How are you supposed to work on your robot when you’re away from the office?
It’s a reasonable question. Robots are physical machines. It makes sense that you have to be physically next to the robot to get any work done.
Does that mean your robot deployment has to stop while you’re away from work?
What are you supposed to work on instead?
When you’re away from your office, you probably find yourself doing far more admin than you ever did before in robotics. Your email inbox is empty for once!
But, you might find that you’re not getting much work done on the projects you wanted to be doing before you had to leave the office, like working on developing your robot cell.
Perhaps you find yourself reading a lot of industry blogs “for research” (No? You’re reading one now!). It’s all interesting information, sure, but you know you’d get a lot more done if you were actually sitting in your office.
How can you work on your robot when you’re far away from it?
Some Robotics Tasks Just Need You to Be On-Site, Right?
One of the difficulties with working in manufacturing is that some tasks just can’t be done remotely.
You can’t drill a hole in a workpiece when you’re sitting in your home office, far away from the workshop.
You can’t assemble a product that’s locked in a warehouse somewhere.
You can’t work on your robot when it’s powered down back at your company’s headquarters…
… or can you?…
It’s easy to just dismiss parts of our job, assuming that they are just not possible when we’re not physically at work. We’re used to working in a particular way and we find it difficult to imagine working in any other way.
But, you can actually do much more when you’re out of the office than you might initially assume.
The Truth: Being Out of Office Is Great for New Robotics Ideas
The reality is that you can work on many projects when away from your normal working space.
Over the years, I’ve made some of my biggest quantum leaps on projects when I’ve been away from my office. Whether I’ve been working from home, traveling for work, or locked up in self-isolation, I’ve often been much more productive when slightly removed from my normal routine.
This is probably one of the reasons that working remotely has grown in popularity over the last few years.
I have better ideas, I’m more productive, and I’m happier when I’m working away from the routine.
And I’m not alone. One study from 2014 found the remote workers were 13% more productive and worked 9.5% longer than those working in the office as usual.
Of course, this is not to say that remote working is necessarily better than working in the office (though it is for some people). However, the quality of your work certainly feels different when you’re away from the office and this can be a good thing.
10 Robotics Tasks You Can Do Even When Out of Office
You can get a surprising amount of work done on a robot even when you’re physically away from it.
Here are 10 robotics tasks that you can do from practically anywhere:
1. Design your robot cell
You don’t need to be next to the robot to design a robot cell. In fact, cell design is often more effective when you start out on paper, then move the design to a digital mock-up so that you can iron out the creases before moving to build the physical cell.
2. Choose the best robot
A lot of research is involved in getting robots up and running. One of the more challenging tasks is deciding which robot brand and model is the best for your particular task. You can do this research from anywhere.
We have some interactive tools that you can use to help you pick the right robot for your needs.
3. Try out some new ideas
Time away from the office is never time wasted if you use it to come up with some new ideas. Think about your manufacturing operations and try to come up with various different ways that you could improve them. Your ideas might involve using robots or they might not. Don’t limit yourself — think big.
4. Optimize existing processes
If your robot cell is already up and running, there are many ways you can optimize it. Much of the optimization that is possible will be involved in the programming, which can be done anywhere. With offline programming software, you can test, tweak, and optimize your robot’s program from anywhere.
5. Design a new product
Product design is very easy to do when you’re not in the office. As long as you’ve got the right software on your computer, you can design practically anything virtually. If you are going to be creating the product with CNC or robot machining, you can even generate all the machining instructions with software.
6. Generate new quotes
Generating quotes for new work is one of those tasks that is highly necessary (as it brings in new business) and frustratingly time-consuming when you have other tasks to do. As a result, it is a perfect task to do when you’re working remotely. Simulators are useful for estimating how much work will be involved in each project.
7. Improve programming skills
Robot programming is one of those skills that have the ability to really boost your career. But, often we don’t have enough time to learn new skills when everything is happening at work. Working away from the office is a perfect opportunity to start improving your robot programming skills.
8. Explore new CAD/CAM software
Sometimes, we stick with the CAD/CAM software we’re using just because we don’t have time to learn a new package. If you’ve been considering looking at the newer options, now might be a good opportunity to explore them. We have a selection of posts on our blog about various CAD/CAM packages.
9. Investigate the next big thing
Time away from the office is a great chance to catch up with what’s been going on in the world of robotics. You might read about how agile robotics is helping manufacturing growth, what robotics skills are important these days, and how virtual reality will change robotics.
10. Prepare for getting back to work
One of the most valuable aspects of working remotely is that it can keep your projects top-of-mind. This is much better than just letting your projects fade from memory when you’re working away from the office. By working on the right tasks, you will be fresh and full of ideas when you do go back to work.
There are many robotics tasks you can work on when away from the office. You might as well get started!