Optimizing Robot Applications
We at Motus Operandi deal with industrial robots that are used in the automotive industry and we strive to optimize robot applications in terms of speed and energy consumption. I would like to give you a little background on the robot industry in the automotive sector.
So let’s start with robots in general. There are different categories in regards to the robots out there.
These are sometimes called service robots. You might have seen one of these, for example, the Roomba vacuum cleaner has been on sale for over 10 years. But what we are dealing with at Motus Operandi are industrial robots that are used in the factory assembling cars and assembling many other things.
These come in different shapes and sizes. There are even four categories of different robots.
There is an arm type, SCARA, cartesian, and delta robots, those are the major categories. Industrial robots are a product of the third industrial revolution also referred to as computerization. In fact, the first robot was installed in 1961 at the General Motors Plant in the U.S. and in 2013 a couple of decades later there are over 1.3 million robots active in the world’s factories and producing goods for consumers. The reason why robots are used is just for two reasons which are reliability and quality compared to human workers.
The Automotive Industry
The automotive industry is probably the largest industry where robots are applied. The next biggest industry is the electronics industry, your phones, you Ipads, and they are just starting out to automate their processes in the factories with industrial robots. Another industry would be the food and beverage industry. They use a different kind of robot and is quite exciting if you look at those processes because they are moving super fast. Then there are a lot of logistic applications which are rather simple handling applications.
So what are the challenges that we see in the automotive industry and the things we are looking to address? The first things are that you can see on the factory floor that everything is automated. There are lots of complex systems that can be summed up in two words “technology overload”. There are lots going on and there are lots to deal with and are huge challenges in and of itself. Starting from a very high-level requirement, down to the individual control of every machine, everything has to be worked in a synchronized fashion, perfectly and seamlessly so you can do it in a very reliable way with high quality. Then, of course, any production has to respond timely with the market demand. These automotive factories employ thousands of robots in their factory so they have a very large energy consumption because of the industrial robots which are another challenge for them to solve. Then there is long integration time and there are also new trends that are coming from consumers like mass customization just to name one.