Robotics

Industrial and collaborative robots’ use in electronic manufacturing

As robotics have become more advanced, electronic manufacturers are realizing their potential and are using them for delicate applications.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) April 30, 2019
Image courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media

In the production of electronic products, both industrial robots and collaborative robots are now finding their place. Historically, the tight tolerances and delicate nature of electronics made robotic automation difficult, but recent advances in robotic technology are enabling electronics manufacturers to realize the advantages of process automation.

The electronics industry is realizing the potential productivity gains of using robots and are adopting them.

The electronics industry is becoming one of the largest segments of the robotics industry in the world. According to the most recent RIA statistics on global robot shipments, the number of robots shipped in the electronics industry grew 22% in 2018 over 2017. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) 2018 World Robotics 2018 Report, the electronics industry now nearly holds as much total market share of industrial robots as the automotive industry, with the 32% and 33% of total supply, respectively.

For decades, demand from the automotive industry has been the primary growth driver of robot shipments around the world. Now, the electronics industry is growing quickly and may even unseat the automotive industry as the largest user of robotic technology in the coming years.

Robotic technology, both industrial robots and collaborative robots, offer many benefits in production for electronics manufacturers and are now being leveraged in several ways.

Robots’ role in the electronics industry

As robots have become advanced enough to handle small, delicate parts with precision, their main appeal has been their ability to dramatically increase throughput to keep unit costs low. Robots move quickly with extremely high levels of uptime and minimal waste, meaning they produce more products over longer periods of time with less defects with quick return on investment (ROI). It’s understandable, then, why the electronics industry is adopting robots at a rapid pace.

Robots are used in many ways in the electronics industry. Some of the most common applications include:

  • Assembly
  • Inspection and testing
  • Packing
  • Dispensing
  • Stamping
  • Etching
  • Pressing
  • Material handling

In today’s electronics manufacturing environment, robots can be used at practically any stage of production.

As robots have become more advanced, they’ve proven their ROI and productivity potential to manufacturers in the electronics industry. Rapid adoption has followed as manufacturers compete to be more productive and undercut the prices of their competitors. Robotic technology will continue to pervade electronics manufacturing in the foreseeable future, creating higher levels of automation in production and skyrocketing demand for industrial and collaborative robots.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online BlogRobotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, cvavra@cfemedia.com.


Robotic Industries Association (RIA)