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What type of robots do they use in the automotive industry?

Written by

Neil Martin

Neil Martin

The automotive industry is a prolific user of robots and has been at the vanguard of introducing automation strategies.

But, what type of robots do they use? The top uses for robots when building cars are welding, assembling, machine tending, inspection, pick & place, painting, sanding, grinding, testing and lifting. And throughout the wider automotive industry infrastructure, robots are used for moving materials, internal logistics and testing.

Many of us are familiar with seeing huge robots welding car bodies as they work their way down the production line, but robots are used extensively throughout the process, and are also used to assembly various ancillary components such as pumps. They also mount wheels onto the axles and install windscreens. 

So, the type of robots in use are varied and extensive, across all the major categories.

For example, both heavy and light industrial, articulated robots are employed. The heavy brigade will handle welding and painting for example, whereas the lighter brigade will be helping out with the smaller assembly jobs. SCARA and Delta robots will also be put to use in the various departments.

As a car production line is staffed with humans, collaborative robots (cobots) are making their way into the process. They can work safely alongside humans, without cages and without injuring anyone around them. 

And although Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) will also be in action, ferrying goods around the factory, they are increasingly being replaced by autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). AMRs have the advantage of being able to find their own way around a factory, rather than relying on pre-laid tracks. 

Interestingly, humans on the production floor are using exoskeletons in order to cope with heavier loads and awkward physical movements.

And as the automotive industry has to cope with the usual manufacturing woes of a shortage of skilled labour and the need to remain flexible, more robots will be used over the coming years.