Editor's Choice


Robots in South Africa

Second Quarter 2020 Editor's Choice Robotics & Mechatronics

Manufacturers In South Africa experience significant challenges and there are many obstacles that prevent industries from pushing forward into a new era of automation and robotic solutions. Due to the effects of COVID-19, many businesses might not have a choice but to rapidly adopt these technologies – especially if they wish to survive in this new contactless society. Automation is no longer a sub-point in a five year roadmap, but an item of critical importance.

Stringent health and safety measures have always been a massive concern for manufacturers, but many organisations will need to double their efforts to meet the new requirements in the post-COVID-19 world. Yaskawa Southern Africa chairman, Terry Rosenberg, says robotics in South Africa is already operating to international standards.

“Since our products come from an international source, they already adhere to the strictest health, safety and quality guidelines,” he explains. “As a result, we insist on the same standards in our operations. When a client purchases equipment from us, we recommend they take the mechanical and electrical safety facilities we offer as part of the robotic solution, to ensure safe and responsible machine usage. Further to this, we offer prescribed training for the safe, functional use of the equipment once in the production environment.”

At the same time, Yaskawa is educating and preparing its clients to operate robots to the required global standards. “We have a special academy designed for end-user training,” Rosenberg explains. “This school provides modules on the basics of robotics, as well as the specific training for the application. Not only will the end-users learn how to use and program the equipment, but they’ll also be taught how to operate it in a safe environment. Furthermore, we provide ongoing training for new employees and other applications that might be introduced at a later stage.”

Globally, the automotive industry accounts for a significant portion of every robot produced. According to Statista, the automotive robotics market is the second largest industrial robotics market. It is no different in South Africa, where the sector is one of the largest users of robotics solutions. That being said, Rosenberg has seen the adoption of robotics in another key industry.

“We’ve seen growth in the food manufacturing industry, particularly in the material handling aspect of the production line, where robots are used for the packing and palletising of large volumes of products,” he continues. “When there are mass quantities and heavy lifting, robots are capable of performing the functions that might be too dangerous or impossible for humans to execute.”

He adds that the food manufacturing industry is also cognisant of the impact of the 2017 listeriosis outbreak and now COVID-19. There is a need to increase the cleanliness of operations and remove human contact. This can be achieved through the use of robotic solutions.

One of the most common misconceptions about robotics is that it is strictly aimed at large enterprises. Rosenberg stresses that this is not the case. In fact, he has seen a substantial interest and increase in the usage of robots in the SMME sector in recent times.

“For some smaller companies, the only way they can produce the required quantity of products is through the use of robotics,” he explains. “As an example, we encountered a small company that operates its dispenser business from a farm. Due to the current pandemic, the demand for its automatic dispensers drastically increased. In order to meet the demand, the solution was to implement a robot that is able to work around the clock.”

While increasing its production, this business has also had to expand its labour force by 50%, thereby creating more jobs. “There’s a fallacy that robots replace human workers,” Rosenberg says. “That isn’t the case at all, because we’ve seen robotic powered industries turn into global giants that employ more people over the years. These organisations have been able to grow and add to their ranks thanks to technology. There will always be a need for people to complete challenging tasks that require human reasoning.”

For more information contact Brenda Herrero, Yaskawa Southern Africa, +27 11 608 3182, brenda@yaskawa.za.com, www.yaskawa.za.com


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Reducing business downtime with robots
Third Quarter 2020, Yaskawa Southern Africa , Robotics & Mechatronics
In a world that is always connected and moving at a blistering speed, businesses cannot afford to have extensive periods of downtime. As efficiency becomes a primary driver of business, industries are ...

Read more...
maxon drives are heading to the Red Planet
Third Quarter 2020, DNH Tradeserve , Editor's Choice
NASA is sending its fifth rover to Mars. Its main mission is to collect soil samples that will be analysed on Earth at a later time. The rover will also carry a helicopter that will perform the first flights on the Red Planet. maxon’s precision DC and BLDC motors will be used for numerous mission-critical tasks.

Read more...
The new mobility: how sensors control the cobots of the future
Third Quarter 2020, SICK Automation Southern Africa , Editor's Choice
The ongoing development of small, powerful and flexibly positionable robots that can collaborate with humans is progressing in leaps and bounds. Sensors from SICK Automation are an important component. ...

Read more...
Innovative mobile robots
Third Quarter 2020, Omron Electronics , Editor's Choice
Tailor-made mobile robotics revolutionise human-machine collaboration in the automotive industry.

Read more...
From the editor's desk: The future is calling
Third Quarter 2020, Technews Publishing , Editor's Choice
The move to level 2 has brought a feeling of renewal. At last we can start thinking ahead and contemplating the future in this new digital world. SAFPA for one has taken the leap, and has engaged an association ...

Read more...
Milling machines for the aircraft industry
Third Quarter 2020, Beckhoff Automation , Editor's Choice, Electrical switching & drive systems & components
In aircraft construction, exceptional component quality and precision are crucial. However sheet-metal aircraft parts are often very large, making machining and handling problematic. Harmuth CNC-Frästechnik ...

Read more...
The role of hydraulics and pneumatics in smart mining technologies
Third Quarter 2020 , Editor's Choice, Pneumatic systems & components
A Bosch Rexroth South Africa perspective.

Read more...
Rethinking pneumatic technology for the factories of the future
Third Quarter 2020, Parker Hannifin Sales Company South , Editor's Choice, Pneumatic systems & components
As manufacturing continues its rapid journey to digitalisation, one must ask, what will become of conventional technologies? Take pneumatics for example, which remains based on the age old principle of ...

Read more...
Do all wireless solutions solve real industry problems?
Third Quarter 2020, Festo South Africa , Editor's Choice, Pneumatic systems & components
Wireless technology makes use of devices that allow us to communicate without using cables or wires and it plays a role in solving complex engineering problems. With this platform machines can communicate ...

Read more...
The future of collaborative robots
Third Quarter 2020, Omron Electronics , Editor's Choice, Robotics & Mechatronics
Collaborative robots (cobots) that can work safely in the same environment as people have an important role in enabling flexible manufacturing and creating a competitive advantage for companies. A new ...

Read more...