Robotic Manufacturing For Automobiles
Car manufacturing robots give automotive companies a competitive advantage. They improve quality and reduce warranty costs; increase capacity and relieve bottlenecks; and protect workers from dirty, difficult and dangerous jobs. Car assembly plants use robots exclusively for spot welding and painting, but there are many other opportunities to use robots throughout the supply chain. OEMs, Tier 1s and other part producers all stand to gain from using robotics in automotive manufacturing.
Manufacturers turn to robots for many reasons. In the automotive industry, three of the biggest drivers are quality, capacity and safety.
Automotive Manufacturing Quality Gains
Car manufacturing robots reduce part-to-part variability. Highly repeatable, they never tire or get distracted, so every cycle is performed the same way. Neither do they drop parts or handle them in a way that causes damage. That reduces waste previously caused by human error, and it also means less variability in car assembly. Equipped with vision systems, automotive robots can even detect variation in incoming materials and adapt their programmed paths to suit. This, in turn, translates to higher customer satisfaction, fewer mistakes and lower warranty costs.
Addressing Manufacturing Capacity
Automotive supply chains run lean with minimal inventory to buffer against production delays. Automotive part manufacturers strive for consistent times, and consistent process control in every step of the production line. Even the smallest problem can stop an assembly line. Robots don't suffer end-of-shift fatigue, so cycle times are constant all day, every day, and peak production rates are consistent. What’s more, running robots through breaks and shift changeovers yields additional output from production lines when compared to manually attended lines.
Many jobs in automotive manufacturing are hazardous. Sometimes, the dangers are obvious, as when pouring molten metal in a foundry. Other times, they're more insidious, like the musculoskeletal disorders resulting from lifting, twisting and repetitive motions. Robots can prevent these risks to humans. In car assembly, robots keep workers from exposure to fumes from welding and painting, as well as weld flash and the noise of stamping presses. Automotive robotics cut accidents and injury claims by removing workers from these dirty and dangerous tasks by removing them from these environments.