Industry 4.0, also known as the 4th Industrial Revolution, aims to integrate systems and people into an increasingly efficient and intelligent production process. To achieve the expected results, automated strategies such as the use of autonomous robots that have in common the connection provided by the Internet of Things are used.
In this context, the use of robots and automated systems is growing, after all with the use of machines that understand indicators and stimuli to identify possible problems, there are many improvements that are essential in this increasingly disruptive environment of Industry 4.0.
In today’s article you will understand more about the role of autonomous robots and their relationship with the people and systems involved in a productive process, its advantages and applications that exist today.
What are autonomous robots?
An autonomous robot is a mechanism that performs tasks with a high degree of autonomy.
These robots have the ability to:
- Gather information about the environment in which it is located;
- Work without human intervention;
- Move within its specific operating environment without human assistance;
- Protect people, property or itself when risk situations are determined.
The tendency is that autonomous robots will perform the most difficult and repetitive tasks, and also the heavy work, leaving human beings with complementary and more strategic activities.
But for the work to happen as a partnership, it is necessary that the autonomous robots have the capacity to work collectively with the employees, so that there are no dangerous situations.
With that in mind, Industry 4.0 provides environments for artificial intelligence, high amounts of data and connections between systems with the use of the internet of things, and so autonomous robots also have the ability to learn, acquiring new skills without the need for external help.
Collaborative robotics happens when robots and humans work side by side. Autonomous robots perform tasks with greater risk or repetitiveness, while operators do their jobs in a safer environment.
According to Cedric Craze, director of Pollux, company that uses autonomous robots in its processes, in Brazil 10 robots are used for every 10,000 workers, while in developed countries the number is 350 to 450 robots per 10,000 workers.
Therefore, the Brazilian industries have a lot of opportunities to expand the use of robots in their processes. This access to technology has become more accessible, and today it is no longer an exclusive strategy of huge companies. It is possible to use autonomous robots and/or that work collaboratively with humans in small and medium enterprises as well.
The Role of Autonomous Robots in Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is about technology, high connectivity and continuous search for better opportunities and strategies for the industrial environment. Because of that, the use of autonomous robots becomes very interesting.
To have good results from it, when performing an evaluation of all the routines and processes involved in an industrial plant, managers can map all the activities that can be performed by robots and start the adaptation project.
Among the activities are:
- Routines that can be performed without the support of humans;
- Logistics processes;
- Dangerous processes;
- Handling and loading of heavy products.
The Amazon company is one of the giants that uses autonomous robots in its processes. Because the company deals with tens of thousands of orders made online at the same time, it is necessary to optimize the processes so that efficiency is kept.
In there, more than 100,000 autonomous robots are used to perform extremely repetitive tasks and heavy work, facilitating the entire process and resulting in productivity.
Advantages of working with autonomous robots
As you have already noticed, there are uncountable advantages, however some of them call the attention because they can be seen from the moment autonomous robots start to be used.
Among the advantages are: cost savings with labor force, increased production and improved productivity. Nevertheless, some more specific tasks help make it clearer how autonomous robots are important:
- Transportation of semi-finished or completely finished products between production, warehouse and logistics. This type of activity is usually performed in a collaborative way between the robot and the employee;
- Sending elements between production lines. In this case, the work is performed exclusively by the autonomous robot, resulting in a more efficient industry;
- Safety features in autonomous robots create a better work environment for the empolyees. With the use of robots the presence of humans in risky situations decreases, reducing the chance of accidents.
Examples of autonomous robots in industrial environments
- The Snake Robot, developed by EMBRAPII ISI Laser and General Motors, works to optimize the welding inspection system in automotive industries. By doing this, the identification of failures becomes automated rather than manual as it usually happens.
- Also in the automotive industry, Ford introduced a robot developed by Agility Robotics to perform a collaborative work with autonomous cars that deliver orders. The robot called Digit is a humanoid and its use allows a complete delivery, solving a current issue: the final path to leave the vehicle and get to the door of the house.
As you can see in the examples, the applications vary a lot. From hazardous jobs like weld inspections to details such as the delivery of products with autonomous cars that didn’t have a complete autonomous process.
Did you realize how autonomous robots are essential for industries?
In both collaborative work between employees and robots, and in activities that can be carried out in a 100% autonomous way, this technology will grow even more in the future, transforming the industrial environments that we know today.
Are you already working to understand which processes can be automated within your industry? Don’t skip this initial analysis, because it is from this step that a strategic adaptation of the processes will be possible, so that the best results are achieved.
If you believe this is actually a trend related to Industry 4.0, leave your comment below to share your ideas and experiences.