How Are Robots Used in Car Manufacturing?

The automotive industry is one of the largest manufacturing industries in the US, employing nearly 9 million people, and with an annual revenue of $1.3 trillion. It’s natural for such a bustling industry to make use of robotics technology to achieve peak productivity and efficiency. 

Car manufacturing plants use robots for many purposes including painting, welding, assembly, and material handling. Robots are found in almost every part of a car plant, but they perform different functions depending on where in the plant they are located.

Some robots even work outside of car plants as well. Robots are used to perform tasks such as inspecting parts, moving materials, and spraying paint onto cars, which allows people to complete more specialized tasks. 

By 2025, it’s estimated by experts that as much as 75% of vehicles will ride on robot production lines. 

Below, we’ll talk about some of the primary uses for robots in car manufacturing. 

Robots for Welding

When it comes to building cars, there is a lot of welding happening. In the past, welding  was primarily performed by people. Today, welding duties are being given more and more to robots. 

Furthermore, there are multiple kinds of robots performing the welding across the manufacturing floor. Large industrial robots use giant arms for spot welding on heavier body panels and larger parts. Meanwhile, smaller collaborative robots (cobots) are tasked with welding smaller parts like mounts and brackets. 

There are a few advantages to using robots for welding rather than workers. Robots can be incredibly precise and repeat the same movements for each component they’re given on the assembly line. They don’t get tired or distracted. 

It’s also beneficial for safety reasons. Welding can be a dangerous task that involves sudden bursts of extreme heat and exposure to unsafe conditions. By delegating such tasks to robots, workers are kept out of harm’s way. 

Painting, Coating, and Sealing

Painting cars isn’t an easy job, especially when it’s something that needs to be done over and over again in a uniform fashion as cars are brought from the production lines. 

While there are still a lot of workers filling the painting roles in car manufacturing, robots are increasingly stepping in to help out. 

Robotic arms are able to apply consistent and even coats of paint without error while not experiencing any risk of exposure to toxic substances. They can also be used for spraying sealants and primers as well. 

Because these robots are following meticulously programmed paths, they waste less material and increase efficiency.

Internal Logistics

Robots are often used to transport materials to where they need to be during the manufacturing process. They’re able to lift and move heavy loads over and over again and keep the assembly line moving. 

On top of that, they can also be used to transport materials to and from loading docks and even load materials onto trucks for transportation. 

Again, efficiency and safety play a key part in the usefulness of logistics robots. Working with heavy loads can always be dangerous for workers, and robots are able to move those materials without risk of injury over and over again as needed. 

General Advantages of Robotics 

Beyond the specific tasks we mentioned above, robots have a variety of advantages that make them a powerful asset for car manufacturing. 

Robotic “vision” allows the machines to do more precise work using a laser and camera array that provides instant feedback. That contributes to both the increased quality and efficiency of work on the assembly line. 

Robots are also capable of working nonstop without tiring or losing focus, and industrial robots are often left working on a 24/7 basis. Not only that, but they can perform repetitive tasks with incredible precision on a near endless basis while making few or no errors. 

So, after listing out all of these benefits that robots bring to car manufacturing, it seems natural that they’ll one day replace workers entirely, right?

Actually, it’s the exact opposite. 

Robots Can’t Make Cars Alone

For all of their procedural and efficiency-related advantages, robots can’t operate without the support of workers. 

Every robot on the floor needs to be controlled and programmed. They need to be maintained regularly and fixed when there’s a problem. They have to be designed and installed and improved. And when the manufacturing line is reconfigured for a new product, they need to be reprogrammed. 

As robots take over repetitive and dangerous tasks in the car manufacturing industry, the need for trained robotics workers continues to grow. 

That’s where we come in. RoboticsCareer.org was built to connect people like you with the training and education needed to help you become part of one of America’s largest industries. You’ll enjoy a challenging and rewarding career alongside the cutting edge of robotics technology as you help manufacture the cars of tomorrow. 

All you need to do to begin your journey is navigate to the search tool at the top of the RoboticsCareer.org homepage and find a program that’s convenient for you. 

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