Collaborative robots represent an increasing share of all industrial robots sold. In this part of @AuManufacturing’s Robotics adoption matters series, Vikram Sachdeva suggests some places to look to see if they could improve your factory’s operations.
Traditional robotics and related automation have been key drivers of the Third Industrial revolution of the 1970s. Traditional Industrial robots typically took away dull, dirty, dangerous and difficult jobs from humans. Because these robots carry a heavy payload, they are bulky; because they cannot sense the environment around them, they are inherently dangerous and hence they must be put in safety cages. These robots also have mostly been considered adversaries by humans and blamed for taking their jobs away.
By contrast, collaborative robots or Cobots, as the name suggests, are symbiotic partners with humans. They work in close proximity to humans to complement and augment what humans do. Cobots move with limited force and speed and stop when they sense any obstruction that might be a person; hence they do not injure any humans. By carrying out the tasks alongside humans, they are able to shift humans to doing higher value-added tasks while they do the repetitive tasks. The use of cobots results in improved ergonomics and productivity. In a symbiotic cell, human and cobots seem to be doing a well-choreographed dance. Cobots are limited by the much smaller payload as compared to traditional robots, but unlike traditional robots, cobots do not require special skills to program them.
Opportunities to look out for in your factory :
Vikram Sachdeva is managing Advanced Manufacturing Industry 4.0 Hub at Swinburne’s Factory of the Future. Funded by the Victorian government, the Hub works closely with small and medium Victorian manufacturers to embed Industry 4.0 in their factories to achieve the next level of operational excellence and operationalise new digital business models.
@AuManufacturing’s Robotics adoption matters series is brought to you with the support of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub.
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