It is safe to say we would not be able to enjoy many of our modern conveniences without automation. Thanks to advancements in robotic technology, many industrial processes have been made faster, safer and more efficient.
Although the use of automated equipment is ubiquitous now, it is important to remember that this was unheard of a “lifetime” ago. The first robots were used in industry in 1961, to unload parts in a die-casting facility. About 20 years later, Japanese manufacturers took advantage of new designs to introduce robotic production lines. Over the years, robots and artificial intelligence have advanced by leaps and bounds. Manufacturing and warehousing operations continue to find new ways in which they can improve and integrate their processes.
For example, robotic devices can be used to perform the most dull, repetitive tasks on the assembly line with precision and accuracy every time. By minimizing — or eliminating — the possibility of human fatigue or boredom, errors can be basically eliminated. Robots also enhance safety by replacing the tasks of humans who performed hazardous tasks or worked in dangerous environments. This reduces the amount of downtime caused by injuries and accidents.
As exciting as automation is for manufacturers today, the future holds virtually limitless possibilities. Thanks to the rapid development of artificial intelligence, robots are becoming smarter and more independent. Soon, humans and machines will be able to collaborate more closely on even more complex jobs.
For additional information about how far automation has come and how far it can go, see the accompanying infographic.