Automation is one of the main methods that different organizations use to scale their operations and grow their businesses. It has been a beneficial business strategy for as long as robots have been in existence.
Initially a preserve of the cash rich organizations, technology has led to ease in automating manufacturing processes. Collaborative robots that have been in existence for slightly over a decade now are the leading technology disrupting how automation is now done in manufacturing entities.
Here are several ways in which collaborative robots or cobots have changed how automation is approached.
As mentioned, manufacturing automation was previously an expensive endeavor. As a result, it was left only for the larger organizations that had more than enough money to spend on investing in robots. For example, auto-makers, some of the largest manufacturers around the world were the leading consumers of automation. They have always had the money to invest in automation as they sought to build more and more cars.
Collaborative robots have democratized automation and made it available and in the reach of many small and medium entities that could not automate their processes. Cobots are highly affordable in terms of price and in their operations.
Ease of Use
Collaborative robots are very easy to use. This is one of the major reasons that their use has increased exponentially over the last decade.
Unlike other forms of automation, you do not need a specialized programmer present to program and instruct the cobot. To use a cobot, all that is required is a little training and you are good to go.
It contains a user interface similar to that of a smart phone that can be used to control it. In addition, the cobot can be taught how to perform certain tasks through programming and also physically. This makes it quite easily accepted on a factory floor and eases the cost of owning and running one.
Further, collaborative robots are mostly plug and play. You can start using it immediately after assembly for whichever task that you need to assign to it.
Collaborative robots are small and compact. They only require a small space on the factory floor or working area where they are set up. This ensures that factory owners are able to keep their operating costs down.
Previously, manufacturing automation with robots required that a factory has a large building in which to house the robots as they are quite large. Collaborative robots have a base diameter of about 128mm – 190 mm which is much smaller than a human worker may occupies.
They are also manufactured with lightweight material. This makes it possible for them to be moved from one part of the factory to another with ease.
Due to their small size, manufacturers can automate processes that require higher levels of attention and precision such as electronic product assembly.
Collaboration with Human Workers
Collaborative robots got their name from the fact that rather than work by their lonesome, they are highly capable of working alongside human workers. Actually, rather than be seen as a substitute to the workers, cobots are enablers or tools that make work easier.
Collaborative robots unlike traditional robots are designed with safety as their main feature. Previous types of robots were designed to work separately from human beings. They were kept caged in areas out of bounds to their being prone to cause fatal accidents.
Cobots on the other hand enhance safety by having round smooth corners rather than sharp edges. They also utilize modern technology that senses the presence of human beings and either slows down the robot or stops it altogether. They are safe enough to be held by hand as they operate and to work alongside along a manufacturer’s conveyor.
With cobots it is much easier for companies to adopt manufacturing automation and to make it work for them. Cobots are transforming the manufacturing world and are expected to be the leading form of automation worldwide by the year 2025.