Contribution made by Cobots: Robotics in industrial automation
With robots playing a central role in many industries, robotics has changed the face of the world. In recent years, industrial automation has grown exponentially across the world. The implementation of robotics has benefited manufacturers by accelerating manufacturing unit growth, efficiency, and productivity. Manufacturers have benefited in terms of profitability and worker safety.
In recent times, industrial automation is not only limited to large enterprises, but small and medium enterprises are moving towards it. The advancement of technology has brought forward the perfect human-machine collaboration called collaborative robots or “cobots”. According to a survey, The global collaborative robots market is expected to grow from USD 1,358.2 million in 2021 to USD 16,387.3 million in 2028 with a CAGR of 42.7% during the forecast period.
Robotic automation with traditional robots requires a large investment, a large floor area and drastic changes in infrastructure. A typical traditional industrial robot is designed for power and speed, potentially threatening employee safety. On the other hand, cobots have revolutionized the concept of industrial automation. The integration of cobots has amplified benefits for manufacturers such as reliability, consistency, higher productivity, reduced waste, and many more.
Maintaining workforce efficiency is important for any organization. Performing repetitive tasks after an extended period of time can lead to fatigue, leading to human error and wasted material. Cobots are designed to perform repetitive tasks with precision, ensuring a significant reduction in human error and product waste. Additionally, cobots are capable of working 24/7 with consistency in every task. With less human error caused by fatigue and operational disruptions, projects can be completed on short notice.
One of the best features of a cobot is the ability to be deployed and redeployed to perform various tasks, adding value to manufacturers. In addition to increasing efficiency, cobots solve labor shortage issues. Production line efficiency and output can be increased by assigning repetitive tasks to robots and freeing human labor to focus on more valuable tasks.
As the market has evolved over the past few decades, quality remains a priority that a consumer looks for in a product, and maintaining quality is the primary concern of manufacturers. This is where cobots come in. As companies focus on making profits, quality assurance has been highlighted as one of the main contributors to increasing profitability. As the demand for product quality increases, cobots have become a solution for manufacturers to reduce human error and improve quality.
Cobots are able to work alongside human employees without the need for security fences. They are deployed in the production lines after evaluation of the essential risks to ensure the safety of the workers. Additionally, cobots are designed to perform high-risk and injury-prone tasks such as heavy weight lifting applications. Extreme conditions, high temperatures and applications such as detailed precision work and spot welding are deemed suitable for cobots. As the cobots used to help perform these tasks, they maximize the abilities and talents of the operators to perform higher quality tasks and reduce workplace injuries caused by accidents. This provides a safe working environment for workers, further increasing their morale to work efficiently.
Traditional industrial robots often require large space and infrastructure changes before use, while cobots can be deployed in limited floor space. In many cases, small and medium-sized companies do not have large spaces for the installation of bulky machines. Cobots have therefore become an option for these small businesses. They are flexible, versatile, lightweight and compact. A single cobot can perform multiple tasks, save space, and save the large sums needed to deploy traditional robots.
When businesses explore automation, cost is one of their top considerations. Automation or more precisely cobots, reduce the waste of materials and obstacles that occur in production processes. Since the costs associated with defective products can be significant, cobots help manufacturers reduce the costs associated with defects. Moreover, traditional industrial robots often require professional engineers to program and maintain the robots. While cobots are easily programmable, even employees with limited robotics or programming knowledge can use a cobot. Therefore, no additional cost will be required to have a professional on board to operate the cobot.
Cobots are a fraction of the purchase cost of traditional robots and typically offer a return on investment as short as 12 months. Universal Robots has reduced the financial burden with UR Financial Services, allowing manufacturers to instantly reap the benefits of cobot automation without worrying about cash flow and seasonal fluctuations.
With advances in technology expanding the world of industrial robots, the world has seen a revolution in the manufacturing industry. Collaborative robots have changed the way manufacturers operate in the production chain. The myriad applications of industrial robots have had a positive impact and major growth in robot adoption. Automation has been successful in various operations, reaping several benefits for manufacturers. Today, automation and cobots are widely used, and industries that adopt cobots will continue to gain a competitive advantage.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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