What is a Cobot?
A Cobot also known as a collaborative robot, is a robot that can safely work along side a human work force within a shared space. This is unlike a traditional industrial robot that usually work away from humans behind a fence or protective barrier. Cobots are ideal in situations where the worker needs to be close to the robot, and are an ideal introduction to robotics for many companies.
Cobots were invented less than 30 years ago in 1996. The most well known brands of Cobots include: KUKA, Universal Robots, FANUC and Rethink Robots.
Level of Collaboration:
The IFR (International Federation of Robots) stated that there is 4 levels of collaboration between robots and human workers. The most common in industrial Cobots is:
“Co-existence”: The worker and robot work along side each other. There is no the need for a barrier, but no shared workspace.
“Sequential collaboration”: Both the human and cobot work in the same space. But don’t work on a part at the same time.
Why a Cobot?
Industrial Robots can be intelligent/or not. They typically perform tasks that workers do not want to do. Such as tasks that are too dangerous, expensive, dull or repetitive. These automated Industrial robots usually work in human free zones.
On the other hand Cobots work with humans and share the work space. Cobots are not seen as human replacements. They help increase human efficiency and capabilities.
Cobots provide – precise movements, increased strength and real time data processing. These along with a human workforce add maximum value to the production process.
“Cobots bring the 3 E’s to industry – Efficiency, Effectiveness and enhancement” – Ron Schmlezer (Cognilytica)
Cobots into the Future:
The signs show that Cobots are going nowhere. It has been predicted that almost 35% of robots sold by the end of next year (2022) will be Cobots.
It is also predicted that Cobots will move out of industry and more and more into our everyday lives. Who knows maybe in the not so distant we will have cobot waiters in restaurants and sales reps in shops!
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