedding machine intelligence, enabling them to assess equipment condition and increase productivity. Moreover, features such as the remote-access capabilities have become quite imperative to modern industrial operations. Meanwhile, it appears that the technology in industrial automation is set to reach new heights over the next couple of years, with Internet of Things (IoT) taking the centre stage. Manufacturers are able to extend connectivity and information sharing beyond production units with the help of IoT applications. In addition, contemporary cloud technologies are allowing businesses to make operational structures more flexible and efficient.
Cloud integration and IoT are the geneses of the contemporary manufacturing models, but their impact is certainly being maximised by advanced production line robotics. Cobot or collaborative robotic technology is one such revelation, which allows machines to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. Cobot is a fascinating prospect for the industrial sector and quite distinguished as compared to conventional robotics. It requires minimum manual guidance and is capable of handling operations autonomously. Collaborative robots have successfully penetrated markets across the globe. This particular robotic technology is on its way to change the face of manufacturing and productivity. Able to collaborate with humans without the need for safety gears, cobots essentially create an array of new applications for robotics. While most advanced robotic technologies need upgraded types of machinery, cobots are quite compatible with conventional production environments.
In 2015, the Japan-based ‘FANUC Corporation’ launched its first cobot – the ‘FANUC CR-35iA’ with a payload of 35kg. The product received an overwhelming response from the market. Since then, the company has produced various other cobot models including the famous CR-7/L long arm version, CR-7iA and the FANUC CR-4iA. The machines are capable of performing different roles from autonomous robots to industrial robots.
Emerging countries such as China, Brazil and India are following the footprints of mature economies and rapidly adopting such efficient technologies. Over the recent past, China has emerged as one of the largest manufacturing hubs of the world, which is characterising its robust consumption of industrial automation technology. The country aims to robotise its entire manufacturing sector to gain a competitive edge in the international market. Efficient production technologies can put manufacturers in a better position to counter economic dire. Subsequently, industrial automation ensures quality and quantity, which is quite important for the production of high-value goods such as cars and consumer electronics.