Cobot – industry developments
At the currenct pace of automation and robotization, the way in which people interact with robots is becoming increasingly important. That is why we would like to discuss the development of industrial cobots (collaborative robots), and how cobots, now and in the future, will affect all kinds of industries and sectors.
Automate thanks to a cobot design
First of all, what is a cobot? Cobot stands for collaborative robots. The collaborative part mainly refers to the collaboration between robot and human. Cobots are designed to work alongside people in simple operations in the manufacturing industry, food industry, logistics and even in healthcare. Cobots have been used on a large scale in the industrial world for over 10 years and it is expected that this will increase even further in the coming years. There are many situations where the use of a cobot is valuable. Cobots offer good automation options, especially for light repetitive work.
A cobot can support employees and staff with repetitive activities that are too strenuous, dangerous or simply too monotonous for them. Cobots make it possible to relieve employees and create a more efficient and safer workplace. For example, the employees can be deployed for more complex tasks or the production capacity can be automated.
Advantages of working with industrial cobotics
Cobots are used in a wide range of production sectors in a variety of production processes. Consider, for example, pick & place operations, palletizing boxes, setting up boxes, filling boxes, machine loading and unloading, assembly, sealing, welding, etc. These are all light operations that can be performed more efficiently and accurately with cobots.
Cobots are equipped with internal safety sensors that enable them to detect collisions, allowing them to work safely next to people. As a result, no safety fences are required and cobots can be used flexibly at different locations in a production line.
Furthermore, cobots are easy to program and require little knowledge of robotics. Most cobots are equipped with an HMI and software with which programsoftware can be easily created and adjusted. As a result, a cobot is often a relatively low-threshold step towards automation of a production line or production process. In most cases, the investment in a cobot pays off really fast. Because cobots can be used flexible, and are programmed relatively easy and can also perform tasks outside of working hours, they can perfom a lot of work. Due to the versatile application, cobots also retain a high (residual) value. These aspects ensure that a good ROI can often be achieved with the investment in cobots.
Robots vs. Cobots
The biggest difference between cobots and robots is that cobots do not need to be shielded and are suitable for operating between people. Partly because of this, cobots are also easier to program and more flexible to use. However, the applications of cobots are limited to light and relatively simple activities.
Robots have more options for automating heavy and complex processes. Robots are often larger and because they are shielded they can also move faster. This makes robots better suited for processes with large forces, large masses and short cycle times.
It is often suggested that robots are stealing jobs and that employees feel threatened. However, in almost all cases, the use of cobots and robots ensures higher productivity on the shop floor and contributes to capacity and efficiency. This ensures a better competitive position and therefore usually leads to more work.