According to the International Federation of Robotics, the use of robotics within the electronic industry has more than doubled since 2013, making it the second most automated sector after the automotive industry. The abrupt changes in working environments brought about by COVID-19 across the globe has only served to accelerate the automation of most electrical industry functions as there is a need for less human interaction.
In addition, the increase in production of electronic products, autonomous vehicles and electric cars in the automotive industry directly translates to a higher growth in the reliance of electronic robotics.
Benefits of Electronic Robotics
While it is clear that external factors have contributed to the growth of electronic robotics, electronic robotics offer many benefits and convivences to different industries. Some of these include:
Increased Productivity and Accuracy
Traditional labour in manufacturing was largely handled through employing a huge human workforce to ensure that the numerous tasks, such as assembling parts, were completed within a certain time. However, with automation, robots have led to increased productivity as they can handle the same task much faster and with more precision. They can also work for longer periods and shorten project timelines.
Similar to the automotive industry, the electronics sector requires high precision to ensure the safety of the products, an aspect that is better achieved through the use of robots which have lower rates of error. Accuracy is especially required in the assembly of smaller electronic elements which rely on precision and uniformity. Using collaborative robots in the process means that those in charge of running the robots can assess the quality of production in real-time and work to solve any errors before the process is compete.
Versatility of Collaborative Robots
Robots have the ability to perform a range of tasks which has largely promoted their popularity in both the automotive and electronic sector. While human labour calls for the frequent hiring of people who perform specific tasks in each project, the use of robotics means that after every program, they can be reset to perform different tasks within a very short time.
Cheaper Operational Cost
Companies that have implemented electronic robotics within their production continue to witness a decline in their operational costs, given that the robots can handle more tasks within a shorter time. This means that repetitive tasks can be done faster and more accurately to produce higher quality products and the few workers can be assigned other tasks.
Reasons for Adopting Electronic Robotics
Small and medium sized manufacturers largely assume that robots are huge and expensive, but the increasing demand for electronics, coupled with a decrease in skilled labour, illustrates a clear need for electronic robotics for any business looking to stay running. Largescale electronics manufacturers continue to invest heavily in robots due to the return on investment achieved following their implementation.
Electronic robotics have made it possible for manufacturers to automate processes such as fabrication, assembling tiny components, pick and drop, testing, and packing, among others within their production cycle. While the demand for electronics continues to increase, the size of electric parts and circuits grows smaller and more delicate, increasing the need for precision and accuracy.
For manufacturers, this new aspect means that production has become much more challenging with a high possibility of errors and poor-quality arising. Automation solves these challenges since the robots can pick miniature parts and place them accurately where a person would take longer or fail to do so accurately.
A high demand for electronics, such as phones and other popular gadgets, means that manufacturers need to have a production process that ensures all electronics are assembled consistently and in similar quality. Electronic robotics make this easy as they operate consistently to produce similar results for each project cycle.
The application of electronic robotics easily solves challenges by providing quality assurance while lowering costs and production times.
Additional Reason for Electronic Robotics
Unlike other programs. which require a total overhaul of a system to allow for integration, electronic robotics is easy to integrate as it only needs to be programmed to fit a project’s needs. Robots are flexible and smarter and do not need to be replaced for each product cycle. If a company wants to repurpose a robot, they only need to change the parts and reprogram it to do a new task.
Electronic Robotics in a Post-COVID World
While some manufacturing industries have been affected by the pandemic, automation continues to grow in popularity, as the need for social distancing grows. Physical jobs such as pick and drop, deliveries, applying adhesives, transporting materials and sorting are easily being automated, reducing the need for human labour.
While this looks like a threat to employment, the growth of the automation industry is also increasing the demand for employees with technological skills, since the majority of the electronic robotics are collaborative in nature and there is a clear need for a skilled workforce.
It does not matter whether your company is small or mid-sized, any serious electronics manufacturer should consider integrating electronic robotics within their production cycle. The demand for electronics, as well as those from the automation industry, indicates that the future will heavily rely on electronics and with limited expert human labour. Manufacturers looking to stay relevant should consider applying electronic robotics to their production process.
On the other hand, people looking to remain relevant in a more automated world should consider equipping themselves with technological skills that will allow them work alongside the robots.
Image Credits: Lenny Kuhne