Staying ahead of the game with robotics and automation in plastics machining

Feb 25, 2022 | Engineering, News, Plastics Machining, Technology

Automating production is a must-have for any company looking to compete against the competition and remain ahead of the game.

Robotic engineering and advanced technologies like automation and cyclical programming have been an innovation in production and efficiency in manufacturing since the early 1960’s when pneumatic industrial robots first came on the market. At first they were developed for heavy processes, and for very mechanical tasks, but quickly evolved to smaller and more precise advanced controls with the advent of microprocessors, smaller gyros, and motors, and computerization. Today, robotics plays an increasingly important role in manufacturing due to its ability to work and perform complex tasks and programmed movements with extreme precision and speed, without the constant need for human observation and intervention. The future of the plastics machining industry relies heavily on these innovations in robotics and engineering and will provide superior machining solutions.

Robotic technology is acting as a force that drives innovation into plastic machining, design engineering, and manufacturing processes. This will enable us to produce more products faster with higher quality for an ever-growing consumer marketplace. But this does not mean that humans will soon be out of a job. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. There will be a blending of the two forms of automation: humans working with machinery and machinery working with itself, resulting in an industry that is better for both workers and manufacturers. The term cobot has been used to describe a new type of robot. “A cobot, or collaborative robot, is a robot intended for direct human robot interaction within a shared space, or where humans and robots are in close proximity. Cobot applications contrast with traditional industrial robot applications in which robots are isolated from human contact.”

With the robotics industry looking at a $163 billion opportunity by 2025, according to the Robotics Industry Association, it is no surprise that plastics machining companies are also adapting and improving manufacturing processes using phase shift technology and robotic automation. The future of cobots includes man and machine working together as partners to create a more efficient and productive manufacturing process. This is also greatly aided by the increase in popularity, and increase in capability of AI, artificial intelligence.

Plastics machining is becoming more advanced, using robotics in plastics machining to allow for safer and cleaner production through machine operation and manipulation. The advantages of including more advanced robotics to a plastics manufacturing operation will translate into an increase in product quality, processing efficiency, and an overall increase in productivity and lowering of costs. Environmentally it makes a great deal of sense too. Many companies in the industry desire to reduce waste, decrease excessive labor costs and improve plant safety while also reducing their environmental footprint. And economically, based on the research conducted at VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH (Technological Institute of German Engineers), automation investments make sense when it is expected that costs will decrease by 20% or more. Production increases exponentially when coupled with robotics, and the costs involved with labor, equipment and maintenance are drastically reduced.

Pioneers in advanced robotics in manufacturing have reaped the benefits by introducing robotic automation and robotics in plastics machining for faster production and more precision. New technologies are being introduced to promote a future of plastics machining as an engineering-based industry, with new robots coming to market every day – from robots, to cobots to a workforce that may one day look more like a scene from a film with friendly little droids working side by side with humans.

The Knowbots have arrived.

We are becoming more accustomed to working and living alongside of digital assistants with built in connectivity and artificial intelligence. Siri and Alexa are now in more homes than printed copies of Websters dictionary or the Bible; there are over 40 million Alexa users in the US alone, and Siri has more than 500 million users worldwide today, too. It’s clear that we have wholeheartedly adopted a new way of living with technology to aid in our day to day lives and for information access that is instantaneous and broad reaching.

While advances in AI have been phenomenal in the past 10 years, it’s still human experience and insight that will guide the future of robotics and manufacturing in the plastics machining industry. A great understanding of materials and engineering processes will prove to be more and more important as this industry evolves, and the importance of people with knowledge and innovative thinking will play out. In this fast advancing field, it will be more important than ever, that your plastics machining partner has many years of experience, knowhow and innovative thinking, to best employ the new opportunities that will become available in our industry.

Above all, it is the ability to work more intelligently in tandem with machines, AI, and advances in manufacturing concepts, that will define this industry in the future.

“The use of robots, cobots, and knowbots will be the future of plastics machining.”

In the past few decades, there has been a fast growing trend to mechanize plastics manufacturing with robotics on assembly lines and in-line applications through advanced technologies such CNC machines. The industry is ripe for growth with new innovations in advanced robotics and AI, needing to keep up with consumer demand for new technology that is both better quality and more cost effective. Incorporating robotics and automation into plastics machining will enable companies like JMJ Profile to produce more products faster with higher quality for an ever-growing consumer marketplace. More precise results, lower costs, better environmental practices, and improved safety are just a highlight of the benefits that will come in the near future as plastic manufacturing becomes even more advanced with the smart use of robotics. Our involvement will always be proactive, as we strive to make our company even better and more efficient, to produce the parts and products that our customers trust us to manufacture for them.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the advantages of robotics in plastics machining today, please let us know by calling us directly or contacting us, we are always happy to help!

JMJ Profile

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