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Demerits of Industrial Robot Arms

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robotic arm

Industrial robot arms are very efficient for industries that need fast and efficient production. It is important to note that robot arms are programmed and controlled by humans, who set them up to work on their behalf. In simple terms, unlike humans, robot arms do not tire or need a break.

As many advantages come with using and applying industrial robot arms, there are also disadvantages. In this article, we look at some pros and cons of robot arms in the industrial sector.

Wikipedia describes an industrial robot as an ‘articulated robot for end-of-arm tooling‘.

The robot arm is used in manufacturing and has many uses, including welding, painting, packaging, and so on. It’s clear to see there are many advantages to its use, and it’s smarter today than when it was first created in 1937. Today, the EoT (End-of-arm Tooling) is the most essential part of the robot, and it’s capable of performing many functions, including

  • Grasping – using electromechanical or pneumatic
  • Picking up objects – using vacuum or magnets
  • Positioning objects – using sensors

Pros of Industrial Robot Arms

The advantages of using robot arms in the industry include accuracy and precision, greater output, i.e., higher productivity, and use in hazardous or dangerous environments. There are other uses for them, too, including the robot arm used by NASA in space and 3D Printing.

There is always a cost to using robots, including the impact on society with job replacement and our fear of the unknown, i.e. will they end up smarter than we are?

Demerits of Industrial Robot Arms

Let’s look more closely at some of the demerits that come with the use of industrial robotic arms today.

Technical Know-how limitations

The use of industrial robot arms comes with the need for an expert in how they operate. In most cases, this might not be a position under the firm’s hierarchy, but the need arises when industrial robotic arms have to be used for faster and more effective products in the industry. This will force the management to work with industrial robotic arms’ operation know-how.

After they are brought in, they must undergo internal training on the industry’s products and specifications. Suppose the industry does not want to invest in getting someone trained or experienced in industrial robotic arms. In that case, they will have to take their already acquired staff for training, maybe not primarily just to operate and use the robotic arms.

They need constant monitoring.

The robotic arms are machines, so they need to be programmed, checked, and often monitored to ensure everything is going as intended. As the industrial robot arms can be remotely monitored, less human labour will result, and fewer people will be needed in the industry.

When remotely monitored, the robot arms can send feedback to the person operating them via text. In case there is a technical hitch, the correction could be done remotely without even stopping the robot’s operations. Industries could well incorporate this, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people should keep social distance and work from home is encouraged.

The fear of loss of jobs

As mentioned earlier, some jobs in business and industry traditionally performed by people are being replaced by robots. However, new jobs arise with the adoption of new technologies, so the business can manage the fear.

Robots are not creative or innovative.

Unlike human beings, industrial robot arms do not think. Humans feel over things even as they work; they develop better working methods or resolve an issue. Unlike industrial robot arms, humans are creative and innovative. The robot arms work according to the settings put on them, which is what they deliver. If any better way of producing a product, for example, came up, then the production would have to be done afresh.

Summing up

The industrial robot arm is not new. However, its use in industrial sectors has become more prevalent, and now it is preferred to perform many functions in industries including medical, industrial, manufacturing, and space.

We are getting much value from robots and new techs like AI, ML, VR, and natural language processing. All we need to do is work on minimizing risk and managing workeminimizingions.