There are many little jobs in car factories that are just too tedious for people. For example, attaching lettering to new cars. People have to use jigs and special frames and equipment to make sure that these badges are glued straight, in a proper location and with proper pressure to ensure good adhesion. Now in SEAT Martorell factory two robots will take this task and they will work with no safety barriers.
People always wonder, when robots will take our jobs. We can assure you that it’s not going to happen any time soon. Although car factories are filled with hundreds or even thousands of robots, the number of employees generally is not going down. Robots are taking jobs that require precision, speed or power. For example, in order to glue that lettering onto cars, finished bodies had to stop moving. These new “cobots” do that while the bodies are moving along the assembly line.
SEAT installed two of these robots to attach badges on Ibiza and Arona. One of them attaches the model name and the second one makes sure that FR logo is glued on, when it is needed. They use artificial vision to accurately place the correct letters in a correct place. It is fascinating technology, because these robots don’t make mistakes – each badge is attached straight and where it is supposed to be. And that job isn’t easy.
Robot has to pick up a badge, remove plastic film from the sticky side, place the badge on the car’s body, apply accurate pressure and then remove the top protective plastic film. After that robots have to dispose plastic waste in a recycling bin. All this action happens while the car is moving along the assembly line. This significantly cuts the time needed to attach these badges and the job is done better, with more consistency. Part of this efficiency lies in the decision not to use any barriers between robots and people.
There are around 20 collaborative robots in the assembly SEAT Martorell factory. These robots are specifically designed to support the work done on the line, especially in ergonomically challenging workstations. These robots make the job easier, but do not replace people. And you shouldn’t be worried about safety either – they stop immediately if there is something in the way of their movement.
Dr. Rainer Fessel, Martorell factory Director, said: “at SEAT we are steadily making headway to place ourselves at the forefront of innovation. Collaborative robots enable us to be more flexible, more agile and more efficient, and are another example of our firm commitment to remaining a benchmark of Industry 4.0”.