American manufacturing is evolving. What once was an industry dominated by a workforce made up of hardworking men and women has slowly begun to change — for the better. Robots have arrived on the assembly line.
Affordable and accessible, the next generation of autonomous mobile robots are finding their way on to the factory floor — and they are smarter, nimbler and easier to use than ever before.
Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). Also known as mobile robots, AMRs are the latest automation innovation to transform traditional robot tasks through increased flexibility and diversified applications.
The first AMRs were used by NASA in space exploration. Today, they are changing the landscape across many industrial environments. Through the mobilization of a robot, businesses are increasing flexibility and diversifying applications. Plus, the easy programming and implementation of AMRs makes them even more attractive to end users.
Autonomous mobile robots are known for their unique ability to navigate in an uncontrolled environment with a higher-level understanding via sensors, blueprints, artificial intelligence, 3D or 2D vision and more. AMRs are highly innovative compared to a traditional automatic guided vehicle (AGV) which is also mobile but uses wires or magnets to navigate a narrowly defined area.
“AMRs don’t just travel from point A to B, their perception allows them to reroute when something is in the way,” says Matt Wicks, Vice President, Product Development at Honeywell Intelligrated. The most valuable AMRs have a data driven strategy incorporated into them.
Many people fear that robots or full automation may someday take their jobs, but this is simply not the case. Robots bring more advantages than disadvantages to the workplace. They enrich a company’s ability to succeed while improving the lives of real, human employees who are still needed to keep operations running smoothly.
Robots can’t do everything. Some jobs absolutely need to be completed by a human. If your human employees aren’t caught up doing the things that could have easily be left for robots, they’ll be available and productive. They can talk to customers, answer emails and social media comments, help with branding and marketing, and sell products. You’ll be amazed at how much they can accomplish when the grunt work isn’t weighing them down.
Robots don’t get distracted or need to take breaks. They don’t request vacation time or ask to leave an hour early. A robot will never feel stressed out and start running slower. They also don’t need to be invited to employee meetings or training session. Robots can work all the time, and this speeds up production. They keep your employees from having to overwork themselves to meet high pressure deadlines or seemingly impossible standards.
Safety is the most obvious advantage of utilizing robotics. Heavy machinery, machinery that runs at hot temperature, and sharp objects can easily injure a human being. By delegating dangerous tasks to a robot, you’re more likely to look at a repair bill than a serious medical bill or a lawsuit. Employees who work dangerous jobs will be thankful that robots can remove some of the risks.
Robots will always deliver quality. Since they’re programmed for precise, repetitive motion, they’re less likely to make mistakes. In some ways, robots are simultaneously an employee and a quality control system. A lack of quirks and preferences, combined with the eliminated possibility of human error, will create a predictably perfect product every time.
Robots never need to divide their attention between a multitude of things. Their work is never contingent on the work of other people. They won’t have unexpected emergencies, and they won’t need to be relocated to complete a different time sensitive task. They’re always there, and they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Automation is typically far more reliable than human labor.
6. Happier Employees
Since robots are often assigned to perform tasks that people don’t particularly enjoy, like menial work, repetitive motion, or dangerous jobs, your employees are more likely to be happy. They’ll be focusing on more engaging work that’s less likely to grind down their nerves. They might want to take advantage of additional educational opportunities, utilize your employee wellness program, or participate in an innovative workplace project. They’ll be happy to let the robots do the work that leaves them feeling burned out.
7. Job Creation
Robots don’t take jobs away. They merely change the jobs that exist. Robots need people for monitoring and supervision. The more robots we need, the more people we’ll need to build those robots. By training your employees to work with robots, you’re giving them a reason to stay motivated in their position with your company. They’ll be there for the advancements and they’ll have the unique opportunity to develop a new set of tech or engineering related skills.