Collaborative Robots or Cobots are the hardware version of Augmented Intelligence. These have been around since the 1990s. They are built to interact physically with humans in a shared workspace. Rather than replacing humans with their autonomous counterparts, collaborative robots augment artificial intelligence technologies to physical bots. According to Barclays, cobots can revolutionize production. This is effective, especially for smaller companies, that account for 70% of the manufacturing industries, globally.
Furthermore, Cobots help in improving human capabilities in performing tasks with greater strength, accuracy, and data capabilities. The first collaborative robot was a device used to directly interact physically with a manipulator that was computer-controlled’. It was invented by J Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin in the year 1996. Later, Kuka Robotics launched its first collaborative robot in the year 2004, named LBR 3.
Let’s explore the 6 game-changing benefits of using Cobots.
Business in the 21st century is highly competitive and dynamic. Collaborative robots can offer higher efficiency to industries as well as many other benefits. Here are a few of the many excellent benefits that they can bring to the table. Read on to learn more!
1. Quick installation and setup
Installing a robot takes a while before it is up and running. Unlike the traditional robots currently used in industry, a Cobot is easy to program. It takes merely half an hour to install a Cobot using a user-friendly software. By means of user-friendly software and mobile applications, Cobots can learn new actions. This makes a cobot available as a temporary employee or flexible employee who can perform different tasks in different departments. A cobot can perform its first task within an hour!
Cobots are highly versatile. It is easy to re-program and re-deploy them for different tasks as per requirement from time to time.
2. Utilized across different departments and industries
A cobot is a flexible robot and adding new tasks to the robot is quite simple. A cobot could do the same for a 40-hour working week, but could also perform a different task every day. This flexibility also makes it possible to hire a cobot as a temporary employee. For example, during peak times in production, it is more practical to hire a robot for two weeks than to hire an employee for two weeks, which is a big impact for large and small businesses alike.
3. Consistency, accuracy and positive effect on employees
Unlike humans, Cobots are very accurate. The Franka Emika Panda for example can perform actions with an accuracy of 0.1 mm. In addition, a cobot will never deviate from its actions and will always perform tasks with the same power. A cobot is designed to work with people and not to replace people. Cobots are people-focused robots that can help people to refine their work. Think of quality checks and maintenance, but also the assembly of a product could take place in cooperation with a Cobot. For example, the cobot if screwing a product, the employee completes the product one step further in the process.
4. Increased productivity and process optimization
The main goal of robotization is to optimize a process, achieving the maximum goal with minimal costs. With Cobots, there is a minimization of error, and employees have more time to do other things. Hence, overall productivity increases, ultimately leading to better outcomes. Setting up and equipping a cobot obviously requires an investment, but in the long run, it saves money and even results in a profit.
5. Increased and efficient Human-Cobot interaction
In any given industry, for utilizing robots, time, cost, and floor space are the three major critical factors. This is because the operator can work alongside the Cobot, without having to leave the workspace. Cobots can reduce the idle time of the human workforce by 85%.
Cobots don’t replace people, they make employees more valuable. Relegate your repetitive tasks to cobots and put your people on higher-value work. Or have a single employee manage multiple Cobots. It’s a great way to scale production! Thus, collaborative robots work along with the human workforce, boosting the overall efficiency significantly.
6. Safe handling of dangerous and tedious tasks
Preventing human error is critical in every industry. Cobots ensure a safer working environment by preventing human errors that can hinder operation accuracies.
Future Of Cobots
One way to boost overall productivity is to use Cobots. By the year 2020, cobot sales are expected to cross $3.1 billion. The sales of Cobots are increasing every year. According to Barclays Equity Research, the global sales of cobots have crossed US$120 million in the year 2015. This will rise to $12 billion by the year 2025!
A recent 2020 research report on Collaborative Robot (Cobot) Market is a detailed assessment of the most important market dynamics. This report gives an overview, market shares, and growth opportunities of the Cobot market in terms of product type, application, key manufacturers, and key regions/ countries.