The first industrial robot used in U.S. manufacturing first came into existence in 1954. Named Unimate (created by Connecticut-based Unimation), the robot was pressed into service by General Motors at its New Jersey plant in 1961. The use of industrial robots for the automation of certain tasks in the production of vehicles and other products has been a boon for industry and consumers, as these machines help reduce costs, increase efficiency, and produce at a rate no human can match.
Given that these machines are made of parts that are subject to normal wear and tear over time (given the repetitive nature of the tasks they perform) it is important to take them offline from time to time in order to perform needed maintenance and repair. When such a time happens, what are the things to look for in those companies that perform such repairs?
Certainly one of the qualifications needed for a company that repairs industrial robots is experience. Not just the experience and history of the company itself but also that of the personnel performing the repair work. Is there a minimum education, experience, and on-the-job, hands-on training required? If so, what is the criterion for this qualification (i.e. industry standard, company mandated, etc.)? Knowing that the person performing the repair is fully qualified to do the work should be checklist item number one when awarding this type of work to a company.
As important is the company’s understanding of the task performing robot and their ability to analyze, diagnose, and perform the correct repair(s) in order to get the machine back into production as soon as possible. Being fast, however, doesn’t matter if the repair work performed is not correct or it causes the robot to be taken out of service again for a period of time while additional repairs are performed. Doing the job right the first time can only be done by a company with the knowledge and technical insight to do the work properly.