Robotics and Automation – The Future of Manufacturing

Robotics Machine

Today in the manufacturing and material handling industries, robotics and automation are being deployed in every aspect of the traditional processes to improve not only throughout but also aid with flexibility, quality, and consistency.  Robotics and automation are becoming the solution-of-choice for our client’s manufacturingproblems as they continue to seek to lower overhead costs, increase manufacturing up-time, improve product build quality, and ensure consistency of production. They are being implemented into nearly every area of manufacturing, ranging anywhere from the handling of plant samples to the cutting of plumbing pipes, as well as the assembly of cars. Advancements in software, safety, gripping, vision, and other technologies are enabling the end users to successfully deploy fully automated solutions in all aspects of the manufacturing process including assembly, picking, packing, and storage.

Recently, BIC was hired to provide manufacturing engineering support for a client’s Mirror Alignment improvement initiative. An almost constant increase in demand for the client’s product lines has pushed their production capacities to their limits.  As a response to our client’s manufacturing needs, BIC has initiated a plan to design, create, and implement a fully automated robotic work cell that will enable the client to increase the output for their Mirror Alignment process by nearly 10x. The client’s current process requires that technicians make fine, manual adjustments to the position of optical-grade mirrors in order to ensure proper alignment of the assembly. The mirrors are then bonded with adhesive to hold them in place. The limited space available in the assembly and the sensitivity of each movement makes this task difficult, time consuming, and inconsistent. BIC’s specification focuses on eliminating the operator altogether by incorporating a 6-axis robot to pick the mirrors, apply adhesive, and install the mirrors in their correct location. A vision system will provide feedback to the robot to make fine motor adjustments and to validate the proper alignment of the mirrors. BIC first developed a detailed technical specification and has now engaged multiple robotics vendors across the country to bid on the detailed design of this workstation.

With multiple robotics and automation-focused projects in house at Boston Industrial, BIC is focusing on building relationships with vendors across the country and is perfecting the skills required to help provide industry-leading manufacturing solutions for our clients. The demand for robotics and automation in the manufacturing and distribution industries is a trend that is expected to continue to grow for years to come and BIC is working to grow with it.