Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
By definition simplification is about making things less complex or complicated.
An emerging trend in robotic automation today is the demand on the part of manufacturers for simplification. This necessity is due in large part to the increasing importance of advanced digital technologies, ever changing and dynamic markets, and shifts in both labor and demographics. When combined these factors actually make automation more complex. Robots offer greater flexibility to help manufacturers manage this increasing production complexity while meeting more demanding consumer needs. At the same time robots themselves are becoming more intuitive to program and operate and less expensive to integrate. This will help to lower the barriers to entry for a significant number of new robot users, particularly small and medium size enterprises.
For more than 40 years, ABB Robotics has focused on replacing complex and complicated automated manufacturing processes with flexible and agile systems. RobotStudio®, a PC-based programming, configuration and virtual robot commissioning solution, is only one example of how ABB Robotics, has and continues to, simplify robotic automation. In April 2015, we introduced YuMi®, the world’s first truly collaborative robot. With YuMi’s Lead-Through Programming, the complexity of traditional robot programming is a thing of the past. Demonstration and imitation are ancient and powerful teaching tools – this new approach to robot programming seeks to extend this to the world of human-machine instruction. By making what was once complex easy, ABB is able to introduce a new generation of users to robotic automation.
Simplicity encompasses far more than robot programming to include machine-tending and foundry operations, for example. Robots can increase the productivity of machine tools, while providing more flexibility and better quality. By introducing robots into foundries, employees can be moved from dull, dirty, delicate and dangerous tasks, into more stimulating roles with far more potential for satisfaction and advancement. Well planned automation, therefore, provides a significant benefit to organizations and their employees, with humans and automation working together to achieve better results than either could alone.
No matter how you define simplification, though, – personally I like how American author and politician, Clare Boothe Luce, put it, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – it is redefining robotic automation and reshaping manufacturing.