For a long time, business owners assumed that only the conglomerates needed to use industrial robots. The advent of collaborative robots may have ushered in a new era for SMEs. However, industrial robots were still pretty much a big company affair.
It is true that industries involved in the manufacture of motor vehicles, consumables and electronics cannot do without industrial robots. In recent times, small businesses have joined the bandwagon. A growing number of them are investing in robots.
Specific Challenges and Demands
Small businesses have challenges that are peculiar to them with regard to investing in robots. One such challenge is what to do with them. They consider issues such as developing a robotic expert who can competently handle the robotic system.
With technological advancement, robots are becoming smaller and cheaper. Moreover, one can buy a reconditioned robot. There is also the small industrial robot that can be used for a range of applications.
The small manufacturer may not have extensive experience with robots. However, they may have the same reasons as bigger plants for purchasing robots.
A Robot Comes with Tremendous Benefits
A robot does not have to be big to run effectively. There are a lot of applications that one small bot can undertake. The benefits of using robots even in a small manufacturing plant are far-reaching.
For starters, they help in increasing production. Robots are able to work relentlessly as they do not have human limitations. They will not get tired or ask for vacation time and they can increase the volume of products.
Secondly, they reduce error. Bots are programmed to work precisely and will produce items that are uniform and free of error. As a result, the quality of your product is improved. This means there will be fewer to no recalls which results in higher profit margins.
Furthermore, offline programming allows you to keep your bot running while you prepare for new tasks.
Some of the challenges that small businesses face with regard to robots can be addressed. Small business owners should be knowledgeable about what other applications their robots can be used for. Robots are versatile and can be used for a variety of applications to meet your business requirements.
There is also a need to be realistic about what robots are capable of.
Fact: Robots are reliable and can perform repetitive tasks without error. However, that is not to say that you have found an instant solution to quality concerns. One must consider issues such as stack-up tolerance.
Small companies benefit greatly from robots that can be programmed quickly. The same robots should be flexible enough to switch over to other product lines.
Reasons for Investing in Robotics
As detailed earlier, there are various reasons why businesses invest in robotics. Some of these reasons include producing better quality products and meeting specific business objectives. Additional reasons include the following:
- Taking over tasks humans may find boring or dangerous
- Reducing work-related injuries; hence reducing compensation relating to the same
- As a solution to lack of skilled labour
- Making a great ROI
- Increasing the volume of products produced
- Improving the quality of products
- Reducing labour
- Reducing manufacturing costs
These reasons are not peculiar to small businesses alone. Large businesses also invest in robotics for similar reasons. In addition, robots have proved to be effective in applications such as; palletizing, assembling, machine tending, welding and material handling.
In the coming years, robotic units purchased by small businesses are set to increase. In fact, robotic experts expect more industries to invest in robots. Medical, food packaging and other industries are increasingly investing in robots and reaping the benefits.
In fact, it is safe to say that robotics is becoming a trend in the business world, especially in small businesses. They are useful where there is high volume production and quality is a pertinent issue. In order to fit in the competitive business market, automation is a necessity.