Critical Information About The Robotic Arm

By  //  February 17, 2022

The robotic arm has been a revolutionary piece of technology since its inception in 1954. AS the product of a self-taught engineer, George Devol, this tech has revolutionized human/machine interactions and has made it possible to automate manufacturing without replacing human labor. 

What many people are unaware of is the fact that the robot arm wasn’t integrated into industrial manufacturing until the 1970s. Despite the launch of machine learning by George Devol and Joseph Engelberg in 1960, many industries did not see its worth. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, and it has become impossible to separate efficiency in factory operations and automation. 

Modern Robotics: Key facts

While industrial robots laid their foundation in large-scale manufacturing and assembly, modern technology has subsidized robotic purchases. This reduction in prices has made this technology available at the consumer level. The launch of the now-famous collaborative robots has brought small and medium enterprises into the fray, enabling them to improve mobility and increase productivity. 

As of 2019, the purchase of robots increased by 300%. This figure includes robots purchased for industrial applications and those designed for personal use. You are looking at a figure of up to 2 million robotic units globally. 

In 2021, there was a surge in the number of robotic units used in intricate practices such as precision surgery. The adaptive nature of robotic arms has also made them useful in military applications such as bomb diffusing and enemy surveillance. This technology finds its roots in 1970. NASA built MARS ROVER was designed to help navigate hostile environments. 

The primary takeaway here is that robotics is gaining new applications every day. 

State of Industrial Robotics

Robotics, as an industry, has grown exponentially in the last 50 years. Traditional industrial robots were rigid and task-specific. New integrated systems are flexible and can function at every level. 

Technology has become more user-friendly and more effective. New robots are much smaller, yet they still maintain high-level operation capacity and control. Modern robots are also easier to control and fully autonomous. With proper programming, a company can coordinate, monitor, and remotely control entire production lines. 

These features were unavailable in traditional robotics, meaning that the industry has evolved substantially. The push for advanced manufacturing is also a fundamental step in the quest for full robotic automation. Although this hasn’t been achieved yet, the automotive industry in Europe is rapidly working towards this end. 

Industrial robots have significantly benefited from digital transformation, improving organization and efficiency in many manufacturing and assembly companies. 

For the robotic arm, simulation technology is one of the standout features that will further revolutionize human/machine interactions. Recent developments improve inter-contentedness between machines on factory floors and the human labor force. The idea is to create an environment where humans and robots can co-exist and complement each other in function. 

Industries are also working to solve the island problem. Essentially, each factory functions in autonomy. If a company can merge operations in multiple factories by creating a central hub, it will be possible to control one’s entire infrastructure. With the rollout of the Internet of Things, this technology is gradually becoming a reality. 

Robotic Arm versus Human Resource

There are growing concerns that the robotic arm may soon replace human labor. The contention here is whether some industries, such as health care, will get the same value if this happens. It is already clear that robotic arms perform precision surgeries in orthopedics and even open-heart surgery. The question here is, can a robot replicate empathy or show concern?

In principle, integrating robotic technology has the specific aim of improving results. Robots perform repetitive tasks for hours without issues of fatigue. The question should be whether these robots can perform these tasks autonomously. 

Where caregiving is concerned, it is clear that human-to-human interactions are a big part of the healing process. As effective as robots are, they lack human emotion. This fact alone is what establishes humans as a critical part of healthcare. 

Economic Implications of Robotic Integration

Employing critical analysis, it is evident that countries with the highest investment in automated technology are high-income states. China, Germany, and the U.S are some countries invested in robotic technology, and it is easy to see why. From initial investment to operating costs, robot integration is very capital intensive. 

While it triggers substantial economic growth and productivity, it is difficult for SMEs to adapt this technology effectively. With small robots retailing at $50000 and above, small enterprises are incapable of tapping into this advantage. 

Issues of proper resource distribution come into play here, and it is only the growth of target-specific technology that will level the playing field. 

Move Towards Smart Manufacturing

The robotic arm is one of the few technologies for bridging mechanical and information engineering. Smart manufacturing allows industries to establish a collaborative relationship between these two primary fields, giving robots visual perception. 

The future of robotic technology seeks to make factory functions autonomous but still highly efficient. The quest for technology requires a series of coordinated efforts between robotics and integrated software that facilitate machine learning. 

In principle, for a factory to operate without human intervention, communication technology has to create an algorithm that enables robots to understand instruction and function optimally. Robots are, by default, precise in how they operate. The only requirement is a system that merges production functions and relays instructions that these machines can follow. 

This system requires smart tools that can be redesigned when necessary without affecting the efficiency of automatic production. Robotic technology is developing rapidly, and the realization of smart manufacturing will make these machines more accessible to a bigger consumer base. 

Smart manufacturing is a leap into the future, and it will become a significant selling point once it is realized. 

Final Thoughts

Although many people are concerned about robots replacing an aging workforce, it is worth noting that machines increase the demand for middle-level jobs. This technology is here to stay. The faster people embrace this change, the more it will establish a better cost/benefit ratio.