More than just welding cars, robots do some incredible things

It's a brave new world for robots, and the number of things they can do is increasing all the time.

Ask the general question, “What is a robot?,” and you’ll get many different answers. The image that fills one person’s head will likely be different from every other person’s. A science fiction buff might imagine a humanoid robot that talks and does house chores while an officer in the military might think of a drone keeping watch over a battlefield. A robotic vacuum cleaner or lawn mower could be the result for someone else, while an engineer might imagine one of the types of robots ABB sells—industrial, orange and welding a car.

While humanoid robots doing chores are still a ways from commercial reality, that last one—industrial robots—is what most robots on the planet actually are.

But what, exactly do industrial robots do? Welding cars is a relatively common robotic activity that many people are aware of (after all, the automotive industry has been using robots for more than 50 years). If people watch shows on TV about how things are made, they might know that robots also do things like pack food or stack pallets. But the reality is that outside this little bubble we call the robotics industry, very few people know all the cool things that industrial robots are doing these days.

From welding and cutting, to coating materials with vaporized metal, to packing pancakes faster than any human could think, to sorting tubes of hair products, industrial robots are showing up in virtually every industry now. They’ve even made it into popular culture with a use for entertainment. How does organizing luggage at a hotel sound, or dancing on stage? In North America, ABB Robotics has even helped to create a standardized entertainment industry robotics solution. Talk about new and innovative uses for robots—that one’s on the cutting edge of new ideas.

At ABB we’re even conceptualizing the future, and semi-humanoid robots are part of that (I’ve seen this little, secretive robot in person, and it’s pretty incredible):

Until that time, however, here are the top 10 uses for industrial robots:

What do you imagine robots of the future will be doing?

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About the author

Nicole Salas

I'm the Events Manager for ABB Robotics globally. I joined ABB in 2007, working for corporate communications in the United States before joining Robotics in 2013. I began my career as a journalist in Caracas, Venezuela and have worked for United Rentals Inc. as well as several international public and investor relations agencies. Outside of the office, you will find me racing sailboats.
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