Published On: January 2018
Industrialization is the backbone of development and this backbone is kept straight by automation. Be it aerospace & aviation industry, automotive industry or electronics industry, automation is everywhere and in every step throughout the process of manufacturing. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the automation of rule-based routine tasks using intelligent algorithms and software. The manufacturing process is not just identifying the raw materials, collecting them, applying cutting, precision tools and making the final shape of the product. Manufacturing involves various complex and diversified tasks, which are a combination of software, algorithms, hardware, and control. But these complex and diversified tasks help manufacturers maintain precision and consistency throughout the product manufacturing. With the constant reduction in the size of IC’s and processors used in smartphones, the size and design of smartphones are getting sleeker and compact, yet these smartphones are highly powerful and perform varied and complex operations like laptop.
Economies of scale
7 out of 10 smartphone manufacturers hail from Asia Pacific, especially from China. These manufacturers are building smartphones capable of performing operations that may require a lot of processing capabilities by electronic components like capacitors, resistors, microcontroller among many other. All of these components are packed up in space not wider than the thickness of a pencil. To achieve such high performance in a limited space, the manufacturing by human hand is not sufficient enough. For Asia Pacific, the robotic process automation technology packs up nearly 34% of the compounded annual growth rate, to achieve higher energy efficiencies in manufacturing processes. Robotic automation, as its name suggests include robots of different sizes and abilities, which are designed to facilitate cutting, pick and drop, filing and other complex operations. China, one of the global leaders in the space of smartphone manufacturing, is expected to invest more than any other nation in robotic process automation. The annual spending on the robotic process automation by Chinese manufacturers is expected to rise nearly upto USD 60 billion.
Robotic process automation includes specially designed robots like Cartesian, SCARA, 6-axis, dual arm, parallel and many combinations of small and big robot arms. The simplest form of robot, Cartesian is a three-axis robot, able to perform movement on the x, y, and z axis. These robots suit well for operations like cutting and designing. The design is one of the biggest factors that consumers consider while making a purchase. Earlier, the mobile phone had a keypad that provided the mobile phone manufacturers the ability to reshape and design the mobile phones in various different shapes and sizes. At present, this feature is limited, as all the touch screen must possess a rectangular shaped screen for them to perform efficiently and optimize the size of the screen. Many manufacturers like L.G, Apple, and Huawei are coming up with smartphones that feature a full-screen display with minimum bezels and curved screen.
Particular to the monotony of the performing job and the need for decision-making, this proves to be an ideal task for robotic process automation. The automation devices, when set up, can separate the incongruities and take the required action on their own. In place of having human workforce execute this manufacturing job, using a robotic process automation improves productivity by over 90 %, achieving the maximum accuracy. At present, many of the business enterprise processes that are outsourced, are getting a new make-over due to process automation. Vanguard Plastics, one of the manufacturers of the plastic components in the U.S., entered in the line of automation by introducing a new robot for manufacturing plastic components. The company experienced a positive shift in maintaining the exact same shape of the components, optimizing the assembly line and improving the efficiency.
Robot Workforce replacing Humans
Robotic process automation solutions influence technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to produce solutions that are able to understand the consumer behavior and simultaneously automate their job. Enterprises are using process automation as a means to manage costs and ensure maximum utilization of human resources. This shift raises a vital question– Why are enterprises willing to replace the human workforce with robots? The robotic process automation provides companies with advantages such as free of coding. Robotic processes do not require a user to code the robot at each step. The robots are fixed with sensors that follow certain algorithms to perform a specialized operation. Another major benefit of robotic process automation is the ease of operation. The automation process software fitted with the robots let themselves update their firmware and reduces the need for purchasing new software, patches, and security updates.
The Chinese contract electronic component manufacturer, Foxconn is peddling onto automation and cuts of nearly 60,000 jobs, replacing them with the robots. The company plans to replace the human workforce for many of the manufacturing tasks with robots for operations. Foxconn is the largest contract electronic component manufacturer that help the global giants like Samsung, Apple, Sony, and many more. The main motto of the companies to replace the human workforce with robots is to apply robotics engineering and innovations technologies to replace the repetitive tasks done by employees, improving the process control and quality control. The company still employs more than 1.2 million human workforces, but the fight to replace them with robotic arms is getting intense. However, this fight is backed up by the many different governments and economist from the human workforce side in terms of economic instability form loss of jobs.
The robots are the real terminators for humans but the fight for replacing human workforce with a complete line of robotic workforce is still a point of discussion from the economic, political and technological point of view.