Your Guide to Implement Robotic Technology

Many companies large and small understand the benefits of automation, but selecting the tools, putting them into practice, and then managing them well isn’t easy.

The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) helps companies get the most from robots, machine vision, and other forms of automation.

Setting the Stage

It’s always helpful to remember how processes have evolved to understand the present and get a picture of the future. Stationary robots were useful in the automotive and other heavy industries to create a product that had the same specifications. The same exact process was used many times over to create the same model car.

Automation has served mass production well and during the past several years has become a powerful tool in serving the need for mass customization. Manufacturers can achieve the low unit cost of mass production but with enough flexibility and personalization to satisfy specific customer demands.

The challenge is knowing how to use automation in meeting current and future business goals.

The Digital Factory

RIA is a guide to understanding the factory of the future where zero production errors and no downtime is more reality than theory. Learning how to use software and control technologies to connect equipment and get value from the Industrial Internet of Things is a move toward “smart” manufacturing.

A digital transformation in industry is “required” according to consulting firm McKinsey and Company. Most manufacturers are not responding to opportunities and challenges “in a comprehensive, coordinated way.”

The Collaborative Factory

More people are sharing their workload with robots and collaborative robots are becoming easier to use while keeping safe operation as a priority.

Robot maker Staubli says it’s ushering in a new era of man-robot collaboration with the TX2 line of collaborative robots. At Automate 2017, as noted on, Staubli Robotics simulated a realistic Smart Factory to demonstrate the TX2 models’ collaborative skills and Industry 4.0 capabilities.

An innovative safety feature is the use of sensors to make the robot aware of where the human operator is at all times.

Don’t take a go-it-alone approach to automation. Just like making a robot requires a cross-discipline team so does putting robots and other forms of automation into action. A3 has set high standards for programs like its Integrator Certification program and In-House Safety Training.

RIA began in 1974 and is the only trade group in North America organized specifically to serve the robotics industry. Membership is available in five general categories: supplier; system integrator; robotic automation user; consultants and affiliates; educator-researcher. RIA is now A3. 

Many resources are free, while memberships offer ways to promote products, network, and boost a company’s overall chances of success. They’re available through A3.