The Satisfying Machines Involved in Building Cars
To list all the machines employed in an automobile factory would be an exercise in futility. But here’s some of what you might find in a typical factory (via Robotic Activity Review).
Assembly machines install parts and tighten fasteners. Some of the newer machines include tire fitters that can precisely position tires on the car and tighten all lug nuts simultaneously.
Spot and arc welders assemble complete bodies of modern cars. They often have dozens of arms that tack weld several points on the body at once. These machines appear to be a team of robots descending on loose body panels that emerge from the machine like a complete car.
Painting, coating and sealing robots keep humans away from some of the most dangerous environments filled with harmful chemicals and gases. They also let cars with perfectly smooth finishes shine when they leave the factory.
Part transfer and machine maintenance robots retrieve finished parts from presses and CNC machines to transfer them to another part of the assembly process. These are particularly useful in areas of the smelter, where molten metals reach thousands of degrees and pose significant hazards to humans.
Material removal robots help turn raw panels and trim into finished parts. For items, for example, that come off a press and require clean edges, laser-guided precision robots can cut straight, clean edges, preparing a part for final assembly.
Logistics robots are used to move parts and raw materials into place for installation. These mechanized robotic systems can track inventory and ensure stations around the plant are properly stocked and well-stocked for smooth, continuous operation.
When all of these systems are running at full capacity and error-free, automotive plants can operate continuously for weeks with ever-increasing efficiency. They not only make it possible to build more cars in less time, but they also do so while keeping the threat of injury to workers lower than ever.