Along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), an emerging technology — robotic process automation (RPA) — is becoming more widely used in industrial applications than ever before. One type of system, a robotic vision system (RVS), is an increasingly popular choice for many industries like manufacturing, warehousing and production. Why are more companies investing in this technology?
An RVS is essentially a robotics system that can “see”, or use vision technology to gather information about its surroundings. Traditionally, robots in the industrial space could only follow pre-programmed commands. However, with recent advances in technology like AI, ML and RPA, modern robotics have the ability to react to different factors in their environments.
An RVS system consists of a few different components, such as:
RVS can have other components, but those listed above are the most important. Robotics without vision systems are known as “blind” robots, as they blindly follow commands and can usually only perform one or more repetitive, mundane tasks.
RVS offers many benefits to the companies that invest in them. It’s even possible that manufacturing will become 100% autonomous by the year 2030, illustrating just how advantageous they are in the industrial sector.
Below, learn more about the benefits manufacturers, warehousing facilities and other industries can reap by using RVS.
Robotics vision capabilities can help boost efficiency in manufacturing plants, warehouses and other industrial facilities. Some systems can assemble filter components at speeds of up to 120 ppm (parts per million). Although different types of RVS exist, they all share a common goal to increase speed of manufacturing processes, such as packing, picking, assembling and more.
Quality control is a critical part of modern manufacturing, and RVS can help manufacturers maintain quality control over its products.
Human error is a common reason for poor quality control, but an RVS solves this problem. Robots with advanced vision technology can inspect all parts of a product thoroughly to ensure it’s ready to move on to the next stage of the production line.
An RVS can take over many manual processes and tasks, allowing employees to focus on other, more critical assignments. Some people believe that automation or the increased use of robotics, including robotics with vision capabilities, will lead to worker displacement.
However, robots working alongside humans — also known as “cobots” — can, in fact, lead to higher employee productivity. When mundane tasks are eliminated from an employee’s workflow, they can focus on more high priority tasks.
It might seem daunting to immediately upgrade your facility’s current robotics systems. However, you and your company can reap the benefits listed above. There are some other reasons to adopt an RVS, too — let’s take a closer look at below.
In today’s tight labor market, it’s crucial for companies to adopt new technologies to attract potential talent. From recent college graduates to seasoned robotics professionals, companies using RVS can garner new employees who are eager to work with these advanced technologies.
Employees want to work with tech-driven solutions that make their jobs easier, and what better way to meet this challenge than to adopt new robotics systems? Employers who set out to revolutionize the way employees work are going to quickly become the employer of choice.
As stated above, employees want to leverage technology to alleviate some of the pain points they experience on the job. For example, assembling products or checking products for quality control in a factory isn’t the most glamorous job, but it puts food on the table.
However, if an employee can work alongside an advanced RVS, they may feel more engaged in their roles, which leads to higher productivity and job satisfaction. All employers — regardless of industry — should focus on meeting the changing needs of their employees to make their jobs run smoothly.
Some jobs in the industrial space are dangerous by nature. For example, using heavy machinery in warehousing can present potentially dangerous situations for employees. If an employee does not receive proper training, they can put themselves and their coworkers at risk of injury or fatality.
Using RVS can help improve safety in several ways. Since RVS can “see”, they can identify potential safety hazards in the workplace and alert managers. From there, managers can take steps to improve safety and ensure all employees are following safety procedures. It’s also much safer to put a robot to work in unsafe environments compared to a human employee.
Because RVS use advanced algorithms, cameras and sensors, they often come with high upfront costs. Despite these high costs, most companies adopting RVS would agree that adopting machines that can “see” yield a high return on investment (ROI).
Purchasing these systems may feel like a major financial burden but the benefits they offer are seemingly priceless. As these technologies continue to improve over time, the ROI will continue to rise, making it worthwhile for companies looking to invest in RVS. Since RVS can automate multiple tasks with flexibility, they can maximize ROI and they ultimately help companies avoid incorporating even more expensive technologies into their operations.
RVS are highly advanced robotics systems capable of observing their surroundings and adjusting their functionality based on their environment. These machines are becoming highly popular across some of the most integral industries of the economy, like manufacturing and production.
As RVS become more widely used, more companies will invest in these technologies, enabling researchers and developers to continuously improve them. It’ll be interesting to see if RVS become a staple in the industrial world, especially in the Industry 4.0 era.