A recent post on the NIST Manufacturing Innovation blog provides a great summary of the promise of collaborative robots for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs).
“Collaborative robots are increasingly attractive to manufacturers who require flexible solutions for their growing product mix but may not have the scale of work or capital resources needed to justify larger investments in automation systems,” writes Andrew Peterson, an engineer in the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s (MEP) Extension Services Division.
According to the MEP research, investing in collaborative robots may make the most sense for:
- Manufacturers from 50 to 500 employees with a family product mix
- Owners who are looking for a fast payback period on capital investments (e.g., 6 months)
- Managers who can’t fill shifts, but can redeploy employees to more value-added positions
- Operators with repetitive or dangerous jobs
For inspecting parts and products, Peterson points out a key benefit of robotic inspection systems like the Q-Span Workstations with robotic calipers for contact measurement inspection: “Robots do not experience the mental fatigue that limits human inspections, and robots can do this task much more quickly…”
At New Scale Robotics, we have also found that this is one reason that robots can help quality teams improve gauge R&R (repeatability and reproducibility). Another reason is that a robotic caliper is simply more precise than a hand-held digital caliper or smart caliper.
Finally, Peterson points out that “SMMs may be aware of trends and potential benefits of robotics, but they often are hesitant to invest without certainty of success.”
We have certainly found this to be true. That’s why we offer a free part evaluation and system correlation study to qualify that a Q-Span System is a capable tool for your parts and processes, before you invest anything.
Get the White Paper to find out how we measure the parts you send us, validate our measurements, and demonstrate correlation with your existing measurement method.