Cobots in Manufacturing

Human-robot collaboration, or cobot, is a computer-controlled robotic device designed to assist a human. These robots can safely collaborate with humans in a controlled environment. Cobots can work alongside humans safely due to their extremely-sensitive safety sensors that can detect if their work is abruptly interrupted.

Over the last decade, cobots have become more popularized in small, medium, and even larger manufacturers. Along with their customizable-collaborative features, cobots are cost-effective and user-friendly. While larger manufacturers lean more towards using industrial robots, cobots are a great alternative for more simple repetitive tasks.

Cobots are smaller than traditional robots which is a plus. They can be placed anywhere in a manufacturing process without taking up space. Cobots are also very light in weight making them mobile. This allows them to move around the production line. In addition to their mobility, they can quickly and easily learn new tasks. Cobots can easily be programmed to learn a new task ensuring there is no downtime when their functions are needed to change.

These human-robot collaborations are always consistent. They will perform the exact task the same way every time. With this consistency, comes the reduction of error. The margin of error almost becomes non-existent during production. The implementation of cobots also allows human employees to be freed from more dangerous production tasks and allows them to be more present in creative and collaborative ways.

Each cobot has its own special and unique features, when deciding on a cobot it is important to understand the specifications needed. There are more than 30 companies that focus on cobots. In addition to these cobots, some accessories or tools can be used. These tools or accessories can range from End of Arm Tooling (EOAT), grippers, automatic tool changers, and range extenders. All of which can make a cobot more adaptable to its need.

The use of cobots in the manufacturing industry can assist with a variety of tasks. Due to the available user-friendly programmed software, a cobot can learn anything. The most common uses in manufacturing are screwing parts together or apart, picking parts from a bin to sort, tending to machines, palletizing, gluing, or sealing, and quality testing, just to name a few.

Cobots are a hot niche in the packaging industry due to the physical and repetitive demands on humans. The tasks that can be handled by cobots can relieve humans of the strenuous tasks of handling and overall create a more positive work environment.