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Cobot Industries - Automotive

Robots having been helping the automotive industry to speed up and upgrade their processes for decades. Since the 1960’s, robots have revolutionised the operations of automotive manufacturers all around the globe. The use of cobots within the automotive industry can add real value to many stages of production through reducing production time, whilst providing improved accuracy and efficiency. The latest cobots are providing a new level of flexibility for the sector, as they can be re-deployed into multiple applications across an assembly line, without any major disruption to production layout.


In this blog post, we are going to offer a small insight into how robots, particularly cobots, contribute to the automotive industry.


Applications


  • Welding

Cobots are able to perform a multitude of different tasks because of the huge range of end effectors available. You can read more about end effectors in End Effectors: Different types and Functions. An excellent tool for automating welding processes in automotive production, robots can both perform the actual welding as well as the handling of relevant parts. Robot welding is a staple application of automotive robotics due to its ability to increase throughput, accuracy, and repeatability, whilst also increasing safety and efficiency.



  • Assembly

Problematic, arduous and repetitive tasks in an assembly line can be automated easily with cobots. With the ability to reposition their tools more quickly and accurately than human workers, the use of cobots in assembly tasks can increase both production and quality. Collaborative robots can aid in a huge variety of assembly tasks, ranging from the alignment of components to screw and nut driving. Their flexibility, precision and repeatability makes these robots a perfect match for increasing production speed and quality within assembly tasks, while reducing risk of injury to human workers.


  • Material handling

External risk factors such as sharp edges or trip hazards can present a multitude of issues when it comes to handling parts within an automotive manufacturing facility. Not only can workers develop repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) from lifting substantial weight or lifting at tricky angles, but there is often a handful of external risk factors in the working environment, including molten metal, sharp edges or trip hazards. Cobots can remove the need for humans to be present in dangerous environments – they can be exposed to these hazards with comparatively little risk to the machinery itself. This both speeds up the handling process, as well as decreasing accidents and injuries.


The utilisation of robotics is well-established in the manufacturing sector but is now starting to revolutionise internal logistics operations, and nowhere more so than in the warehouse itself for a faster, safer and more productive output.



  • Finishing tasks – painting, polishing, vision, quality control

Varieties of robotic painting solutions being used in the automotive manufacturing industry today are highly accurate with the ability to produce a consistent coating to exact requirements, internally and externally. Furthermore, a number of different companies produce end effectors used specifically for polishing. Various other companies produce effective and user-friendly software to enhance finishing tasks, for example, the Robotiq finishing copilot – this intuitive programming interface guides users through the steps to set up an efficient finishing application.


Robotic vision is also highly valued in the automotive industry as it allows for the fitting together of individual car parts with exact precision. As well as fitting parts together, robotic vision is also a key tool for quality control as it can identify finished products which do not meet certain standards or a specification for review, such as colour analysis, blob detection, pattern recognition, edge detection, and much more.



Key benefits of cobots in automotive manufacturing


  • Safety

  • Flexibility

  • Repeatability

  • Increased throughput


In an industry that is ever-changing and evolving, it is clear that robotics, and specifically cobots, have earned their place on the factory floor.