Changes in factory automation as needs change

Launched during Australia’s National Manufacturing Week, a CSIRO whitepaper discusses the usefulness of assistive manufacturing robot technologies.

The paper outlines how current tools available to manufacturers are built for high volume mass-manufacturing, but that new economic drivers require manufacturers to focus more on low-volume, highly customised and high value-add products.

Known as Lightweight Assistive Manufacturing Solutions, these new systems are designed to enhance the workers skills, actions and tasks, not to replace them. They include virtual reality headsets, smart robots which can be taught to multi-task and tele-supervised robots which can be controlled over the internet.

These change in manufacturing technologies point to the changing needs of the market and the dynamic nature of the manufacturing industry.

A virtual headset called ReMote is one system being trialled by industry. Using a head-mounted camera the wearer (worker) is able to beam what they can see to anyone (expert/helper) in a remote location. The helper is then able to project their hand gestures onto whatever the worker is looking at and virtually show them how to fix an issue or conduct a repair.

Systems like ReMote have been designed with safety in mind and allow workers to operate in hazardous environments and safely execute complex tasks.

“Our focus has been on creating systems which can help people and businesses work safer and smarter. Our consultation with industry has shown that safety, flexibility and affordability are the three drivers for Australian industry,” says Dr Kambouris.

Read more at Nanowerk News.

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