Factories have used automation for decades, but a new generation of robotics and related technologies is changing manufacturing. More businesses can benefit from robots than ever before, but operators must first know where to start.
In this webcast, Rick Brookshire, group product manager and global account manager at Epson Robots, will walk viewers through each step in automating their operations.
Brookshire has worked in the robotics industry for more than 33 years, managing various product development, marketing, applications engineering, product management, and technical support teams.
As director of product development and engineering at Seiko Instruments, his teams helped create the first PC-based robot controllers, integrated robot vision solutions, and the core development software for Epson Robots, now known as Epson RC+. Thousands of factories worldwide use it today.
Brookshire has a BS in computer science and marketing from Clemson University. After coming to Epson, he became part of the Epson global development management team that creates all robot-related products for Epson Robots.
Know thyself for automation
The first challenge for chief robotics officers (CROs) and other business leaders who champion and manage automation is to figure out the organization’s overall goals. Then, you need to assess current processes to see where robots can add value and evaluate available products.
Where are your pain points? Sometimes, process re-engineering is the solution rather than mobile robots, machine learning, or collaborative robot arms, or cobots.
Brookshire will also discuss how to weigh your requirements. He will also examine the components of automation, which affect robot performance and longevity.
In most cases, it’s not simply a matter of replacing a human line worker with a robot. Machines can augment human capabilities, but robots have different strengths and weaknesses than people.
Simulation software is another tool that can be helpful for determining the effects of automation on manufacturing operations and factory layout.
Brookshire also looks at manpower concerns. With widespread fears of robots taking jobs, how can you mitigate line-worker expectations?
What are the levels of expertise necessary to successfully use automation in manufacturing? Some robots, such as cobots, are designed to be easier to use, but they still require training and management.
Safety, delegation of authority, and dealing with skills shortages are other workforce challenges.
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