Date Posted 9/14/23, 10:26 AM

In the ever-evolving business landscape, the rise of robotic automation has been nothing short of revolutionary. From the first digitally programmable robot, ‘Unimate,’ developed in 1954 by George Devol, to the most advanced humanoid robot, Ameca, we have come a long way.

With 88% of organizations planning to invest in robotics, the day is not far when robots will run a better part of the production lines in most industries.

Businesses across industries adopt automation for boosted efficiency, fewer errors, and heightened productivity. Yet, realizing these benefits involves facing several challenges in robotic automation implementation.

Whether you're a business leader or just curious about automation, this blog is your go-to guide to overcoming the challenges of robotic automation to lead you toward success.

Challenges in Robotic Automation Implementation and Overcoming Them

High Initial Investment: Generating Positive ROIs

One of the biggest challenges faced by industries when implementing automation is the substantial initial investment. The cost of purchasing robotic systems and related technologies, such as AI, can be daunting.

However, these initial costs ultimately lead to long-term benefits, including enhanced efficiency, reduced labor costs, and improved ROIs.

How to overcome:

•Perform a detailed cost-benefit analysis.

• Explore sponsorship, grants, or collaborations with automation providers.

•Set realistic expectations regarding infrastructure and gradual ROI.

• Prioritize need-based automation.

• Consider Robots as a Service (RaaS) for reduced upfront costs.

Skill Deficit: Hiring and Training Workforce

The manufacturing industry faces a pressing issue: a skill deficit in its workforce. As seasoned employees with essential skills retire, the demand for skilled personnel continues to grow. New job seekers in this field lack the necessary experience and expertise to meet these demands.

Moreover, the existing employees lack the know-how to work with robots and are likely to resist change, resulting in reduced efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

How to overcome:

• Hire staff with the required certifications and expertise.

• Invest in comprehensive training programs for employees.

• Engage workers in automation planning and highlight human-machine collaboration benefits.

• Conduct sessions to raise employee awareness and encourage them to give feedback.

Mapping: Navigating New Environments

The challenge of mapping and navigating new environments presents significant hurdles for robots. Even slight alterations in their surroundings lead to lags and mishaps. While machine learning and computer vision technologies are employed to address this issue, they work mainly in controlled conditions and often fail in unforeseen real-life scenarios, as seen with autonomous cars causing accidents.

How to overcome:

• Focus on learning, adaptation, and recovery in unfamiliar environments.

• Enhance physical robustness and autonomy.

• Promote coordination among multiple robots and data gathering from several sources.

Rigidity: Managing Variable Workflows

Another challenge in industrial automation lies in its inflexibility when robots are faced with disruptions or changes in workflows. Robots are often designed for specific tasks and struggle to adapt to unexpected situations, leading to inefficiencies and errors.

Moreover, current robotic technologies aren’t versatile enough, making it difficult to repurpose robots for different roles.

How to overcome:

• Apply selective automation by focusing on a single task when designing robots.

• Use a single production line for several products to reduce energy footprint.

• Enhance the adaptability of robots by combining them with humans.


Worker Safety: Handling Automation Hazards

Worker safety during automation is a critical concern, especially with industrial and mobile robots that constantly move and can be hazardous to employees. To address this, collaborative robots, known as cobots, have been developed. Cobots can work alongside human employees and come equipped with sensors such as LiDAR and laser scanners to detect and avoid collisions, enhancing safety in shared workspaces.

How to overcome:

• At the project's start, prioritize safety and conduct risk assessments.

• Choose automation solutions with built-in safety features.

• Provide safety training to employees.

• Follow safety protocols while continuously monitoring and enhancing them.

Cybersecurity: Minimizing Data Breaches

Integrating automation and robotics in Industry 4.0 brings forth concerns about data privacy and security. Robot training data and the information they gather during operation can be misused. It raises questions about the extent of dependence on robots for daily tasks, as they may require access to sensitive user data, making them vulnerable to hacking.

How to overcome:

• Host robots on a separate network and limit access to concerned parties only.

• Monitor network activity closely and implement strict security protocols.

• Encrypt wireless robot communications and enforce password protection.

Hokuyo: Your Reliable Partner for Robotic Automation Solutions

When adopting robotic automation, companies must anticipate challenges and follow best practices to make the most of robotics. To succeed, plan carefully, train your team, and stay flexible. Keep safety first and stay up-to-date with the latest tech.

Hokuyo is a leading provider of superior sensor and automation technology. We consistently provide top-notch, budget-friendly sensor products to a wide range of industries.

While you embark on your automation journey, we will help you overcome challenges with our excellent customer service and technical support.

Contact us today and learn more about how our high-quality sensors can make your robotic automation efforts smooth and hassle-free.