Automation: How The Collaborative Is Robot Easing Automation

robotics healthcare Integration of robots into the manufacturing processes has been a reserve for large and highly profitable businesses cutting out small and medium companies. This has been the case as most manufacturers hold robotic automation as a very expensive venture leaving them to opt for higher human labor.

On the other hand, acceptance of robots within the manufacturing industry has faced resistance from people who feel that the automation will increase job losses as machines take over various roles. However, the automation industry keeps growing and the invention of collaborative robots, simply known as cobots brings forth a new era where humans and robots work together.

Cobots Vs. industrial robots

While both are robots, there is one major difference between the two. Collaborative robots as the name suggests are built to work together with employees while the industrial are huge and designed to take over the roles of the workers.

While both automate manufacturing processes, cobots offer assistance to employees on tasks considered ergonomic hazards essentially making work more efficient without forcing people out of employment. On the other hand, industrial robots take over the entire manufacturing process and automate it in a way that human help is not needed.

Among the aspects that make cobots cheaper is their collaborative nature where they are designed to work close to humans without causing them injury. The cost of industrial robot integration is however higher since any humans around have to be kept in safe cages away from the robots that could easily cause grave injury.

Making a Choice

From the differences, it may appear that the collaborative robot is better than the industrial robot which may lead to purchase of the wrong robot. The choice to automate is a huge decision for manufacturers and requires extensive research before reaching a decision. From selecting where to source for the robots, to deciding which type of robot is best fit for the manufacturing needs of the company now and in future, understanding both forms is crucial.

Decisions to automate should not be led by the idea that cobots can handle several tasks in the production cycle while eliminating the need of employing low skilled workers. Collaborative robots are designed to work together with humans. In addition, one cannot assume that the cobot will handle heavy tasks that would otherwise be suited for an industrial robot. Cobots can only help manufacturers achieve more if selected and installed correctly.

Benefits: Why you need a collaborative robot (cobot)

industrial robot Industrial robots have their advantage however, investing in cobots may be wiser especially for small and mid-sized manufacturers. Some of the benefits include the following;

  • Highly efficient

Cobots involve both the robot and people within manufacturing process sharing the same work space where if there is an error the employee can solve it and move on with the work. In industrial robot settings, if an error occurs, humans cannot intervene until the entire production cycle is complete which not only wastes time but is also expensive.

  • Simpler Integration

Cobots do not require safety infrastructure for the workers since they can share the workplace with ease unlike industrial robots which require structures that will ensure employees are safe from the robots. Cobots are flexible and can be adjusted to produce different results in activities such as lifting, packaging, applying adhesives and fitting small parts. This aspect is what makes them more appealing for small and medium factories which find industrial robots complex.

  • Higher return on investment (ROI)

With higher efficiency and productivity, the profit margins become wider since time and resources are used with less wastage.

  • Safety

Apart from operating safely with people in the same workplace, cobots reduce ergonomic risks associated with repetitive activities. In addition, manufacturers can assure their clients of quality and safe products because the cobots work with precision and accuracy that ensures production is done without mistakes.

  • Offer a future competitive edge

Trends indicate that more manufacturers are automating and like with other technologies, businesses looking to remain profitable should consider implementing robots. The future of work is shifting to a more automated setup and unautomated companies might face a crisis in the near future.

The future of cobots

Trends in robotic automation indicate that in the days ahead, the use collaborative robots will keep growing as more industries integrate them into their system. The expected growth of the electronic and automotive industries which are highly reliant on robotics will especially drive the popularity of cobots in manufacturing. Other drivers of this positive change will likely be associated with changes in human labor factors such as; high costs of labor and a limited skilled workforce.

Additionally, the use of industrial robots will likely die down as collaborative robot innovations take over in solving automation challenges that the earlier models could not solve. Where industrial robots failed, cobots are already doing well and their human centered aspects mean that there is room for continuous improvement without rendering people useless.

Robot developing companies are already seeing an increase in the number of cobots purchased as manufacturers realize benefits such as a high return on investment (ROI), increased productivity and the low cost of integrating. It is evidently wise for small and medium sized manufacturers to take a leap of faith and invest in collaborative robots if they are looking to take advantage of their exceptional capabilities in order to achieve a competitive edge.

Overall, as the collaborative robots interact more with humans within different settings, it is expected that they will acquire new features that will enable them to handle more mundane tasks as people focus on larger tasks. This means that future cobots could easily have features such as voice recognition for easier communication with their human counterparts.

Summary

Robots have become an essential part of manufacturing given the benefits they provide. Those opting for collaborative robots have weighed the pros of having them over industrial robots which are slowly phasing out as cobot innovation advances. With the right cobot, the future can only bring profits for manufacturers.

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