With advancements in technology, growing health and safety concerns, and rising consumer demand, the use of robots in an industrial setting continues to grow.
Automations that were considered impossible as recently as a decade ago are now commonplace, with the capabilities of robots increasing year over year.
Robots in the workplace vary from robots designed to completely automate a process to others solely meant to make work easier. Robotics and automation are being used to complete repetitive tasks and keep humans out of dangerous environments while saving costs and time.
Here are five industries that are seeing impressive benefits from advancements in robotic technology.
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One industry seeing many strides and advancements from robots is the healthcare industry.
Advances in robotics can change a wide variety of health care practices, such as surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, patient companionship, and everyday activities. For example, robots are utilized for minor, minimally invasive tasks that are difficult for humans to do. Robots can successfully perform small-scale incisions.
The most prominent use of robots in healthcare is to automate routine tasks that allow doctors and nurses to focus on more important responsibilities. One example of robots being leveraged in the healthcare industry is a robot that brings supplies to patient rooms and refills highly used products. Eliminating these smaller but necessary tasks from healthcare workers’ plates gives them more time and availability to care for patients.
Other robots are also used by outpatient specialists that help facilitate telehealth appointments and give patients a more personalized experience. The demand for this type of telemedicine has increased during COVID-19.
Robotics is being used in manufacturing to help increase productivity and efficiency while lowering production costs and decreasing the prevalence of workplace injuries.
Similar to the healthcare industry, many robots in manufacturing collaborate with workers to perform repetitive, monotonous, or intricate tasks under the worker’s guidance and control. In many cases, automation is helping workers, not eliminating them from processes completely.
Robots have also helped manufacturers keep pace with increasing volumes of consumer demand. An example of this was the higher demand for pharmaceuticals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Robots aided medicine and the mass production of vaccines. Robots can manufacture products faster, at a lower cost, and with fewer errors than humans.
Robots are making manufacturing environments safer with cameras, sensors, and automatic shut-off capabilities. These additions to labor-intensive environments enable robots to sense danger and warn humans to stay clear of the risk.
Defense & Public Safety
The most widely used robots in the Defense and Public Safety sector are different crew-less vehicles to keep humans out of harm’s way.
Bomb-defusal teams use robots to assess situations and dispose of explosives while the military is using drones for reconnaissance, battlefield support, and sentry duty.
On a smaller scale, robots are used to perform security officer tasks like checking parking permits and patrolling parking garages.
The public safety industry has also benefited from drones. Drones enable first responders to provide real-time analysis and monitor potentially dangerous situations.
Drones were deemed so effective for the military that many businesses including Amazon started using them for commercial purposes.
For years, industrial maintenance tasks have included dangerous jobs that require human crews to either enter confined spaces or expose themselves to harmful and toxic chemicals. Robots are now helping reduce unsafe working conditions for employees.
A few industrial businesses leveraging robots in their maintenance tasks are oil and gas, pulp and paper, water treatment facilities, and chemical plants.
Some robots work automatically to maintain facilities over time. Other robots have human operators and are used for deep cleaning or specific maintenance tasks.
For example, Ecorobotics use remote-controlled robots to eliminate the need for confined-space entry in the cleaning of industrial storage tanks.
Traditionally, humans crawled into these chemical tanks to clean them. When they enter, they’re at risk of interactions with harmful chemicals, toxic gases, and combustion. Now, human crews can stand at a distance and allow robotic tank cleaners to do the job effectively, methodically, and safely.
A Better Way To Do Things
Robots are helping various industries in many ways, from speeding up production to making people’s jobs safer and easier.
Advancements in technology are happening so fast that we should expect to see robots become even more common in the workplace.
Robots enable us to complete tasks that aren’t possible or are very difficult for human crews, solve complex problems, cut costs, and increase efficiency.