The introduction of collaborative robots into industry has completely changed automation in manufacturing and robotic assembly. Collaborative robots as the name suggests work alongside human colleagues on the factory floor, rather than working on their own in closed of areas like the traditional robots.
Collaborative robots have democratized automation especially for the small and medium sized manufacturing entities. This ease in automation leads to an improvement in product quality and thus offering customers a wide variety of high quality products to choose from.
Through the use of collaborative robots, robot assembly can now be applied in many tasks and industries that were previously considered non-robotic. Robots can now be used to paint and polish products and even be used in the healthcare and agriculture industries to ease and improve production outcomes.
Among the many changes that collaborative robots are introducing to industry are:
Increased robot-human interaction
Unlike traditional robots, cobots work alongside and sometimes hand in hand with human colleagues. Fenced off from human factory workers, these large appendage waving monstrosities were left alone to carry out their particular task in the production process. With the increasing growth in acceptance and ease of acquisition of cobots, these large robotic monstrosities will soon be a thing of the past.
Cobots are small, occupying a little space on the factory floor and are safe to work with human colleagues. With their sensors, they is very minimal likelihood of the occurrence of fatal accidents in the factory floor.
Ease of movement
Collaborative robots can be easily moved around the factory. Owing to their light weight and the fact that they are not fixed in, cobots can be easily moved from one part of the factory to another to complete different tasks.
Traditional robots on the other hand are stuck in one place. As a result they can only be used for a specific task.
Ability to perform numerous tasks
As a result of technological advancements, collaborative robots have been developed with the innate ability to complete several tasks in the factory. Cobots can tend machines, paint, screw-drive, polish, pick and place and even assemble electronic components with the accuracy and precision that a human worker can find impossible to muster.
On the other hand, fenced away from the rest of the world, traditional robots are quite rigid and only useful for a specific set of tasks.
Ease of monitoring
Technological advancements also allow collaborative robots to be constantly connected with the robot operator. This allows for easy monitoring of the cobots activity and productivity. By being constantly connected through the internet, cobots are able to send messages to their operator. At the same time, operators are able to analyze and monitor the operation of a cobot remotely.
Traditional robots on the other hand are quite difficult to monitor. In the case where there is a defect, the factory will have to be shut down for the repairs to take place efficiently and effectively. Real time updates help robot operators work on any problems with the cobot immediately without having to waste time or hold up production operations.
Speedy return on investment
Traditional robots are quite expensive to acquire. As a result, it takes years for a manufacturing entity to see the return on their investment. Also it is for this reason that automation through robots has been limited to a few deep pocketed manufacturing entities.
On the other hand cobots have completely changed this scenario with their quick return on investment. First, cobots are not as expensive to acquire. Once acquired, they are put to work quickly, rarely breakdown and help streamline the production process, improving production time and quality of products. As a result, users are able to see a quick return on their investment.
Improved use of space
One large expense of manufacturing entities is real estate. The cost of leasing, building and running factories is often quite high. With cobots, this can completely change. Unlike traditional robots, they do not require their own large separate space to work in. They share space with the human staff of the factory thus significantly reducing real estate costs.