Moving forward, the same rules apply. The robot industry will grow only insofar as it can further ease labor and allow personnel to apply their higher-level skills elsewhere in the production value chain. The challenge however, is that the tasks that traditional robots can be applied to are already saturated. For robots to help further, they must evolve further.
Our focus at Yaskawa is to make robots smarter and more skillful. The growth in vision-guided robotics is evidence that if you make the robot more perceptive, there will be more applications. This is the reason we have partnered with several leading vision companies – because vision technology is evolving rapidly and this allows us to leverage the best technology. As an example, it is likely that conveyor tracking will be replaced by direct vision guidance within five years. The robot will no longer be calculating the position of a part based on a trigger and a previous image. Instead, the robot will perform visual servoing, meaning it will simply see the next part and pick it on the fly.
Next time, we will discuss mobile robots and grasping technology.
By Erik Nieves, Technology Director