Collaborative robots are robots that as the name suggests work alongside humans. Traditional robots, the large contraptions that have been a fixture of our factories could and cannot work alongside humans. This ability in cobots has led to factories accruing major benefits in terms of cost and increased employee morale.
Factory workers also like and enjoy the presence of cobots in their factories as they make work easier and enjoyable. Working collaboratively with a machine enhances worker capabilities and allows them to get involved in higher level jobs that need lots of human effort and thought rather than working at mechanical dull and dreary jobs.
To factories and other sectors of industry, cobots bring about numerous benefits.
Working with a cobot adds flexibility to work. First the cobot is highly capable of performing different tasks within the factory.
When the factory identifies the tasks that can be automated, it buys the best cobot for the job. Once it is assembled it is ready to be programmed and offered tasks to complete. Cobots often need different external fixtures that enable it to complete certain tasks. These fixture offer it the flexibility and capability to perform different tasks.
For quality inspections, the cobot requires vision sensors and grippers which enable it to see the object it is inspecting same as pick and place task. For other tasks, it requires different end of arm tools.
With flexibility, factories are able to cut on production times, improve the quality of their output and increase their output capacity.
Improve employee working conditions
Another benefit accrued in the adoption of cobots is that they help improve working conditions.
Like all robots, collaborative robots take up the boring, dull, dirty and dangerous jobs. This then leaves human employees with higher quality jobs. Human employees previously engaged in repetitive mechanical tasks are now assigned jobs that require higher levels of decision making and creativity and other manual tasks that need advanced dexterity.
This leads to much better working conditions for the human employees. Improved working conditions lead to increased output and better quality products and improved financial position of the company.
Save space and leasing costs
Traditional robots, due to safety issues absent in collaborative robots needed to occupy large floor spaces by themselves. They needed caging to enhance safety and this also required a large amount of floor space. In case of any mechanical fault, it had to be switched off and repaired.
Collaborative robots on the other hand do not need caging. With their special safety features, they can detect human presence and respond either by pausing, changing direction or stopping. Without the need for caging except only in special circumstances, factories require less floor space for their cobots.
In addition, cobots occupy very little space in the factory floor thus also reducing large real estate costs accrued by large factories.
Improves output quality
Incorporating cobots into production enables industries to improve the quality of their product. Cobots are highly precise and accurate. As a result, it will produce products at the exact specifications that it is guided or programmed to produce.
In addition, cobots provide speed in production. Robots work at a rate faster than humans and therefore they improve production capacity in industries.
Collaborative robots prepare industry for the future
With the shorter product lifespans in today’s market, automation is necessary for industries. Without automation, industries will not have the ability to respond and adapt to changing customer preferences in time. This would to industries stagnating and eventually closing down as they cannot compete with better quality from the already automated competitors.
Technological advancements will also develop superior capabilities into the cobots. This will lead to a changing workplace where humans and robots will not only collaborate but be actual partners in the workplace, communicate via voice commands and even interact with each other. In the future, human and cobot roles in the factory will have changed significantly.