Does your company employ the use of any co-bots? Co-bots, or collaborative robots, work hand-in-hand with people, sharing a workspace and often contributing to the same final product. So is this just a modern version of the evil Skynet, or are these robots here to help us? Let’s learn a bit about how we’re beginning to use cobots in the workplace.
Robot v. Cobot
Industrial-sized robots often worked away from their human counterparts. This was mainly for safety purposes, as they could be space-consuming, expensive and hazardous. They were another thing to worry about on the floor. Co-bots, on the other hand, are more like an employee’s third arm.
They’re compact, lightweight and worker-friendly. For smaller shop floors, previous industrial robots have been far too large to accommodate. The cobots, however, can work side-by-side, almost like a coworker. They have multiple articulation points, allowing them to mimic many of the movements of a human arm and hand. They don’t need to work separately from humans, and can easily be halted if any safety concerns arise.
What Can Cobots Do for You?
While initial concerns are that the cobots are going to take away human jobs, that’s not the goal. They can take over dull and repetitive tasks that don’t necessarily need a human’s eye and touch. They promote the upskilling of your staff, allowing people more time for work that they find more meaningful and more beneficial to your company. In a study by MIT, researchers found that using cobots in the workplace enabled human workers to be 85% more efficient.
They can do all kinds of work, from serving pizza to packaging products and depalletizing heavy items. Currently, the only limits are lack of imagination. They’re an excellent source for some forms of quality control. The cobots can hold and inspect products for any kind of defects with a level of detail and attention a human being is not able to dedicate.
One of the great things about cobots is how easy they are to program. Once you have the machine operating, it is basically like using a smartphone. The imperative part of a cobot is the end of arm tooling (EOAT), made so that it can grip and work with small objects while also being incapable of hurting human flesh. There are various kinds of grippers and suction cups that make this possible, depending on the work being done.
The Future with Cobots
For small- to mid-size manufacturers, this could be a game-changer. The cost and size of previous tools of automation have kept many from even entering the game. The flexible cobot can change that. They currently represent less than 5% of all robot sales, but are expected to increase to 34% by 2025. Society is leaning toward a consumer that wants their goods fast, cheap and customized. Using cobots in the workplace will make that possible, freeing up employees to focus more on innovation.
Get the Tools You Need for Cobots and Employees at Custom Tool
At Custom Tool, we’ve got all the tooling supplies you need and can make anything the way you want. We understand that every shop floor is unique, with its own challenges and strengths. This is why we work with you to make sure you get your perfect product and service. Request a quote to learn more.