TODD Dolling, managing director of Specialist Machinery Sales, says the Australian manufacturing industry may be saved by robots.
According to Dolling, the last thirty years has seen the progressive unravelling of Australian manufacturing, as the ongoing onslaught from Asian manufacturing and low wages has eroded local competitiveness.
Robotics may be the key, with manufacturers like Zeman providing machines which utilise robots from ABB to speed up repetitive processes in the metal working industry.
Fabrication of structural steel requires welding of cleats and significant amounts of skilled labour and lengthy production times. Specialist Machinery Sales (SMS) is the agent for Zeman who manufacture a structural steel cleat beam assembler using robots from ABB to weld and assemble the cleats onto the beam.
One robot can significantly expand tonnage through put and consistent quality assurance without becoming fatigued. Robotic beam construction lines can be created with significant ROI and longevity and generate accuracy, speed of operation and reliability.
Dolling says skilled workers can now produce both high value and mass market products with ABB’s robots taking over the simple, repetitive and sometimes dangerous tasks, potentially helping win back market share from international competitors.
Additionally, easier programming and simpler diagnostics are making robots more user friendly. Beyond their current trend toward ease-of-use, a new breed of intelligent robots with a combination of vision systems, sensors and sophisticated control algorithms can now perform functions that were previously impossible.
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