The Future of Automated 3D Scanning: How Cobot Technology Is Revolutionizing the Industry
As cobot technology continues to advance and become more widespread, it has opened new opportunities in the 3D scanning industry.
By understanding the potential of cobot technology, especially when integrated with automated 3D scanning software, professionals across many industries can leverage its advancements to reduce costs, improve product quality, and reduce lead time.
CURRENT STATE OF THE 3D SCANNING INDUSTRY
The 3D scanning industry has seen considerable adoption from various commercial applications. In the manufacturing industries, whether automotive, aerospace, medical, or general manufacturing, there have been two primary ways of implementing 3D scanning. The first is manual scanning. This can achieve beneficial results in measuring a low volume of parts with complex shapes and can be a great entry point for many manufacturers. However for many factories, manual scanning doesn’t keep up with their production rate. In these cases, the second method of implementing 3D scanning, automated industrial robotic systems, provide more benefits. Automated robotic systems can be installed in-line and can automatically scan every part that comes down the line. This allows manufacturers to increase their inspection rates, trace the data for each part, and make informed decisions quicker. But industrial robots also have challenges that are daunting for some manufacturers, especially manufacturers who are moving into automation for the first time–they require safety systems and procedures, they may require you to rearrange your factory floor to accommodate a large robot cell, and they may require training to be able to operate them safely.
For these reasons, collaborative robots (or cobots) can be a great solution for adopting automated 3D scanning quickly in order to get the benefits of a fully automated in-line inspection system with less time, hassle, and cost.
USING COBOTS & 3D SCANNING TECHNOLOGY
Cobots and 3D scanning technologies are increasingly being adopted in industrial settings to automate duties previously carried out manually by humans because they are cost effective, require less integration, and can be deployed quickly. By combining these two pieces of technology, it’s now possible for businesses to create automated quality assurance (QA) processes that require minimal human interference without a lengthy design cycle.
Collaborative robots like the FANUC CRX are simpler to deploy than traditional industrial robots for a few reasons. First, they are designed to work safely next to humans and do not require guarding. This means that in many cases they can be dropped into your existing setup, even working side by side with your other operators, without redesigning your factory floor to accommodate a large robot cell. Secondly, cobots have fewer installation needs than other robots. They often use a standard 120V outlet and many can be mounted on a cart or table instead of needing a special fixture lagged to the floor. Finally, cobots are easier to teach and re-program and operators who are not trained on traditional robot programming can quickly learn to reteach the robot programs of a cobot using a familiar tablet interface. This makes 3D scanning cobots useful even in high-mix, low-volume applications .
Automating 3D scanning using collaborative robots opens up new possibilities for companies, allowing them to reduce costs while improving quality, efficiency, and safety standards without compromising accuracy. It also reduces reliance on manual labor, freeing up employees for higher-level tasks within previously labor-intensive industries.
INDUSTRY 4.0 & 5.0
Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0 represent the fourth and fifth industrial revolutions.
Industry 4.0, also known as the Smart Factory, is characterized by the digital transformation of the manufacturing sector through automation, interconnectivity, and data analytics technologies.
Industry 5.0 marks the start of the age of intelligent automation, which is expected to bring further advances in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). This will enable decision-making processes incorporating massive amounts of data and machine learning algorithms to predict potential outcomes.
The primary differentiating point of Industry 5.0 is that it goes beyond automation and looks to integrate AI-driven decision-making fully at every step of the process while leveraging digital manufacturing platforms such as distributed computing and cloud storage.
THE FUTURE OF 3D SCANNING
The future of 3D scanning is both exciting and wide-reaching. As technology advances, so does the accuracy, design, costs, and quality control of 3D scanning. 3D scanners and especially automated 3D scanning using collaborative robots enables the quick and accurate capturing of a physical object’s measurements and qualities. The next logical step to move your factory toward Industry 4.0 is to combine your measurement processes with your manufacturing processes. By linking the data generated by the scanner to your actual manufacturing process, businesses can quickly identify flaws and discrepancies in their incoming materials or their manufactured products with unprecedented precision and then make direct on-site tweaks or corrections with no need for manual labor. This ‘closed-loop’ system has numerous applications, from inspecting raw materials before manufacture to inspecting finished products before they leave the production line.
At MAS, we encourage our clients to think of 3D measurement not only as a QC tool, but as a manufacturing tool. One example of this idea is our Scan-to-Path™ software which can allow a cobot to measure a part and then adaptively perform work (such as sanding, deburring, assembly, etc.) using the 3D scan data to alter the way that the robot performs the next operation.
LEARN MORE ABOUT COBOT 3D SCANNING FROM MAS
When paired with cobots, automated 3D scanning can help manufacturers improve inspection speed and accuracy while reducing product defects and material waste. And due to the unique benefits of cobots, you can achieve these benefits easier and quicker than ever.
At MAS, our mission is to help manufacturers find the solutions they need to overcome production obstacles and challenges. We offer a wide selection of 3D laser scanning systems that can be used for quality control, adaptive manufacturing, and digital archiving. If you’re interested in learning more about our 3D laser scanning systems or have general questions about cobot 3D scanning, please contact us today to schedule a discovery meeting.