Automation important for manufacturers to remain competitive

Robotic Automation is the Australian distributor for Yaskawa's Motoman range of robots.

For Australian manufacturers to remain competitive, the key message from industry bodies is to work smarter, not harder. In research conducted by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) it was found that the manufacturers in Australia who are globally competitive are those who make smarter use of technology.

In its report Advanced manufacturing: A new definition for a new era, the growth centre for the manufacturing industry highlighted that those successful firms adopt automation technology 1.3 times more than less successful companies.

Making this investment in advanced automation technology can assist Australian manufacturers overcoming challenges such as low tariffs and low-cost competitors overseas, as the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) identified in its 2018-2019 Annual Highlights report. But often this is easier said than done. In Australia, local manufacturers need a trusted partner who can be relied upon to deliver a cost-effective and reliable solution.

Robotic Automation is located in Sydney and Melbourne and can provide knowledge, expertise, and support to manufacturers looking to automate their operations. The company is the local distributor of Yaskawa’s Motoman range of robots. Robotic Automation has a range of arc welding robots that can assist with welding applications, and Ricardo Panizo, manager – robot sales is the local expert who can assist Australian industry.

The company supplies a wide range of manufacturers with advanced solutions.

“We have a robot that has very high accuracy and that leads to repeatability and consistency,” said Panizo. “Especially with car manufacturers and airplane manufacturing, you want something that is consistent, something that is always the same result. There’s nothing wrong with manual welding, except it can be fatiguing and it can be very hard on humans, especially with the type of heat and the fumes expelled through the process of welding.”

While these are often the reasons why companies adopt an automated welding process, Panizo has found that other benefits emerge once the robot is in place.

“Quality, consistency, and occupational health and safety mindsets will kick off a process to replace a manual welding with an automated welding process. Then cycle times may also improve. If a welding process will take 30 minutes the first time and the second time it’s five, it is recommended to automate that process.”

In Australia, Robotic Automation has supplied automotive parts manufacturers, as well as the local branch of international aerospace manufacturers. In these cases, Panizo has seen manufacturers adopt exactly what the AMGC was predicting – that employees work smarter, not harder.

For arc welding applications, Robotic Welding offers the Motoman VA and MA series.

“Most people will have the perception that a robotic welder will just replace welding personnel, but we try to change that concept,” he said. “We try to challenge customers to come up with better designs. We find that a lot of customers will come on board when they realise the different kinds of techniques we can use.”

Being a local supplier of a major international robot manufacturer, Robotic Automation is able to provide Australian manufacturers with a fully integrated solution.

“We can provide a complete solution from a concept to a turnkey solution. In our case, we handle it from the concept to when it’s decommissioned. We do the training, the servicing, and the support, we’ve got the ongoing consultation with the customer.”

For arc welding applications, Robotic Welding offers the Motoman VA and MA series, including the world’s first seven-axis robot and models with payloads of up to 15kg. In addition, Robotic Automation provide and support a production suite which enables manufacturers to flexibly program the robot to their particular specifications.

“Motoman is one of the pioneers in developing a production suite that allows you to –without interrupting the system that is already running and performing – create new programs, modify programs, implement new solutions without disturbing the process, using an offline software,” said Panizo.

Since the 80s, Robotic Automation has been working hand-in-hand with Australian manufacturers to enable them to be ahead in their field and knows that Australian manufacturing has the potential to continue to grow.