Tanya M. Anandan
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offers manufacturers greater productivity and better information insights through artificial intelligence (AI) as companies look toward the factory of the future.
Robot ecosystems are bringing plug-and-play ease to compatible hardware and software peripherals while adding greater value and functionality to robots.
Robots are going in new directions thanks to additive manufacturing (AM), which is letting them tackle complex geometries in cutting and collaborating with humans to improve efficiencies in composite layup.
The last year has been a trying one for many industries, but robotics manufacturers and distributors are using the current climate to develop new and innovative ways for robots to help in manufacturing.
Robotic refueling technology is maturing and expanding beyond the scope of the mining industry and could be used in many applications.
Robots are being used in oil and gas operations to dig underground, which is often undulating and challenging. Companies are finding innovative ways to overcome the problem.
Remotely-operated aerial robots can operate in dangerous conditions, which make them ideal for certain oil and gas operations.
Many of the world's oil and natural gas resource lie beneath the oceans. Autonomous robots can help explore and dig them out.
Focusing on COVID-19 risks in the workplace has shed new light on the benefits of automation and robots and their benefits on the plant floor and manifesting in multiple ways.
Technology advances ranging from better autonomous vehicles to smarter machines will help relieve the effects of an aging agricultural workforce and a shrinking supply of workers.
Robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) is an emerging trend in manufacturing as companies look to deal with rising automation and tighter global competition. RaaS allows companies to use robots for short-term needs without a long-term investment. One application reduced overall manufacturing costs by 30%.
Robots have the ability to go where we can’t and perform jobs we shouldn’t including applications such as chemical refining and hazardous material handling and subzero palletizing.
Researchers at several universities are working on technological developments that are blurring the line between human-robot interaction and what they can ethically do for people.
Human-robot collaboration (HRC) is becoming more common, but humans still need to be aware of their machine counterparts. Companies have developed techniques to make it easier for humans and robots to safely interact and improve plant floor productivity.
Researchers at multiple universities are developing and researching potential uses for robots in industries such as inspection, medical, and automotive.
Cover Story: Software suppliers are disproving preconceptions about robot offline programming (OLP) being too complicated or not cost-effective. Several companies have developed software programs designed to make robots smarter, faster, and more flexible in a variety of challenging applications.
For a robot to be safe, it must also be secure from cyberattacks in the age of Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Everyone in the information technology (IT) and operations technology (OT) departments are responsible for ensuring this happens.
Hardware and software advances such as improved sensors and the cloud have helped robot grippers enable safer, closer human-robot collaboration, ease of use, and flexibility for many different applications.
Mobile robots speed material flow to fulfillment workstations and between manufacturing processes and help consolidate storage space and future-proof operations. Robotic mobility leads to traceability and predictability on the road to Industrie 4.0 and is crucial to developing a supply chain that never stops.