Robots look for opportunities too

09/24/2010


Dear Control Engineering: After looking at the article on Recycling Robots, it seems the company thinks about those machines like people.

Well, yes. In this particular case, Navistar found itself having to close a plant and relocate manufacturing to keep up with changes in demand. The robots had to pick up and move to where the work is just like people may have to do when circumstances change. Without getting too anthropomorphic, as the article points out, the robots were able to be reused because they had the required versatility that allowed them to be repurposed. Some of the hard automation machinery from those manufacturing lines probably ended up scrapped because it was too difficult to change to a new configuration. The same applies to people. Some are easy to retrain with multiple skills and others aren’t. The author made the point that when shopping for a robot, users should try to look ahead and consider other potential applications for a given unit before choosing something that is too dedicated to a very specific purpose.

If you want to see something really anthropomorphic, check out this video from IMTS of a two-armed robot. If you watch the “dealer” closely in the background, once people stop playing, it starts looking pretty bored waiting for the next round of blackjack. Maybe dealing cards isn’t one of the potential applications you consider as you think about robotic applications, but the discussion in the interview makes some thought provoking points.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com



The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me