Robots are already here, but they will soon be everywhere. We are on the cusp of a real robot revolution – and it will be peaceful – and definitely productive. In the next decade, robots are poised to be integrated into every facet of life. When it comes to manufacturing, now is the time to start thinking about how robots can make your operation safer, more efficient, and more profitable. Even if there is already a cobot on your factory floor, robots can improve productivity and working conditions throughout the manufacturing ecosystem. During his presentation on the IMTS+ Main Stage at IMTS 2022, Eric Foellmer, vice president of marketing at Boston Dynamics, started by showcasing how the rapid adoption of the automobile in the early 20th century was similar to how robots are going to become much more mainstream over the next decade. Foellmer displayed a picture of the New York City Easter Parade in 1900. The image shows a crowd of horse-drawn carriages with a single automobile near the center. The next image showed the same event – the New York City Easter Parade – circa 1913. The street is now packed with cars, and there is only one horse-drawn carriage. The transformation was rapid, complete, and permanent. “In a little more than a decade, the automotive industry transformed daily life,” Foellmer explained. “At Boston Dynamics, we feel we are at the same pivot point with robots being introduced into our daily lives – not just in manufacturing, but in everything we do – in how we work, play, and live.” From warehouse automation to advanced R&D humanoids, Boston Dynamics is developing and deploying robots that can perform everything from simple repetitive tasks to supporting complex enterprise operations. Their most famous robot is Spot, an agile quadruped that delivers new capabilities for manufacturers. Spot is a breed all its own. It may look – and even move – like a dog, but Spot can automate industrial inspections to help manufacturers improve uptime and efficiency, along with a range of other tasks it can support across multiple industries. Spot comes equipped with a core mobility program and is fully customizable to meet the demands of many industries. Optional add-ons include an infrared camera, an arm for manipulation, inspection sensors, and other accessories. The robot can be operated with a tablet or can run autonomously, working independently in areas that aren’t safe for humans. Spot has the unique ability to bring sensors to equipment in the field and to collect data around the clock. Increased inspections yield more usable data and can lead to major improvements in both safety and efficiency. Spot can detect things like leaks, overheating, or a noise anomaly, and alert maintenance personnel that equipment needs to be looked at before something goes wrong. While Spot is entertaining to watch – the IMTS audience was transfixed by his dance moves – he is first and foremost a practical, advanced tool. Most importantly, the sophisticated robot dog is a glimpse of a future that has already arrived. Change is coming, and it looks like a dancing dog. Don’t just tune in. Join in.
Baha Men sing, “Who let the dogs out?” But manufacturers might soon demand, “Let the dogs in – in manufacturing facilities, that is. Meet Spot, a four-legged robot by Boston Dynamics, delivering an entirely new set of capabilities for manufacturers.