Artem Komarov clarified that robotic automation equipment, like turnkey systems, play a bigger role in tube and pipe fabrication.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, programmable control systems provided a big step forward in improving the way manufacturing systems worked. The variations on the theme (DNC, CNC, or simply NC) used programmed instructions to control machine motions.
Rather than feeding a length of material until the feeding carriage hit a hard stop for cutting, bending, piercing, or punching, machines with modern control systems would run differently, relying on instructions from a program to tell an actuator how far to move the carriage and another when to make a stroke for cutting, punching, or some other process. Accuracy and consistency improved dramatically, and NC laid the foundation for automation.
As time went on, new possibilities developed that until recently were too expensive for most manufacturing applications. Incorporating more sophisticated actions or motions (or additional motions), adding sensors to monitor them, and developing ever-more sophisticated software programs to control them were cost-prohibitive steps in the 1980s, 1990s, and even into the early 2000s. However, like most electronic technologies and software, capabilities grew as prices fell.
This means that today’s automated, custom-built machines aren’t just faster and more accurate than their predecessors of a few years ago, but generally they can do more than before, more accurately than before, taking on tasks formerly filled by the operators.
In many cases, especially when making a simple part, basic automation is faster than manual processing, and this is reason enough to automate. However, finished products tend to become more sophisticated over time, so the machines that make the components tend to become more sophisticated too. Automated systems help in inspecting raw materials or intermediate goods, error-proofing processes, fabricating parts, and making entire assemblies, summed up Artem Komarov.