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Vikas Sawhney

General Manager - Engineering

Bajaj Auto

ROBOTICS & HANDLING Increasing use of robots helps to upskill manpower

May 6, 2019

Future robots should be able to “learn” from smooth operations and generate alerts in case any of the operating parameters cross the standard learnt values. Other future readiness requirements in robot technology are connectivity with data logging servers and cordless teach pendants. - Vikas Sawhney, General Manager - Engineering, Bajaj Auto

If you look at the use of robots today, what would the market penetration look like in India and globally?

The average robot density in the world is around 85 per 10,000 employees. Taking regions into consideration, the penetration is 106 for Europe, 91 for America & 75 for Asia. In India, the robot density is close to 3 per 10,000 employees, but it is about 85 in the Indian automotive industry.

What is the greatest challenge facing the global robotics industry today?

The cost of robotic automation might be viable in developed countries with high cost of manpower. However, in countries like India, robotic automation is not preferred due to ample availability of low-cost manpower and the requirement of skilled manpower to operate them. Also, the time required for setting up robotic automation catering to the safety aspects results into higher lead times.

What do you think about robot malfunctions in a factory? How frequent are the incidences and what are the possible reasons?

Robotic malfunctions in the industry are largely due to the lack of training and technical knowhow. Power quality & failure are other major contributors to malfunctions.

Can a robot self-diagnose a malfunction and avoid causing any damage? What role can the human play here?

Collaborative robots have features, such as, stopped stage monitoring, speed and separation monitoring, hand guiding & force limiting. Text alarm messages on the teach pendant screens, along with troubleshooting steps, can help with the ease of restoration. The role of robot programmer is to anticipate the probable mishandling by the operator and then set program speeds, limits and paths to avoid damages.

The robotics industry has undergone a huge change in terms of technology and applications. Can you highlight the latest trends?

Future robots should be able to “learn” from smooth operations and generate alerts in case any of the operating parametres cross the standard learnt values. Other future readiness requirements in robot technology are connectivity with data logging servers, open protocols (OPC UA), standard architecture and cordless teach pendants.

What are some misconceptions of a robot and its use in the factory?

The use of robots leads to job loss is a major misconception in the industry. Dull, dirty & dangerous work should be done by robots. The spared manpower can be utilised for safer, value-adding operations.

Do you think the increasing use of robots will affect human jobs? If all the repetitive tasks become automated, what happens to the low-end jobs?

The increasing use of robots helps to upskill the existing manpower, helping them to lead a better life and in turn, boost their morale.

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