The Workplace of Tomorrow
Tomorrow might be here already. If what is happening in manufacturing plants across the globe is anything to go by, the robots have, indeed, landed. The only difference is they are not here to tear you apart from limb to limb a la Hollywood.
Working alongside robots is now a reality, not just a remote possibility. That is what collaborative robots (cobots) offer. There is a lot to be gained from having humans and robots work collaboratively together.
Collaborative robots are built with sensor and vision technology that makes it safe to work around them. They can ‘see’ you and will slow down or stop operating to avoid a collision. Hence, they do not need to be barricaded behind a cage to keep you safe.
Moreover, cobots are much cheaper than industrial robots and do not take up much space either. A Universal robot offers an excellent solution for SMEs that want to automate some of their manufacturing applications.
Why Collaborative Robots?
In a nutshell, they help smaller companies to compete with the larger ones. Cobots come with a host of benefits, some of which are the following:
1. Quick Setup
You can have your cobot working in no time. Industrial robots may take weeks to set up and get working, but a collaborative robot will be ready to roll in a few hours.
2. Simple Programming:
There is no need to get a programming expert to program your cobot for you. A cobot can be quickly and easily programmed via your tablet. Also, you can adjust its arms to program it.
3. Cobots Are Versatile
Collaborative robots are designed to move along the production floor. They are flexible and can be programmed to perform multiple tasks. Industrial robots do not have the advantage of mobility, and they have to be reprogrammed to change tasks.
4. Humans Are Safe Around Cobots
While industrial robots have to be in a cage to keep everyone safe, humans can work around humans. They can sense when there are obstacles in their way, and they reduce operating speed or stop. Hence, they rarely run into humans or things.
5. How to Use Cobots
Collaborative robots are indispensable in a manufacturing set up. They take up the tasks that humans find boring, distasteful, and dangerous. Human works can then take up more meaningful tasks or train for other positions within the company.
Your workers will be happier for it, and happier workers are productive. They have a chance to upgrade their skills and earn better salaries.
Here is how collaborative robots operate:
a) Hand Guiding
This kind of cobot has a device that is sensitive to pressure. You can teach it to hold a part or object and how much pressure to apply depending on how delicate the object is. The device is located at the end of the collaborative robot’s arm.
b) Power and Force Limiting Cobots
A cobot can sense an object in its path. It will either stop operating or reverse to avoid a collision. Hence, they will not harm a human worker if they sense their presence.
c) Speed and Separation Monitoring
This one may not stop if it senses your presence, but it will slow down and try to find you. If you get too close, it will end its operations.
6. Increased Use of Collaborative Robots
Collaborative robots will be found increasingly in the workplace, working in harmony with humans. Aside from competition, labor is scarce for a good number of manufacturing tasks.
Also, the cost of labor is going up. Robots provide a great solution to these problems. They are used to take positions that are left by human workers looking for better positions. This takes care of the worker turnover issue.
The workplace of the future is likely to be highly automated. Advances in robotic technology promise to have more tasks and services automated. As it is, services such as public relations are mechanical. You can easily access virtual assistance and have your shopping delivered by robots.