Top-down and Bottom-up Approaches to Implement Robotics

In the November 2020 MIT research brief 15: “The State of Industrial Robotics” I was introduced to the top-down versus the bottom-up approaches to implementing robotics. Top down refers to specifying a robotic cell largely by a corporate engineering entity, while bottom-up promotes gaining insights from the operators of the current process.  Traditionally, the top-down approach worked well when applied to a complete manufacturing process where all steps were machine controlled.  Now we are seeing the emergence of collaborative robots designed to work in proximity to the operators.  I can see a bottom-up approach more precisely identifying the tasks best done by the robot and those requiring the skill of the worker.

At Pioneer we can work in each environment.  For top-down customers we understand their requirements and equipment standards.  For bottom-up customers we can provide our expertise in guiding them to a solution by verifying the intended robot will perform the task and identify the safety systems.

As automation migrates into Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) I expect to see more companies using the bottom-up approach.

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