Advantages and Disadvantages of Industrial Robots

August 2018

 

When deciding to introduce industrial robots into your production line, consideration should be given to both the advantages as well as the disadvantages of industrial robots prior to a decision being made. Here we talk about both the pros and cons of using industrial robots.

 

 

Advantages of Industrial Robots

 

  • Increased efficiency

Industrial robots can complete certain tasks faster and more efficiently than humans as they are designed and built to perform them with higher accuracy. This combined with the fact they are used to automate processes which previously might have taken significantly more time and resource results in the use of industrial robots to increase the efficiency of production lines.

 

  • Improved quality 

Given their higher levels of accuracy, industrial robots can be used to produce higher quality products which result in the reduction of time required for quality control and ensures that standards of quality are adhered to.

 

  • Improved working environment 

Some tasks are deemed as too dangerous or laborious and repetitive for humans to carry out and so instead robots can perform these tasks instead. Working conditions, therefore, can be vastly improved as well as the safety within factories and production plants by introducing industrial robots.

 

  • Increased profitability 

The results of introducing industrial robots can only ensure higher profitability levels with lower cost per product as by increasing the efficiency of your process, reducing the resource and time required to complete it whilst also achieving higher quality products, introducing industrial robots save money in the long run.

 

  • Longer working hours

With humans breaks in the working day are required, distractions happen and attention spans slow. Whereas robots can work 24/7 and keep working at 100% efficiency. On average a 40% increase in the output of a production line occurs when one key person is replaced by a robot who operates the same working hours, simply because of stamina. Also, robots don’t take holidays or have unexpected absences.

 

  • Prestige

“Wowing” your clients by operating at the cutting edge of your industry, robots are even fantastic as a marketing tool, boosting your brand image and are regularly used simply for PR if they don’t already over enough benefits!

 

 

Disadvantages of Industrial Robots 

 

  • Capital cost 

Implementing industrial robots can incur a fairly high capital cost however, they do prove highly effective and bring a positive ROI. This is why prior to decisions being made we always recommend consideration is given to both the investment required and also the ROI you expect to achieve in implementing robots. Often the advice we give is to take out asset finance and the ROI of the robot more than pays for the interest on the asset finance. However for 2019 the Government has increased the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) to encourage investment in machinery.  This investment allowance means that businesses can deduct qualifying capital expenditure from its taxable profits to spend on machinery, tools and other business equipment.

 

  • Expertise

The initial set up of industrial robots requires a lot of training and expertise as with any other type of technology, this is because they are excellent for performing many tasks. Good automation companies provide a support package of their expertise which is an extremely important factor. However, to minimise reliance on automation companies, training can be given to engineers to allow them to program the robots but the assistance of experienced automation companies is still required for the original integration of the robot.

 

  • Limitations

The number of industrial robots has seen a dramatic increase over the years but there are still some limitations to the type of tasks they can perform. This is why we advise that companies liaise with automation companies prior to implementation to assess the various options available first. Sometimes a bespoke automated system may give a better of faster result than a robot. A robot does not have everything built into it so often the success or failure of an industrial robotic system depends on how well the surrounding systems are integrated e.g. grippers, vision systems, conveyor systems etc. Use only good trusted robot integrators to ensure optimum results.

 

  • Working safely with robots

In addition to the suitability of the robot, safety is also paramount when integrating robots into your production environment. This is carried out through risk assessments by either the machine builder or the end user, ultimately the machine has to be fully assessed and CE marked. Similarly, there is a misconception that collaborative robots are simple ‘safe’ however before implementation of these takes place, a full risk assessment has also to be carried out to evaluate the speeds, nip points and the possible risks associated with any end effect tooling.

 

 

Conclusion

Careful consideration and advice should be sought before investing in robots. The aim of this blog was to give you some insight into the aspects that should be considered before implementing industrial robots in your company, we hope it has been successful in doing so. If more guidance if required or you would like to find out more on the benefits of industrial robots and how they can best be applied to your project then contact our team of automation experts today. Give us a call on 01382 880088 or email [email protected] for further information.

 

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