Over the years, manufacturing entities have sought to automate their production processes. Automation strategies have been drawn up and discouraged many boards of management by their sheer scope and huge upfront investment costs.
Traditional robots and customized automation software require huge financial outlays that are out of reach for many small and medium enterprises.
Over the last decade, collaborative robots have made massive inroads and have greatly helped many small and large companies automate their production process.
And, the future looks bright for collaborative robots with numerous industry surveys showing that the sales of cobots will surpass that of every other automation method by the year 2025.
Benefits of automation with collaborative robots
Collaborative robots are a highly affordable automation solution. Relative to traditional robots and other methods of automation, acquiring a collaborative robot is much easier and a better investment.
Unlike the traditional robots, the upfront financial outlay to acquire a cobot is easily recouped. Many manufacturers who have used the cobot to automate their production process report getting their return on investment within the first year of its use.
Like their name suggests, collaborative robots work closely with human workers. Unlike traditional robots that did not have a hint of collaboration within them, cobots are inherently safe and do not need to be caged away.
Cobots are built with safety sensors. They sense the presence of human workers near them and as a result reduce their speed or stop completely. Once the human worker is a considerably safe distance away from them, they resume their tasks.
Additionally, cobots have smooth edges to ensure that any contact with them does not lead to injuries or fatalities.
Cobots are tools rather than replacement of human workers
One of the most prevailing misconception of collaborative robots is that they will replace human workers on the factory floor. Rather, cobots are tools that human workers use to streamline the bottlenecks and hurdles that they face in the production process.
Collaborative robots complement human capabilities to produce high quality products fast and accurately. With these features, human workers are able to focus on higher level tasks and robot operations.
Improved production leads to better financial status of the organization and that of the human employees in the organization.
They are easy to use
Collaborative robots are considerably easy to use. First, they are plug and play solutions. They require to be assembled on the factory floor. This is a process that takes only a few hours and they are ready to work.
Second, they are quite easy to program. Cobots have an easy to use interface that allows for ease of programming instructions to the cobot. In addition, the cobots can also be taught manually how to carry out particular tasks assigned to them on the factory floor.
Third, leading manufacturers such as Universal Robots provide education and resources to people who want to learn how to operate cobots. Universal Robots offers free online courses taught by certified robotics tutors and engineers.
Most times, organizations will acquire cobots to streamline a specific aspect or hurdle in the production process. With its high speed of production and capability, users then discover that it can be used for other functions in the factory too.
Collaborative robots are highly flexible and can comfortably handle multiple tasks in the production process.
Additionally, they are lightweight and easy to move around thus ensuring that they can handle tasks that are carried out in different section of the factory.
Easy to monitor
With advancements in technology, collaborative robots are now online, making them easy to operate and monitor. A cobot when facing a problem can easily send a text message to the operator, notifying them that it has encountered a problem.
Using a mobile interface, the operator can easily solve the cobot’s problem without having to physically move to the location of the cobot.
This enhances its flexibility and ease of use features and capabilities.