Saturday, September 18, 2021
BusinessRobots in automotive manufacturing: Top 7 applications

Robots in automotive manufacturing: Top 7 applications

With the advancement in technology ever since the first car came into existence, things have changed drastically. Not just for the driver but also for manufacturers. The way we have learned to automate our tasks is remarkable.

We created machines that helped us create more machines. That is essentially what car manufacturing is these days. We don’t need huge human labor to achieve our task, we could just use robots. Robots have been used for automotive manufacturing for over 50 years now. They have lots of advantages.

These robots give the manufacturer a big competitive advantage over their competitors. You cannot expect an automaker to pump millions of vehicles per year by creating all of them by hand.

OEMs, Tier 1, 2, and 3 through to the supply chain, everybody can use robots to make their works easier and smoother.

These robots restrain the workers from getting dirty or into dangerous situations. That isn’t to say that there aren’t handmade cars. Supercars are handmade.

The Audi R8 for sale you are looking at (main pic) is handmade. Bentleys, Roll-Royce, Mercedes-Maybach are all super luxurious and handmade cars. But most regular vehicles are automated with robots.

Quality gains

When robots are used in the factory, there are a significant number of advantages. Robots do not cause any errors. They can repeat the same pattern over and over again. Everything is cut and welded in the same manner.

So, there will be no unusual variability among the products. The robots never get tired or distracted, so they do not have to take any breaks. They also don’t drop parts or cause accidental damage.

Robots perform tasks efficiently without wasting any time. They can also detect minute differences in the parts, if any, and take the necessary action. With more and more robots being used, parts are also readily available if something breaks down in the car later after purchase. It’s also easier to fix.

Constant manufacturing capacity

The constant manufacturing cycle of the robots makes it very easy to keep up with the production demand. Without humans, there is no fatigue or no way to get tired. Robots can keep working endlessly, throughout the day to keep the cycle going.

Thus, production rates are kept consistent each day. This is what allows manufacturers to keep up with growing demands each day. Robots speed up the production rate by a big amount.

Flexibility for the job

When robots are done working on a specific task, they can be reassigned to do something else. Robots never go obsolete. If a robot is not fit for a particular job, then it can be redeployed somewhere else to perform some other tasks. Workers need to learn and adapt and it takes time, but with robots, that is simply not the case.

Worker protection

Working in a factory comes with its own set of risks. We know that there could be a lot of hazards while working in the factory. With the help of robots, workers do not have to engage themselves in such dangerous tasks and they can protect themselves.

The robots can take over dangerous tasks, such as molding molten liquid to create metal.

VW Automotive plant Zwickau
VW Automotive plant Zwickau

They could also take over tasks such as heavy-lifting and moving stuff around. Also, robots can perform specific tasks that would otherwise be harmful to humans, in the long run; such as exposure to fumes. Apart from this, they could also prevent workers from getting dirty and into undesirable situations.

Top 7 applications of robots in car manufacturing

1. Robotic vision

Some robots are fitted with “eyes” that grant it vision to precisely figure out the minute differences in the smallest of parts. This allows them to diagnose a part before it goes into place. It also allows the robot to see what it’s doing and fit parts perfectly in line with each other.

2. Welding

One of the biggest applications of robots is welding. As the name suggests, these robots weld the body parts of the cars on the spot. The smaller robots can weld mounts and brackets, while the larger robots can do spot welding on the body parts.

Robotic tungsten inert gas (TIG) and metal inert gas (MIG) are used. Robots can also work together for working on bigger items.

3. Assembly

Getting things in order and in line to put them inside the car is also equally important. This is usually done by small robots, who can collect smaller items and assemble them in line. They can also fit wheel mountings and install the windshield. These small robotic arms excel in the quick assembly of items.

4. Painting

Another big application of robots is painting. It not only prevents the workers from getting dirty and being exposed to the fumes, but it also saves a ton of time. Specific robots are used that can take care of the painting. Other than that, they can also seal and coat efficiently, without waste. They can also be used for spraying adhesives and sealants.

5. Part transfer

Another application of robots is the job of transferring different parts, including large metallic parts, which would be difficult for humans to carry. Also, while pouring molten metal in a foundry, it could be very dangerous for humans. Also, for loading and unloading other machines, robots are needed. They do all the heavy lifting.

6. Removal of materials

Apart from adding materials, there can also be a certain need where materials would need to be removed from certain parts during the manufacturing process.

So, removal of materials is also performed by these robots. Apart from these, cutting and fitting items, wherever required, could also be easily achievable by humans. Other than that, it could also prove to be dangerous for humans. Light and smaller robots could be perfect for cutting and trimming metallic parts.

7. Internal logistics

A factory is huge. It has large areas where different work is done. One such area is the warehouse, or the storehouse, where all the raw materials and items are stored. Getting these materials from the warehouse to the actual working ground can also be performed by robots.

Human beings could use forklifts to carry heavy items around. Or, autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can also be used to transfer parts around. These robots are autonomous and perform the task themselves.

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Robotics and Automation News covers the robotics and automation industries around the world. We mainly concentrate on robotic and automation technologies in industrial sectors such as logistics and manufacturing. Although we do cover software automation, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and so on, we tend to publish more stories about hardware, or “machines that move” – such as industrial robotic arms, autonomous mobile robots, automated guided vehicles, and driverless road vehicles.