There are many advancements in the current industry with the help of modern technologies. Manufacturing industry is also progressed a lot based on the new innovations, like sevitization. Today, manufactures learn about the benefits of sharing the work space between human and robots in a safe way and with major benefits apart from the cost. These dual trends can help manufacturers adapt to the changing workforce within the sector.
Collaborative robot or cobots co-exist with the human and can be programmed to do intended work. Collaborative robots or cobots are built to work safely with the humans. They used to work with the operators or automated way to perform specific jobs.
We have seen cobots in picture in early nineties. The specific ability of cobots are process monitoring and take any necessary actions within the shortest duration. It is not like the traditional robots which are placed in a separate secured place engaged in jobs which requires huge efforts.
- In the manufacturing plants there are some dull repetitive tasks, the workers are expose to ergonomic risks and often put up with some challenges with the quality control of the product. Cobots can be deployed to perform tasks which enhances the process with an easier quality control. Precise movements as good or better than a human
- Cobots can coexist with the operator, making the work environment safe
- Complies with ISO 10218 and/or ISO 15066
- ABB launched SafeMove2, a software sensor suite that, when activated, makes their robots human-safe
- Cobots are less expensive, low-cost ownership, and with inbuilt safety features.
- No downtime issues
- Plug and play
- Intuitive programmability
In 2017, collaborative robots (cobots) has significant presence in current market. The cobot market is expected to grow by 150,000 units by 2021, according to research. Cobots are literally the new techniques in the future of automation.
Cobots excel because they can function in areas of work previously occupied only by their human counterparts. The cobots are safely deployed with well-designed safety features like force feedback and collision detection. Currently, Universal Robots is one of the leaders in the cobot market. The company’s recent whitepaper listed the some common applications for cobots which will help us for better understanding.
There are a few applications where cobots are largely used nowadays:
- Picking and Placing - In the manufacturing industry, picking up and precise placing to a fixed location for further action is important and was initially performed by the human workers. The repeated physical motions and the nature of the task could lead to strain and injuries. Using cobots made this very ease and error free. Picking and placing are very useful in packaging, where tray goods can be placed on the conveyer belt.
- Machine Tending – Overseeing a machine while performing the jobs and the process of feeding the parts in and out are now handled very efficiently by the cobots. Cobots transport the supply to the machine, interact with it, and then remove the finished parts. Eventually, it minimizes the incorrectness and remove human error. A single robot can tend multiple machines, leading to increased productivity.
- Packaging – The products that are ready for the market requires to be prepared for shipment, which includes wrapping, and box assembling, collating, and loading. These repetitive tasks for small payloads are ideal for cobots.
- Finishing Tasks – There are finishing tasks like polishing, grinding, and deburring which at times require manual tool and large force. The usage of the manual tool may cause injury to the operator. A cobot can provide the necessary force, repetition, and accuracy required for finishing the work.
- Quality Inspection – Cobots are involved in full inspection of finished parts for quality compliance and elimination of any possible error.
Cummins is using cobots today. Cummins has two active cobot applications, one at Charleston Turbo Plant (CTP) in Charleston, South Carolina and one at the Darlington Engine Plant (DEP) in Darlington, UK Cummins.
One of the above cobots has a 2D barcode reader and scans and extracts fuel injection trim codes to solve many quality issues.
It’s also growing economically in India. Bajaj Auto or Aurolab, have deployed cobots and benefited from it, resulting in it adding more numbers to their shop floors.
Aurolab’s is a case in point. The Madurai-based company makes intraocular lenses. They helped make 150 lenses a day. With cobots, the firm makes 10,000 lenses a day now. The company exports to 150 countries with an increased headcount from 15 to 700.
Industrial Cobot Makers – Cobot models:
Some example, include ABB-YuMi, AUBO-i5, Bosch-APAS, Carbon-Katia, Denso-Cobotta, Fanuc-4iA, Life Robotics-CORO, Universal Robots-UR5, UR10 and UR3
There is a small live demo mentioned below: