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Robots Enter the CPI

By Gerald Ondrey |

Long used for discrete manufacturing, robots are now making their way into product-development laboratories and even production sites Unlike some industrial sectors, such as mining and discrete manufacturing, where the use of robotics continues to streamline operations at the expense of jobs normally performed by people, the chemical process industries (CPI) continues to be run, for the most part, by humans operating automated control systems. Nevertheless, the use of robotic technology is slowly being adopted by the CPI to perform routine or monotonous chores, or to carry out tasks that are dangerous. Rather than replacing humans, as has been the case in some sectors, robots in the CPI are instead augmenting the work of chemists and engineers, freeing up their time from mundane tasks in order to use their skills and brain-power for more challenging work. The use of robotics is increasing in the CPI. Presented here is a selection of recent examples. Discrete manufacturing Robots are not new (Note: Already in 1983, this magazine published a Feature Report “Robots in the CPI: An appraisal and a note of caution,” Chem. Eng. December 29, 1983, pp. 29–34). They have already been used for many years for assembling cars, aircraft,…
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