Robot Shoe Factory a New Trend of the Future?

February 8, 2016
208 Views

Factories filled with computerized robots may still sound futuristic, but major companies are starting to incorporate them into their production processes. Below introduces how robots and related technologies are impacting industrial production trends.

Human-based trends

Factories filled with computerized robots may still sound futuristic, but major companies are starting to incorporate them into their production processes. Below introduces how robots and related technologies are impacting industrial production trends.

Human-based trends

The production processes still heavily relies on input and innovation from a variety of sources. For starters, advanced machine learning means that technologies will be able to master basic tasks with human oversight. Many new devices and technologies are embedded with information gathering sensors that become intuitive to users’ daily patterns. Many of these device meshes, such as wearables and mobile devices, are unconnected devices, but once they collectively share information, consumer convenience and marketing intelligence will increase. This is possible through data mining and big data, which are driving deeper understandings of consumers, markets and products. As a result, marketing companies have a much more intimate understand of consumer behaviors and preferences.

On the other hand, mobile technology is rapidly shifting how consumers and businesses communicate with each other, exchange information and drive product innovation. Clearly, even when robots become standard manufacturing features, humans will always be needed to translate new ideas and abstract concepts into marketable products. For the time being, companies will have to rely on corporate training companies and specialists to educate employees and improve manufacturing systems.

Robotic production technology

Factories filled with automated robots are indeed rare, but when coupled with 3D printing, they may quickly become a reality. Adidas already employs over one million employees, so automation and technology are ideal ways to reduce labor costs. Adidas is creating a so-called speedfactory that will be operated by robots with less than a dozen employees to oversee operations. Fast-paced production companies like Adidas must continually adapt to market changes with annual product innovations if they want to stay ahead of the competition.

In order to make the project a reality, Adidas will utilize 3D printing technology that allows for mass customization of footwear that will be manufactured according to specific requirements at no additional process cost. 3D printing is currently driving product innovation and digital design proliferation at levels of complexity that in the past would not have been possible. The industrial ability to materialize complex components in shorter manufacturing production cycle time frames means more revenue and cost savings. 3D printing allows for additive manufacturing, which means that the tools needed for production are reduced. As an added benefit, 3D printing is a very sustainable and energy-efficient technology.

Autonomous agents

The principles of artificial intelligence needed to control robots are also being applied to complex production processes. For instance, manufacturing systems often suffer from downtime caused by tool and machine breakdowns, malfunctions and wear-and-tear. This reduces productivity while increasing product costs. Conventional manufacturing systems often struggle to monitor and deal with these disturbances because of their inflexible structure. However, manufacturing systems that use multiple cognitive agents to control robots and machines will automatically adapt to interruptions through intelligent learning and preventative measures.

This means that the manufacturing system will autonomously take an action while also continuing operations in functioning areas. However, in order to successfully manage production interruptions, manufacturing systems must be equipped with separate cognitive agents that collaborate with decision making and self-controlling functions. When used in conjunction with robots, these systems are highly flexible and self-adapting. These systems will always need highly skilled IT professionals with strong mechanical backgrounds to program functions and debug problems. For most manufacturers, traditional production tools and techniques must suffice for now.

In the end, advanced robotics perform complex or difficult tasks so that workers can focus on strategic and operational functions and decision making.