If automation was as simple as getting a loan, buying the system, and making more money, every business in the country would be automated. Unfortunately, there are some large roadblocks standing between small businesses and complete optimization of their production lines.
As proved in 2020, manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing organizations that adapt quickly to evolving conditions survive and thrive. Now, planning for Black Swan events has become a top consideration for global supply chain companies.
"Robotics-as-a-service" is a model in which customers purchase automation on an "as-needed" basis. This could be monthly pricing or usage-based pricing. Upfront costs are typically negligible or non-existent.
The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.