Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, were invented and specifically designed to assist factory operators in accomplishing their tasks. Since their invention, the businesses’ uptake of the same has been very commendable.
Many in the industrial and manufacturing sectors have embraced the robotic technology due to their immense benefits of increasing production and easing the flow of operations within the industry.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Collaborative robots have advantages and disadvantages. It is worth dwelling on them to shade light on the most critical areas of cobots, such that if you were to integrate it in your system, you will have made a calculated move.
A cobots is flexible, easy to install and move
A collaborative robot is small when compared to an industrial robot. Its smallness in size facilitates its assembly, disassembly, plus repositioning from one area to another. Its relocation does not necessitate any change in the production’s layout.
Moreover, integration and installation of cobot comes easy; no major structural changes are resulting from its installation.
Harmless than industrial robotics
The collaborative robots are designed to work side by side with humans. Their main agenda is to aid the factory workers in performing industrial duties. Therefore, since they work with humans, they are equipped with especially advanced sensors, which detect any tool or human within its vicinity. That way, neither harms nor damages result in employees. That is unlike industrial robots, which have no sensors and can cause severe injury or damage to the users.
Collaborative robots are cheap during purchase, unlike industrial robots. It is also cost-effective since its installation is easy. No significant structural changes have to occur, and there is no requirement for a specialist or an expert to come install the programs within the robot. That is because the cobots are self-taught. Anyone, including the employees that will be using the cobot can instruct the cobot to perform its tasks in a given manner.
Not a perfect option for greater loads
The cobots are designed to handle the not so heavy tasks. They may be flexible but just limited to carrying weights of between 3 kgs to 10 kgs. There are some that carry weights upto 35 kgs, but they are very rare. Therefore, the cobots cannot manage to carry or move heavyweights. On the contrary, industrial robots can carry loads of up to 2 tonnes.
Given that the cobots are designed in a manner that suggests safety first, they cannot be designed to contain high speeds. The average speed of the cobots is estimated to be at 250mm, which is about four times less that of an industrial robot. As long as there are users utilizing the cobs, then speed has to be limited for the simple reason of ensuring safety.
Are not completely independent
The cobots require human supervision, especially where they have been systemized to operate 24/7. They are not autonomous and require checks to be done at particular times. Additionally, given that their functions and ways of functioning are not programmed, it implies that the supervisors or instructors working with the cobots must at least be present to provide the cobots with the necessary guide.
Safety endorsement can be troublesome
Obtaining safety approvals for cobots’ business cannot be difficult. That can be attributed to the existence of numerous safety regulations, and any relocation of the cobot, or the variation or addition of the cobot’s usual tasks, or even the variation of the cobot. All these factors may necessitate the acquisition of novel safety certification, which has to be performed by a notified body.
Employees should stay calm and not fear that the cobots will take over their jobs. On the contrary, the cobots are designed to enable the industrial workers to perform their jobs well. The cobots function side by side with a supervisor overseeing its operations. Businesses considering integrating collaborative robots in their day to day operations should weigh between the advantages and the disadvantages before making a move.