The unique challenges encountered by manufacturers over the last year and a half continue to motivate them toward production excellence. From the importance of supply chain resilience to the value of remote monitoring, and more, many lessons came to light. Add in evolving customer expectations and constant technological advances, and there is a lot of knowledge to process and potentially embrace for future improvements.
Paramount Manufacturing Concerns
High-Mix, Low Volume Production
As consumer requirements evolve, manufacturers are realizing the value of being able to create high-quality parts via high-mix, low-volume production runs. To acquire greater operational flexibility, perform quicker product changeovers, improve order fulfillment times and more, versatile robots are being implemented to tackle stringent demands.
In recent months the fragility of the supply chain has become more apparent. With that in mind, a large concern for many manufacturers continues to be finding skilled labor to perform routine tasks and operate current equipment on the production floor. To alleviate this pressure and to keep competitive, company leaders are choosing to install robust yet easy-to-use robots. Handling tasks such as machine tending, pick and place, palletizing and depalletizing are ideal for robots, facilitating efficient and reliable throughput.
With the global pandemic, renewed focus is being given to employee safety. Not to be underestimated, the human workforce is a valuable component to keeping the supply chain fluid. Finding ways to keep production steady, while keeping workers socially distanced and healthy, remains a key priority. To address this need, collaborative robots that are designed to work safely with, or in close proximity to humans are being used in various ways on the production floor. From supplemental manual welding to being mounted on highly flexible autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for on-demand material transport, and more, highly capable and re-deployable collaborative robots are making it easier for manufacturers to accommodate high-mix, low-volume runs in a safe manner.
Keeping in line with supply chain management and worker safety, the concepts of remote monitoring and device management are permeating the industrial landscape. At the onset of the pandemic – when nearly everyone seemed to be working from home – manufacturers with user-friendly device management platforms conveniently monitored equipment performance from a distance in safe locations.
Proven edge server solutions, such as Yaskawa Cockpit™, use a leading OPC-UA interface to enable an integrated, intelligent and innovative approach to data analytics. This approach helps decision makers view current and historical production volumes, as well as operational status of any connected device (including robots), in real time to make informed decisions about maintaining equipment performance. Regardless of location (on-site or remote) decision makers with this ability can efficiently execute operational goals for greater supply chain resilience.
Solid Robotic Solutions at SOUTHTEC 2021
Join our experts at SOUTHTEC® to learn more about how you can leverage the latest robotic technologies for future productivity gains. At the show, the Yaskawa Motoman booth (#619) will highlight the positive impact that robotic automation can have on your operations, especially for machine tending and other handling tasks. This is especially true for space-optimizing collaborative robots like the ones that will be featured in the booth. Stop by to see the versatile HC20XP collaborative robot – the industry’s first IP67-rated, 20-kg payload capacity cobot that enables palletizing of full 80-inch pallets without an elevator or lift mechanism. Plus, be sure to experience easy robot programming with the flexible HC10 collaborative robot at our hands-on demonstration.
Sarah Mellish is a Marketing Content Specialist