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54 SMT Magazine • September 2014 feATure ShorT Those who have worked in the world of manufacturing for years consider robots to be a commodity. These people have witnessed many different robots executing the most diverse op- erations. Robots move quickly in production depart- ments of various sizes and within various appli- cations, sometimes in large spaces, sometimes in very narrow areas. Yet the diffusion of ro- bots is not at all similar to that of a commod- ity good, even though robots share many of the same characteristics. So why not robotize your departments for good? The answer could be quite simple. Perhaps, despite their efforts, robotics developers have not made their case clearly enough. It's time, then, to do justice to this futuristic technology. Why should you consider robotizing factory departments? Let's start with the hard variables. It may seem counterintuitive, but robots cost less than other technologies used for the same tasks, such as cutting, welding, and palletizing. Robots cost less when compared to the cost of specialists or other personnel who perform tough work in hostile environments, such as machine tending, foundry operations, etc. And robots use less in terms of energy consumption: Robots can work in the dark, for example, and do not need heating. by Comau robotics Robotics in Manufacturing: A Primer figure 1: The Comau Smart Pal is used for palletizing and logistics operations.

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