Whether you are working in the manufacturing or service industries, cobots are the answer. These machines have an endless number of applications, thanks to their user-friendly software and compact size. By combining a series of actions, they can create a complete automation application. The capabilities of these machines continue to expand thanks to continuous research and development. Here are some examples of how cobots are being used today. To learn more, read on.
The future of work may be filled with machines that can work with and alongside humans. There are many industries in which cobot technology could be used. Some jobs could be replaced entirely by these machines, while others could benefit from the assistance of cobots. Universal Robots offers an example of collaborative work between humans and cobots. A Florida-based company, Stenner Pump, recently acquired a cobot called Baxter, a two-armed robot that feeds parts directly from the manufacturing process into packaging. This reduces human handling by 75%, and Baxter works alongside humans.
Currently, car plants use separate zones for humans and robots. If a worker crosses a boundary, a machine moving a car frame section will stop. Eventually, though, larger cobots will be able to work alongside humans. As cobots become increasingly capable, their ability to do damage is increasing, and exclusion can’t guarantee safety for large cobots. Cobots are more suited to collaboration than ever, and a future workplace may be filled with opportunities for cobots and humans to work together.
The first step is to make sure that operators can safely interact with the machines. The second step is to make sure the humans aren’t in the way of the machines. In P4, we discuss various locations where humans should not interfere with the cobots. We also discuss the requirements for the operator and their movement. The machine should move away from the operator, as the operator is expected to remain out of the way. This is particularly true if the cobot and human are performing cooperative tasks.
The third step is to ensure that the cobots and humans can effectively collaborate. This is not an easy task, but it is possible to make cobots work with humans in close proximity. A robot can learn the context of its surroundings and help human workers perform their daily tasks faster. The human worker can then focus on more complex tasks, while the robot can take care of the repetitive work. Unlike a robot, the human worker will not need to be an expert in programming to use a COBOT.
In the automotive industry, collaborative robots can be used to help workers perform repetitive tasks more efficiently. The flexibility of cobots allows manufacturers to automate different aspects of the assembly line. The company Flex-N-Gate Corporation has invested in the use of cobots to inspect bumpers and fascia components. Cobots can work alongside human coworkers to inspect parts and assemble them. Currently, the company supplies the Ford Ranger with steel bumpers.
Another way that automated replenishment can benefit manufacturers is through its increased productivity. In the case of coating and adhesive manufacturers, for instance, an employee would need to go through the entire production line to check if the raw materials were low. With cobots, this is no longer necessary. Workers can simply program robotic vehicles to replenish the parts on a schedule, ensuring that there is no downtime. Automated replenishment also means that employees can focus on other tasks that require more mental energy.
The flexibility of cobots allows manufacturers to reprogramme them to perform a new task. In the past, it took weeks or even months to install a robot and assign it to a task. But with cobots, this process can take less than 30 minutes. In addition to this, cobots are highly adaptable, which means that they can perform different tasks every day. This flexibility makes cobots an ideal choice for a wide range of industrial processes.
Another industry where cobots are becoming an essential part of the supply chain is the health care sector. They are used in hospitals and clinics for a variety of tasks, including assembly, packing, dispensing medication, and stocking shelves. Automation in this industry is a necessity as the labor force is at a critical point in the recovery process and there is no shortage of trained workers. By automating these processes, companies can reduce labor costs and improve the quality of customer service.
Collaborative robots perform several tasks in warehouses and will reduce manual errors and increase efficiency. They also reduce the risk of accidents. In addition to reducing the workload of workers, collaborative robots will help warehouse operators focus on tasks that add value to their work. By automating parts replenishment, warehouse managers can focus on other critical aspects of the supply chain, such as fulfilling orders. If this automation is done well, warehouse workers will benefit from increased productivity and profits.
Many warehouse management tasks require a human worker to physically reach over objects and parts in order to package them properly. With a Cobot, that job can be automated. Cobots can use an end-effector to grasp and place items while a powerful vision system locates the objects. This type of automation can be beneficial for certain industries, but for others, it may be necessary to include humans to help identify and package difficult objects.
A Cobot can carry a heavy load, including entire pallets. Mechanical arms are useful for packing operations, but the robots must be trained to handle varying objects. Some can’t handle items like eggs, and others need to be programmed to avoid damage to the egg. However, the benefits of cobots cannot be overlooked. In addition to their safety, they can be easily repurposed from one task to another, which can help improve employee productivity and retention.
In addition to picking and placing items, cobots can also complete other tasks such as packaging. Cobots can be programmed in-house and can be used around the clock. They can also be programmed to perform specific tasks, like palletising. The advantages of using cobots are many, and they’re perfect for many industries. Smart Robotics, for example, offers pick and place and palletizing services with their cobots.
Cobots can also be programmed to inspect finished products and compare them to CAD models. High-resolution cameras, along with end effectors, enable rapid inspection. The end effectors and cameras allow a Cobot to capture every angle of a part simultaneously. With such efficiency, Cobots can even be deployed on a large scale throughout a facility. A cobot can also serve as a pilot automation programme for an automation project.
While humans perform finished tasks, Cobots perform these activities with more accuracy and consistency. They also reduce the risk of injury and accidents. Because of their high-speed precision, Cobots can improve quality of products and decrease labor costs. Because of these benefits, Cobots are gaining popularity in manufacturing businesses. And the benefits of collaborative robots extend beyond the manufacturing industry. The growth of this technology is expected to continue.
Industrial quality inspection companies are now turning to cobots to improve their operations. This technology provides productivity gains, industry-proven repeatability, and a more flexible approach to inspection. It is ideal for industries that require high-precision measurements and strict product quality control standards. For example, a chip manufacturer can use cobots to inspect the smallest components of its cars, reducing the time it takes to perform the task by a factor of more than 30 percent.
Another important application for cobots is in assembly lines. They can load CNC machines, injection molding machines, and metal stamping presses. They can also load tools with end-effectors. A cobot can also be programmed to perform drilling and gluing tasks. Another application for a cobot in manufacturing is polishing, grinding, and deburring, which require force across the product surface. A wrist-mounted external force-torque sensor is used to control the robot’s actions during these processes.
For manufacturers, quality control is essential to maintaining consistency. By conducting inspections before the final stage of production, a manufacturer can avoid the risk of product defects and downtime. Collaborative robots offer a scalable solution to these challenges, enabling them to transition between different types of end-products without a loss in quality or production. Cobots also allow manufacturers to transition quickly from one product to another.
While collaborative robots can perform many repetitive tasks, not all applications are suitable for them. For instance, cobots are not suitable for tasks requiring high speed and heavy payload capacity. Their smaller payload capacity means they can’t perform tasks that require high speed or heavy payload capacity. A fault can interrupt the workflow, or even stop the line altogether. In addition, cobots can’t achieve high speed or high throughput.
Machine vision can also be used for product quality inspection. Cobots equipped with machine vision can capture images that do not meet product quality standards and report their findings. These images are then trained with ML models via high-quality video annotation. To achieve early quality check data visualization, companies should consider using an annotation tool dedicated to this purpose. Other use cases for Cobots include research, healthcare, and pick-and-place tasks.