Put simply, workshop robots and robotics are computers with sensors which speak to machines that can substitute for humans by replicating human actions. They can be programmed in a variety of ways, from drawing to block-based programming languages like Scratch to text-based programming languages like Python. Regardless of how a robot is configured, there is a direct connection between the software on screen and the robot’s actions.
In recent years, numerous industries are pivoting to robotics to improve efficiency, save time and increase overall profits. Robotics has held court in the automotive industry since the 1960s, but more intelligent manufacturing robots are significantly increasing productivity in other industries. These industries include; healthcare, defence and public safety, mining and food preparation.
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Of course, investing in and maintaining a fully operational robotics workshop isn’t cheap, but it might save your business money in the long run whilst providing you with numerous benefits. Some of which are higher productivity, reliability, availability, increased performance, and reduced operating costs.
How long will it take for a return on my investment?
There are several factors to take into account when looking to invest in robotics for your business, and one of the most important to work out is your expected ROI (return on investment).
Firstly, to arrive at a true ROI, several factors need to be calculated. Not only must the robot costs be compared to the hourly pay of a human operator doing the same job for the same number of hours, but also other opportunities need to be examined.
Companies might consider moving to a ‘lights out’ operation, which is a technical term for a manufacturing plant that is run fully automated and requires little to no humans. This alone can yield a great ROI when you consider the lack of human capital required to run these plants.
Whilst companies have seen an average ROI of 24 months from robotics, the benefits of automated systems can be a powerful motive for increasing service to your end users. Other benefits include:
- Increased productivity: Robotics take on more menial tasks so you can focus on the more strategic work.
- Increased reliability: With every task stored as data, workflows to ensure jobs are never forgotten or run out of sequence.
- Optimized performance: Transform tedious processes with automation to work smarter, not harder.
- Accuracy: Proving the robots are maintained and programmed correctly, they can be more accurate and less likely to perform errors, than human counterparts.
- Sustainability: With less human employees in the workshop, machines can run for hours without having scheduled breaks and time off.
How much will it cost to train employees?
As the world of AI and robotics are becoming commonplace in the workforce, employees are moving from physical jobs to mental jobs. Whilst training employees to look after these complex systems might seem costly, it can save companies a lot more than relying on humans alone.
For example, in a Philips plant producing electric razors in the Netherlands, robots outnumber the nine production workers by more than 14 to 1. Which massively reduces operational costs and speeds up tedious processes.
Menial activities such as arranging raw goods, transporting, and stocking may be performed by robotics. Humans may perform higher-skilled jobs that need the human touch, such as quality-related jobs, at the end of the manufacturing line, creating a sustainable workforce through robotics and training.
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