Digital technology has taken over all the aspects of human life. In many domains, this has brought a paradigm shift. The similar phenomenon is taking place in the industries as well where the automation of systems and processes implies enhanced involvement of robots in industry.
The term industrial robot refers to the hardware system which can work autonomously in various dimensions and has the ability to be reconfigured. This also implies that the work efficiency is enhanced and the output goes beyond the expected outcome through manual labor.
The applications of robots can be found in almost all the industries including the assembly plants, packaging industries, quality assurance cells, product testing and inspection departments, designing the product etc. The added advantage of using robots in industry is the accuracy, increased working hours (in comparison to human endurance levels) and enhanced efficiency.
There are usually two general categories of industrial robots.
- The Hard Coded Robots: These robots work according their programmed instructions which they follow to a high degree of precision. These robots do the assigned task in an efficient manner and follow the input instruction word by word. Thus the output is always the same as specified with no variation, for good or for worse.
- The Learning Robots: These robots combine the features of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Vision, Machine Learning etc. whereby they have the ability to take input from the environment, process it and act accordingly. These robots can be referred to as the robots with a thinking ability, though it is limited. However the advantage of these robots is that these robots can reconfigure themselves to adapt to the environment thus improving their response as compared to the static robots.
The leading industrial corporations and survey bodies in the world have predicted that the robots will be doing the major tasks at the industry levels by the end of next decade. This will bring an economic boost in the industry and will benefit the economy in the long run. The advantages of utilizing the industrial robots are numerous. For example: the use of industrial robots will eliminate the need of heavy machinery that can perform one task by replacing it with an intricately designed, complex robot that could manage a number of tasks.
The use of industrial robots has been forthcoming for quite a while. Especially with the increased cost of labor, even in the countries which were traditionally used for outsourcing labor due to lower costs, has made the shift imminent.
Even with the use of hard coded or static robots, the robots can take over the repetitive jobs while humans step in where the creativity and innovation might be required. In the major industries like locomotive industry, the shift to robotics has already been made. It is only a matter of time before the robots take over the entire industrial production process. However in that scenario the burning question will be to find that delicate balance between automation and manual labor so that humans don’t fear for their living as the robots surge in to take over their jobs. So tell me guys, how do you feel about industry robotics? Is anyone else afraid of losing their job to a robot? This could be questions that are posed very soon, which will lead to humans being basically futile in terms of labor and progression. Artificial Intelligence is taking all of us by surprise and will eventually replace the need for human life. I, for one, while excited do still fear this notion and how the future will look like by the time I am 60.