The robotics industry is not slowing down. Last year the robotics industry shipped more robots to North America than ever before. And companies today are figuring out that they can utilize machine vision and robotics in many new applications.
At IMTS 2018, like at any industrial trade show, the predominant theme was Industry 4.0. Although Industry 4.0 still has not scaled up to cover a significant percentage of manufacturing setups, its vision of near-total automation—and the promise of resulting cost savings—has clearly captured the industry’s imagination.
Innovations in the electronics and semiconductor industries have birthed two relentless trends. Both profoundly impact both product designers and those charged with assuring that what was designed is what was manufactured. The trends are: higher densities for components, boards and processors, and the need for very high precision in the metal plating that enables functionality.
In the early 17th century, Galileo Galilei discovered that he could focus his telescope to examine small objects up close. Around 1620, it is believed that Cornelius Drebbel invented the compound microscope. In the 1670s, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek began experimenting with very high-magnification, single-lensed microscopes that he designed himself.
The explosive growth of robots shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially in manufacturing. We are not quite to the level of a ‘90s action movie, but robots are certainly popping up in a lot more places these days. What may come as a surprise is the many ways companies are now using these robots, especially when it comes to metrology.
Shops of all sizes and types are feeling pressure from customers to improve consistency and quality of the machining process. As tolerances are being tightened in high-volume manufacturing settings, such as a manufacturing cell or transfer line, simply delivering parts that satisfy documentation and regulatory requirements is no longer the gold standard.
Omron Automation Americas announced the release of a brand-new FHV7-series smart camera featuring the world’s first multi-color light alongside a range of best-in-class image sensors (0.4MP to 5MP, with 12MP coming in the near future). This unique technology is designed to achieve the industry’s highest standards of precision in vision inspections on high-mix production lines.
With today’s demands for safe and reliable consumer products, it’s a sure bet that words like efficiency, throughput, repeatability, and safety are often being tossed around in quality assurance departments.