What’s Next for Robotic Vision Systems in the Automotive Industry?
In an industry that’s constantly changing, one can’t help but wonder: What’s next?
Industrial robots were first used in the automotive industry in the 1960s to perform spot welding. Now, they’re used to perform a myriad of tasks, from assembly to inspections to part selection, among other key applications.
As technology advances, though, it’s only a matter of time before the automotive industry experiences another revolution—one where robotic vision systems play an even larger role.
Historically, robots in automotive manufacturing plants have been bolted to the floor or securely placed on a track, allowing a reach limited to only the length of the robot’s arm.
While vision-guided robotic systems have helped improve processes at these plants, they’ve posed challenges in their limitations, causing the industry to seek out more flexible solutions. To advance flexibility, a variety of industries—including military and aerospace—have begun to place their robotic vision systems on automated guided vehicles (AGVs), allowing for a broader range of mobility.
AGVs not only improve mobility, but also help with avoiding downtime. For example, having plant personnel walk from one station to another to troubleshoot issues can be easily eradicated with the use of a robotic vision system on an AGV, which can travel to the station on its own and resolve the issue with a push of a button.
Though the automotive industry has been slow to adopt AGV technology, it will soon play an important role in staying ahead of the competition.
In the past, a vision-guided robotic system’s only goal was to guide a robot to perform a task, which meant that it wasn’t collecting any data. Now, as more technology is integrated across automotive manufacturing plants, it becomes critical to integrate a software program that can collect data and consolidate it in one location.
For example, Recognition Robotics’ new product dashboard, an application housed within its Product Administration Suite, allows users to monitor and view the data associated with all of their systems in one application. Recognition Robotics systems can also be updated off-site through the software suite, so users don’t have to walk to their respective stations to implement changes.
It’s now more important than ever to monitor data, which can offer a significant competitive advantage. Employing a connective environment allows plant personnel to quickly identify errors and make system adjustments as needed, vastly improving efficiency and reducing downtime.
The Factory of the Future
Though technology will undoubtedly play a critical role in the factory of the future, redesigned automotive manufacturing plants will require far more than just the adoption of new technology.
Currently, vision-guided robotic systems are added to manufacturing processes that have already been put in place. This means the systems may only be impacting a small part of an automotive plant, which could span millions of square feet.
As technology continues to evolve, we’ll likely see automotive manufacturers building vision-guided robotic systems into the front end of their process designs. This will both simplify manufacturing processes and eliminate the need for the costly machinery that previously helped perform these repetitive tasks.
While the factory of the future is yet to come, it will undoubtedly change how assembly lines are laid out from start to finish, transforming the landscape of how automotive manufacturing plants are designed today.
Join the Tech Revolution
Have questions about integrating the first vision-guided robotics system into your automotive plant? Contact us so we can guide you through the step-by-step process.
For more information, fill out the form below or call us to request a demo, have your questions answered, or speak to a representative.