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Economic and Technical Feasibilities of Implementing Robotics in an Automotive Repair Environment – UA06-RRAD


Red River Army Depot

Research Team:

Earnest W. Fant

Universities Involved:

University of Arkansas

Start Date:


End Date:



Identify process improvement by increasing productivity with the introduction of robotics in an automotive repair and component manufacturing environment. The approach follows a logical sequence of steps that include familiarizing with the capability of the technology, surveying to identify potential applications, tentative selection of introductory applications, developing specifications for selected application, detailed economic analysis and technical review, and researching and investigating the research problem.
This proposal defines a research study to investigate the economic feasibility and technical practically of implementing robotics and machine vision in an automotive repair and component manufacturing environment. The successful introduction and implementation by an organization is a formidable management problem as well as a technical problem due to the lack of knowledge of the technology by the employees who will be daily operating the system.

There are two general criteria, economically feasible and technically practical, that will usually make a potential application of machine vision robotics achievable. From an economically feasible perspective, an application can be justified through process improvement where productivity has increased by comparison to the documented former process used as a benchmark. There is also the human element that must be considered and that is the reception of employees for the implementation of new technology. The answers to a series of questions, listed below, must be communicated and understood, by management and employees of the organization.

Can employee be openly assured of job retention?
Can employee displaced, but retained be placed in equally rated job?
How the installation benefits the employees?
Is the present employee-management climate favorable to open exchange?
Are present economic conditions of the organization sufficient to guarantee promises to employees are kept?
Does “social distance” exist or is there rapport with employees?
Can employees express their concern without ridicule?
This research will benefit companies that are considering a broader application of robotics where employees need focused training so that they can perform their new work assignments well. The implementation shall require a complete culture change for all personnel involved from management to the operator and support personnel.

An economic feasibility of potential applications in work areas where material handling is involved was conducted. A technically practical review for selected applications was accomplished whereby specifications for the selected application characteristics could be identified. A survey was developed to aid in bringing to light those concerns which operator, management, engineers and maintenance personnel might have and require a reasonable answer.