Robots are human like machines that perform production tasks. Technically speaking, a robot is a programmable machine, where a sequence of moves can be preset to be repeated time after time, and then reset again to perform another set of moves. The brain is a micro computer which guides the machine through its predetermined operations. Robots replace human beings for some very heavy, dirty, dangerous, unpleasant or monotonous tasks. The science of selecting robots for various usesâ€”and knowing when not to use them â€“ is called robotics.
Robots are advantages as they not only relieve human beings from the burden of attending to dirty and dangerous tasks; they can also a times produce products of better quality than humans.
Automated Quality Control Inspection
Quality control inspection systems are machines that have been integrated into the inspection of products for quality control purposes .These systems perform a wide range of tests and inspections and are found in many industries. They can be used to take physical dimensions of parts, compare the measurements to standards, and determine whether the parts meet the quality specifications .Similarly, these machines can be used to check the performance of electronic circuits.
Automatic Identification System (AIS)
These comprise bar codes, radio frequencies, magnetic stripes, optical character recognition, and machine visions which help sense and feed data into computers .Data is directly read from products, documents, parts and containers without the need for workers to read or interpret the data. AIS is becoming more common place in warehouses, shop floors of factories, retailing and wholesaling and a variety of other applications .While the cost of the AIS hardware is not high, the cost of developing computer software and computer data base is high, and such software is needed to make AIS effective.
Automated Process Controls
Automated process controls use sensors to obtain measures of the performance of industrial processes. They compare these measures to standards which are stored within computer software programs, and if the performance varies significantly from the standards, they send signals to change the settings of the processes .Such systems have been in use for many years in the chemical processing, petroleum-refining and paper industries.
With the increasing use of computer-aided design and computer aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) system, automated process controls have become important. The settings of individual machines can now be sensed and changes can be made in the uniform dimensions of the product and other characteristics respectively.
CAD is the use of computers in interactive engineering drawing and storage of designs.
CAD is concerned with the automation of certain phases of product design. Its use is increasing as more and more powerful software is being developed.
Advantages of CAD:
1.Increased productivity of designers
2.Improved quality of designs
3.Improvement in product standardization and design documentation
4.Creation of a manufacturing database.
CAM is concerned with automating the planning and controlling of production and machine tools on the shop floor. The machines perform a variety of operations and receive instructions from a computer on the sequence and specifications of the operations.
Benefits from CAM:
1.Instructions from a computer are more reliable than those from skilled operators.
2.Product quality is more consistent from unit to unit.
3.Close tolerances can be obtained
4.Lower labor costs because of less operator time.
CAD/CAM implies a merger of CAD and CAM and the interaction between the two systems. The important result of the merger is the automation of the transition from product design to manufacturing. New products can be designed according to market demand & change. The new products designed are stored in common database. Through CAM the new products can be introduced much more quickly and with less expenses .Thus, CAD/CAM promises greater product flexibility , lower production costs and improved product quality.