Robotics and Industrial Businesses: Where They Make a Difference

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Robots have become synonymous with our current technological age as they make their way into manufacturing facilities, farms and nearly anywhere else imaginable. They offer relief to a workforce by handling repetitive or dangerous tasks so that humans can work on more critical roles. These robots are a very distant cousin from the robotic arms that were first deployed in the 1960’s and their ability to improve a manufacturing operation has taken impressive strides forward. Let’s take a look at some of the areas where advanced robotics are helping to improve businesses, the workforce and the technology that makes it all possible.

Manufacturing

At one time robots on the manufacturing shop floor operated behind steel cages, separated from the rest of the workforce to avoid injury. These behemoth machines were dangerous, extremely difficult to program and much less agile than the robots seen popping up on the factory floor today. New robotics technology has freed the robot from the cage and allows them to work side by side with people to make their lives easier and make the business run much smoother. Collaborative robots like Baxter, from Rethink Robotics, is a perfect example of a new breakthrough in robotics technology. But Baxter isn’t the only robot that is revolutionizing automation throughout industrial sectors. Industries such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure are beginning to make use of the latest robotics technology to improve their operations as well.

Agriculture

Agriculture is not usually an industry where robots are thought to be used, but a prototype robot is helping to tackle mundane tasks around the farm. Outfitted with sensors, cameras and a chemical sprayer, Northwest Nazarene University’s IdaBOT is taking farming to the next level. Able to seek out vines that need treatment, IdaBot sprays the proper nutrients or pesticides to help improve the farm. These tasks can take up time and having a robot run through the motions while humans take on more important tasks is invaluable. This is the same kind of concept that have made robots so popular in manufacturing. Time is a finite resource and spending it on menial tasks can be a waste of a human employees talents, not to mention the safety issues of human exposure to pesticides or herbicides.

Mining

Mining is another sector that has taken automation and robotics technology extremely seriously. Automated hauling vehicles have taken the industry by storm and futuristic driverless vehicles have helped mines improve efficiency, productivity and safety across the board. For a mine to be making money, machinery needs to be running. Processing earth into ore requires a lot of employee hours and in the case of strip mining, a lot of driving on narrow, steep cliffs. To avoid injuries and to improve productivity, robotics and automation technology has been applied to heavy machinery to keep downtime to an absolute minimum. For your own excavation projects in construction and the like, there are services like excavator hire Sydney where excavators of all sizes and purposes can be dry hired.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure has also been able to benefit from the dramatic increase of robotics technology. Drones are the particular robot in this case as they can provide an eye in the sky without having to actually put a person in harm’s way. An individual working on maintaining a bridge can send out their drone to check for any damage or weathering and provide a real-time look at the condition of the structure in question. Drones are even now being outfitted with robotic arms so they can go beyond just eyes in the sky and have the ability to manipulate the environment around them.

All of these new developments have one thing in common: the use of highly advanced automated or manual robotic technology. Robots have so much to offer these industrial sectors and manufacturers, miners and farmers all over the world are taking notice. Businesses are facing increased customer demands and the only way to really keep up with this trend is by freeing up the human workforce through the use of robotics and technology.

Sources:

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3136675/it-careers/robotics-driverless-tech-are-taking-over-mining-jobs.html

http://www.voanews.com/a/farm-robot/3571817.html

http://www.recode.net/2016/10/29/13413824/robot-repair-open-source-hardware-standard

http://www.rethinkrobotics.com/