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16 Robotic Topics of 2016

As the year draws to a close, it is interesting to discover the robotic topics that most engaged our readers in 2016. MCRI’s website provides opportunities to learn more about how robotics can transform a manufacturing process by:

  1. publishing weekly Tech Talk articles
  2. showing robot system and simulation videos

While 2016 might have had more valleys than peaks, it was a year of growth in the robotics industry.

robotic topics
“It’s a great time to get involved with robotics,” explains Jeff Burnstein, President of RIA. “Today’s robotics industry offers innovative products, fulfilling employment opportunities, and competitive advantages for a wide variety of companies.” (see robotics industry report for more information)

The innovations in robotics Mr. Burnstein speaks of have brought increased interest in robotics from small and medium sized companies. The availability and ease of use in today’s systems allow for a great competitive advantage and help smaller companies accomplish growth goals. Opening up the opportunities for all manufacturing companies to start researching robotics has led to MCRI seeing a growth of interest in specific areas of robotics. Below are the top 16 topics people were reading or watching videos about in 2016.

Top 16 Robotic Topics of 2016

    1. Palletizing – 18% of people searching for information on our website are wanting to learn more about palletizing options for their current processes. This isn’t too surprising since most manufacturing facilities have some need for palletizing. The complexity of palletizing applications has increased with order fulfillment and customization needs.
    2. Dual Check Safety (DCS) – Dual Check Safety is a popular subject that 10% of our visitors are wanting to learn more about. Using DCS software can drastically decrease the amount of space safety fencing takes up and allows operators to quickly enter and exit the process area safely.

FANUC Integrators

    1. Information about Robot Axes and Inertia – Informative articles like these help customers and robot users learn a little more about the industry and mechanics of the robots they will be installing.
    2. Case Packing – The food and beverage industry is seeing huge growth in the use of robotics. According to the Robotics Industry Association data, this industry is showing growth of about 40% each year. While case packing is found in a variety of industries, it is huge in food and beverage and a big reason we are seeing a large number of visits.
    3. Roll Handling – Handling rolls requires a delicate operation, and robots are a great solution. The other reason for this being an important topic for robotics is operator safety. Lifting and moving heavy rolls can cause ergonomic issues.
    4. Preventative Maintenance – Motion Controls Robotics and FANUC provide a variety of ways to reduce downtime and that is good for everyone!

robotic topics

    1. Simulations – Simulations are the perfect way to test out a process idea. This is usually the first step a manufacturer takes in looking at robotics’ feasibility.
    2. Collaborative Robots – Allowing robots to take over repetitive tasks, lets operators work either more efficiently or on more important aspects of a process. Many processes need operator intervention, and using collaborative robots makes this possible. What isn’t as well known is collaborative robots are not the only way to accomplish this scenario. Motion Controls Robotics’ articles and videos give options for using robots along with other innovations to allow this collaboration.
    3. Automatic Guide Carts – Carts offer options for moving larger manufacturing pieces from station to station but also the option of mobile robots. SmartCarts are a great addition to the manufacturing environment and can be easily repurposed.
    4. FANUC’s  iRVision – Machine vision options today are so varied and can make a huge difference in a process. Keeping up with the options available helps customers find ways to continuously improve their current processes.
    5. Panel/Board Handling – FANUC’s M410iC robots are the perfect solution for handling large/multi-size panels. MCRI is the specialist in board handling systems – having designed and integrated over 15 systems.
    6. Plastics/Bottle Handling – With billions filled and packed yearly, it is essential to make sure your process is efficient and fast.
    7. Robotic Order Fulfillment – Robotic distribution and fulfillment systems are predicted to increase even more in popularity in the next 4-5 years. This means that food, beverage, and consumer goods distributors as well as other storage warehouses, are exploring robotics to stay competitive. Robotics helps these industries increase quality and reduce errors.

  1. End of Arm Tooling (EOAT) – End of arm tooling is an essential, solution of any robot system. Researching the perfect type of gripper for a system, helps the manufacturer to discover other questions or information that they still need to ask or answer.
  2. Load/Unload – The automotive industry continues to be the number one user of robots. These load and unload operations need automation for safety and rate issues.
  3. Robotic Assembly – This is an area where innovations and machine vision have really opened up opportunities.