A Place for Robots in Metalworking


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What do C3-PO, Johnny 5, the Sentinels, Optimus Prime, D.A.R.Y.L., the Fembots and HAL9000 have in common? They are robots from movies we’ve seen and probably enjoyed. Robots fascinate people of all ages: My 3-year-old son loves Wall-E, and grown men I know have indulged in movies featuring robots, such as Transformers, The Matrix and Star Wars.

Even industrial robots that I’ve seen at trade shows are fascinating to the attendees. The robot booths attract some of the largest crowds in the hall. My theory of the allure of robots is the fact that they imitate human movement almost better than we do, and it is humorous to watch something that is not human act so much like us.

A robot’s cool factor is enticing, and it can be seen in many applications across many industries, including metalworking. Although R2-D2 probably isn’t in your machine shop, there are many uses for robots in this industry that are very cool, especially for workhandling. Robots can pick up parts and then load them onto a staging station; unload parts; probe part openings and blast out embedded chips; mark each part for time, date and machining operations; and even eliminate burrs from finished parts. These functions free people to do more interesting and productive jobs. Read more about this specific process by visiting “Flexible Automation Process Helps Shop Reduce Costs”.

Automation, significantly improved uptime, improved productivity and improved consistency are some of the benefits of implementing robots in a shop. For more information about the advantages of using robots in a job shop, and for more examples of how robots can function in a job shop, go to “Reinventing the Robot for the Job Shop”.

Even though a shop robot might not have much of a personality, you will more than likely enjoy watching the robot fulfill its tasks efficiently, cost effectively and with precision.