Theme for 2018 RoboPlay Competition: Manufacturing and Automation
What is Manufacturing?
Manufacturing means making large quantities of products with machines. Most things around you were manufactured. Here are some everyday items you use that are manufactured:
- Cell phones
- School Supplies
What is Automation?
Automation means making a task work repeatedly without human instruction and operation.
Manufacturing companies try to automate manufacturing so their machines can make a product over and over without a human having to tell the machine what to do each time. If my machine places batteries in cell phones, I don’t want to have to tell the machine what to do every few seconds. Instead, I would write a program so the machine repeats its movements for each cell phone.
Automation is not only used in manufacturing. Many other companies and laboratories run diagnostic tests that would be boring and inefficient for humans to operate, so instead they write code to automate complicated tests.
Here are some advantages of automation:
- Reliability: Do you write your name the same way each time? If you wrote code for a robot to write your name, it would be the same each time. With manufacturing, it can be very important for each product to look the same. What if your USB port was a different size from everyone else’s?
- Repeatability: Would you want to write your name 1000 times? If you wrote code for a robot to write your name 1000 times, you would only have to write the code for 1 time and then write a loop for it to repeat 1000 times.
- Efficiency: If you had to write your name 1000 times in a row, your hand would get tired very quickly and you would slow down. A robot wouldn’t need breaks and wouldn’t slow down over time!
- Cost: If I paid you $20 an hour to write your name over and over nonstop, I’d be giving you $40,000 a year. If I built a robot that did that, it would only cost me $5,000, and then I could instead pay you to do something a lot less boring. It would be cheaper for me, and you would get to do something that uses your skills (and make more money doing so!).
Real-World Manufacturing and Automation Examples
Sponsors! To showcase a short video clip of your manufacturing and/or automation solutions, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need to receive your videos before February 1, 2018 to be included in the showcase.