The automotive industry is one of the most intense, complex, and busiest sectors. It is also one of the oldest industries to adopt the use of the robot for most of its applications and processes in its assembly lines. Today, unlike in the past, where industrial robots focused mainly on assembly lines, the automotive industry uses robots for many other applications and processes.
Besides the large industrial robots, the car manufacturing industry deploys smaller robots, especially collaborative arms with more flexibility, precision, consistency, efficiency, and accuracy. The industry remains the largest automated sector, which is understandable because making vehicles requires putting together thousands of parts and wires.
Key Robot Applications in the Car Manufacturing Industry
Today’s car manufacturing industry incorporates the use of collaborative robots specifically designed to work with other small or large robots on the numerous assembly lines of the sector. The robots collaborate on different processes and applications for faster and more quality work. The key robot applications in the industry are:
1. Part Transfer and Machine Tending
Some of the applications in machine tending and part transfer are highly dangerous for the human workforce. The dangerous tasks include transferring metal stamps, loading and unloading CNC machines, and molten metal pouring in a foundry. Even though large industrial robots did all the work in the past, smaller robots can today perform the same processes with the same ease and speed, especially in smaller operations.
2. Robotic Vision
The car manufacturing industry uses robotic arms that can “see” everything they do. The eyes are cameras and lenses that provide instant feedback on the progress of each task. With these robotic vision additions, the robots perform with accuracy and precision when installing parts because they know where each piece goes. Some of the installations that use the robotic vision include fenders, windshields, and door panels.
3. Assembling of Small Parts
The assembly of parts is one of the areas that use robotics more than any other applications. The industry uses light and small robotic arms to assemble small car parts such as pumps and motors with speed, efficiency, and accuracy. Other smaller assembly tasks include wheel mounting, installing windshields, and screw driving.
4. Coating, Sealing, and Painting
Painting, sealing, and coating are some of the most intense applications in the manufacturing process. They also require professionalism and skill. With continued labor shortages, finishing the tasks can be challenging for the industry. However, robotic arms fill in the void created by the absence or lack of a human workforce to do the work.
The robots are consistent as they follow a program, and cover larger areas with limited waste, much better than humans can. Moreover, when spraying primers, adhesives, and sealants, humans cannot beat the robotic arms.
5. Spot and Arc Welding
Spot and arc welding are tasks suitable for larger industrial robots with longer arms than small collaborative robots. The smaller robots take over welding lighter parts such as the brackets and mounts. However, collaborative robots can work together with the larger robots to handle heavy spot and welding tasks for faster and more efficient and high-standard processes.
The use of robots for internal logistics is another popular application in the car manufacturing industry. The sector uses autonomous mobile robots alongside other automated machines to move parts and raw materials from the storage to the manufacturing floor. They also help to replace any other manual processes of transferring materials from one station to the next.
7. Materials Removal
Robots are also the perfect tools in the car manufacturing industry for trimming and cutting applications. They have force-sensing technology and are capable of complex paths continuously without any fail. Some of the tasks include cutting fabric, polishing molds, and trimming flash off the plastic moldings.
The car manufacturing industry is without a doubt one of the busiest sectors in the world. It involves assembling thousands of parts and wires, some of which are very intricate. Doing all the work manually is almost impossible, which is why the industry tops the list of dependency on the use of robots,