Understanding Collaborative Robots and their Functionality
by Arina Smith Technology 29 June 2021
Collaborative robots, more commonly known as Cobots, are robots created to work hand-in-hand with humans as compared to other robots that work on their own. This workspace sharing ability has proven beneficial to both the manufacturers and human workers. Cobots come with multiple progressive EOATs, software, and sensors. These help them to easily and swiftly notice and get familiarized with intrusions that are in their work envelope.
The current global pandemic saw many businesses make huge financial losses owing to the disruption of the global supply chain. Now, businesses are in a rush to get back on track and cobots are helping them do that. These robots are speeding up order operations and engender efficiency.
Why many Industries use Cobots
Cobots have a round-like shape, without having a pinch point with internalized motors and wires. When in motion, these robots can also detect force that has been applied abnormally more so, to their joints. They are also programmable such that, they can immediately respond by either reversing or stopping positions when there’s human contact.
Additionally, Cobots can be guided by hand thus making their integration and programming simpler. This means a human can direct the cobot on the desired paths/positions. This frees up human workers for more crucial works. They also come in handy in situations where human workers are injured and are thus unable to perform tasks that require repetitive motion.
Application of Cobots in Manufacturing
Any business that uses robots in manufacturing and assembly can use cobots. It has been estimated that there are about seventy-four robots for every ten thousand employees globally. Experts also expect this number of robots to increase in the years to come. While collaborative robots do play a crucial manufacturing role, their technology is relatively still young. Cobots are commonly used in packaging and fabrication, testing, molding, CNC machining to quality control assessments.
How Collaborative are they?
Human workers will start seeing more and more collaborative robots in different workstations. Depending on the workplace, a day with a collaborative robot looks like this: The robot is booted up when the human worker arrives at work then assigns it its tasks and sets it. As the robot works, the human worker takes on other tasks as they intermittently check on the robot in case it will need updating. Once a day is done, and there are no other shifts, the cobot is shut down for the day.
The good thing is cobots are not going to take the place of human workers but instead, work in collaboration with humans.
Comparison of Traditional and Collaborative Robots
The decision for a manufacturer to use either a collaborative or traditional cobot depends on their company’s needs. While there are automation solutions that pose safety hazards at workplaces for associates and operators, cobots are the complete opposite. Collaborative robots have multiple force and sensor motions that make it easy for them to detect people and objects. That way, collisions are avoided thereby creating a safe workspace.
As compared to cobots, traditional robots have been known to need more space and are more dangerous. Even so, they have sheer speed and power. On the other hand, robots are made for specialized, slower work.
Traditional robots can take on large projects and that is why they can be found in almost all industries while cobots are more suited for selected projects. Cobots are also easy to install and less expensive than traditional robots. Their small size means cobots can be used in almost any workstation and do not require the same safety bubble traditional robot needs.
Overall, cobots movement greatly enhances application functionality. Even though they may never replace robots used in the past, they are here to stay. Cobots decrease space robotic units need. The collaborative technology they have offer massive advantages to human workers, production lines, and businesses. When collaborative robots are added to warehouses, the picking process is automated, and human workers are able to maintain great performance without compromising on their safety.