In our daily lives, we use finished products coming from manufacturing industries like textiles, chemicals, foods, etc. Manufacturing is usually defined to be a mix of labor, machines, and tools to produce goods for use or sale.
China, USA, and Japan are the top manufacturing countries of the world and employ a man-machine set up with a division of labor to get products. After transformation with the introduction of machines, the manufacturing sector is currently undergoing automation transformation. Computer or robots are increasingly being used to handle machines and processes as a replacement to humans.
Benefits of using robots in manufacturing
Be it the case of lifting heavy loads safely and quickly in earth exploration or repeatedly hitting nails to achieve optimal depth in weaponry – robots are increasingly seen everywhere. It is hyped as the second stage of industrialization as a huge cost- and time-saver. Robotic automation in manufacturing increases quality assurance and productivity. Robots are big human resources cost-savers while also reducing cases of accidents and errors in the manufacturing industry.
Robots can be deployed to perform dangerous tasks or work in hazardous conditions like in toxicity, poor lights, or tight places with much less risk level. In product reviews, brands now mention that no human lives were put in danger due to the manufacturing of their items.
In finer and delicate manufacturing industries, robots have removed the expectancy of human error and perform similar jobs with a consistent level of accuracy. Likewise, due to the availability of digital assistance, decisions are made faster, plus details and data transfers are much secure and accurate regarding performances.
Disadvantages of using robots in manufacturing
Apart from the debate of robots causing human unemployment, it’s not that robots themselves work automatically and do not require inputs. Not only requiring some sort of power or energy supply source to operate, but robots are also reliant on human expertise for programming, upkeep, and maintenance.
By far, the biggest challenge the industries face in employing robots or automated processes is related to costs. From initial costs of installation and programming to later modifications, upgrades, or troubleshooting, all operations in robotics are expensive and require expertise.
Robots operate on complex machine learning algorithms, which are programmed to adjust to specific tasks and environments. It is difficult for a robot to re-adjust to any changes or people around them, and requires expert hands for modifications in their algorithms.
Similarly, unlike humans, robots will not yield any creativity after gaining experience in a particular task, but would rather continue to perform it monotonously.
The future of robots in manufacturing
With the advancements in technology like big data and artificial intelligence, robotics is going to act as the main innovator in the manufacturing sector. Mainly increasing the productivity in the sector, the benefits of this higher production are equally significant for humans and machines alike.
As with productivity, higher competition and demand for innovation will create options and experiments in the industry. This will require skilled labor to work along with robots and machines for production.
Moral, ethical or emotional values are still a far cry for robots. Like it or not, humans will inevitably continue to work alongside robots to cater to unfamiliar situations or make judgments. Technology reviews have shown that new streams of jobs are opening up for humans related to programming, engineering, maintenance, and those related to higher mental functions.
Moreover, there is an understanding among industry leaders that robots have thus far replaced tasks in manufacturing and not the actual jobs. Research with experimentation and innovation is continually being undertaken to increase the automation and use of robots in the future of the manufacturing sector.