What Can Cobots Be Used For?

What Can Cobots Be Used For?

By: Aiza Gill

With the world becoming more and more automated, most tasks in a production facility can now be run by industrial robots. Unsurprisingly, they have seen massive growth in the last few decades, with a variety of industries capitalising on this opportunity. This is because industrial robots can do tasks quicker than human employees can, plus the end quality is often higher and better. However, getting an industrial robot up and running can be an expensive upfront cost, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that only run smaller production lines.

This is where cobots come into play. They tend to be smaller, safer, and cheaper than their larger industrial counterparts. This means they can stay close to human employees without harming them and are flexible enough to be applied to a variety of tasks. As such, they have seen a rapid boom in the robotic market which is expected to grow significantly in the future. Below, we go over what cobots are exactly, and what common applications they are often used for.

What Are Cobots

Short for ‘collaborative robots’, cobots are mainly intended for human and robot interaction, where they work closely in the same area or workplace. Therefore, cobots are generally designed to be safe, with rounded edges, and typically look like a robotic ‘arm’. Because of these factors, cobots do not need to be put behind a safety screen or cage, meaning they do not take up a lot of space.

Applications Of Cobots

Cobots have a wide range of uses, but overall, they are mainly used to increase efficiency when it comes to doing repetitive tasks, as well as to improve production. Instead of human employees doing these monotonous tasks which may result in human error, cobots bypass all those problems immediately.

Nearly all industries use cobots, ranging from the automobile industry to food and beverage, as well as medicine and pharmaceuticals. We have listed a few of the common tasks that cobots do below that could greatly improve a company’s production line.

Palletizing: This is when products and goods are packaged into boxes and placed on a pallet to either be shipped or stored. Currently, cobots are often used to automate this process. These packing robots are programmed to stack products in a predetermined pattern, which can reduce the chance of the boxes toppling in addition to maximizing the area and number of boxes. This is great for cobots as this task can be both monotonous and dangerous to humans, especially if the cargo is very heavy, which can lead to physical injuries. Cobots can do this every day without rest, meaning the task can be completed rapidly and to a high standard.

You've Heard Of Robots; What Are Cobots

Pick and place: This is another common application cobots can do. Cobots can be programmed to recognise a particular object, pick them up, put them in a designed area, and repeat the process again. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to this task is making sure there is enough supply of products so the cobot can keep picking them. It is best to have a well-structured supply, so the cobot can easily find where the items are and can always move to the same area to get them. Sometimes, this cannot be possible, because items may be in irregular shapes or come in bulk packages. In this case, cobots can be fitted with cameras and robot vision so they can ‘see’ where the objects are.

Checking the quality of a product: Quality assurance is especially vital to a production line because nobody likes receiving damaged or faulty items! It not only gives the business a bad name, but it causes more wastage, leading to higher costs in the long run. Unfortunately, when it comes to human employees, sometimes human errors can slip in. This is because humans do not do well with repetitive and boring tasks. They may also find it hard to see a small blemish or crack. In this case, cobots can be outfitted with cameras to find even the smallest defect that may not be seen by humans. Cobots can also be used to perform delicate and accurate testing due to their built-in sensors, so businesses no longer need to worry about damaging any delicate products before sending them out to customers.

Screwing: Screwing is another simple, yet repetitive task that is often automated by cobots. This is because it demands a lot from workers, who must perform the same task often with the same force and precision. It is simply impossible for a human to maintain the same amount of productivity over a long period of time. Fortunately, this is possible for cobots, and they can even perform it quicker than humans can. This means human employee can go focus on tasks that require creative thinking and strategic decision-making.

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