TECH

The Future of Robotics Is Collaborative

Imagine working in the same environment with automated robots but going about your tasks in peace because your safety has been assured. This is the kind of a work environment that many collaborative robots (also referred to as cobots) seek to create.

Thanks to their design and task-specific programming, collaborative robots are able to effortlessly but safely complete tasks that are too strenuous for humans. These tasks may either be plain boring, tiresome or too repetitive.  By taking up these tasks, the collaborative robots enable humans to save more time which can then be used to focus on other technical areas of a production process.

Collaborative Robots; the Game Changer in Robotics

If the market share reports are anything to go by, then the line between autonomous and collaborative robots is growing thinner by the day. Collaborative robots are commanding a larger market share. This is understandable owing to the fact that the benefits of using a collaborative robot effortlessly outweigh those of the old industrial robots.

Gone are the days when heavy industrial tasks would only be completed by the industrial robots. Thanks to technology advancements, research and innovation, there is an introduction of authoritative collaborative robots that are equally good and able to take on even the demanding tasks.

A recent collaborative system by Universal Robots known as ‘Snapweld Collaborative Robot’ adds more truth to the statement that collaborative robots are not a reserve of only the simple tasks. This sizeable state-of-the-art machine allows for a complete overhaul of the traditional welding stations that required huge and expensive separated work cages. Investors willing to start welding stations but do not have large working spaces can comfortably do so thanks to this major milestone.

Types of Collaborative Robots That Boost Productivity

Classification of collaborative robots is done according to the features of its primary design. Here is a look at the four main types.

Hand-Guided Cobots

As the name suggests, this is a type of a cobot that is taught how to operate by moving it along the desired positions using a human hand. The robot is designed in such a manner that enables it to learn quickly. It is easily reprogrammable and this allows an extensive ease of use.

Speed and Separation Monitoring Cobots

Though it largely follows the traditional design of industrial robots, this cobot’s programming allows for safe sharing of the working environment with human workers. The cobot is fitted with a vision system that sends signals in order to regulate the running speed according to the location of human workers. The work area of a speed and separation monitoring cobot is always under the monitoring of a fully-fledged vision system. This vision system can easily detect human movements and is able to send a warning signal in case a human approaches the danger zone. This signal causes the system to slow down. In case the human worker gets closer to the system, a signal is sent and this brings the robot into a halt until the human has left the area.

Power /Force Limiting Cobots

When their system has been configured properly, power/force limiting cobots are able to work independently. Their design enables them to work hand in hand with humans safely. These cobots have smooth edges, highly sensitive force and power detectors and a padded top to neutralize any force in the event that a collision occurs. They are also able to stop instantly in the event of a collision.

Safety Monitored Stop

This is designed for applications that require minimum human interference. It uses a laser scanner as an additional device which is an aid in detecting human presence around the robot working zone. In case this happens, the robot stops instantly. While leaving the designated robot area, the human pushes a ‘resume’ button to allow this collaborative robot to resume its operations.

Conclusion

Whenever the question of how to increase productivity is raised, many think automation or replacing human labour with robots. While robots on their own may play a very significant role in boosting a company’s productivity, it may not be a solution that is 100% effective. This is because as much as they can quicken the process, they are not able to do everything. It is for that reason that a system that can speed up your work process while allowing you to keep your human workforce carries the day. The system is a collaborative robot.