Robotic Application in Industries

There are various new fields of applications in which robot technology is not widespread today due to its lack of flexibility and high costs involved when dealing with varying lot sizes and variable product geometries. New robotic applications will soon emerge from new industries and from SMEs, which cannot use today’s inflexible robot technology or which still require a lot of manual operations under strenuous, unhealthy and hazardous conditions. Relieving people from bad working conditions (e.g., operation of hazardous machines, handling poisonous or heavy material, working in dangerous or unpleasant environments) leads to many new opportunities for applying robotics technology. Bad working conditions examples can be found in foundries or the metal working industry.

Besides the need of handling objects at very high temperatures, work under unhealthy conditions takes place in manual fettling operations, which contribute to about 40% of the total production cost in a foundry. Manual fettling that’s mean strong vibrations, heavy lifts, metal dust and high noise levels, resulting in annual hospitalization costs of more than €150m in Europe. Bad working conditions can also be found in slaughterhouses, fisheries and cold stores where beside low temperatures also the handling of sharp tools makes the work unhealthy and hazardous
Assembly and disassembly (vehicles, airplanes, refrigerators, washing machines, consumer goods). In some cases fully automatic task operation by robots is impossible. Cooperative robots should support the worker in terms of force parallelization, augmentation, or sharing of tasks.
Aerospace industry presently uses customized NC machines for drilling, machining, assembly, quality testing operations on structural parts. In assembly and quality testing, the automation level is still low due to the variability of configurations and insufficient precision of available robots. Identified requirements for future robots call for higher accuracy, adaptivity towards workpiece tolerances, flexibility to cover different product ranges, and safe cooperation with operators.
SME manufacturing: Fettling, cutting, deflashing, deburring, drilling, milling, grinding and polishing of products made of metal, glass, ceramics, plastics, rubber and wood.
Food and consumer good industries: Processing, filling, assembly, handling and packaging of food and consumer goods
Construction: Drilling, Cutting, grinding and welding of large beams and other construction elements for buildings, bridges, ships, trains, power stations, wind mills etc.

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