The world has witnessed an immense shift of robots from a static and caged work environment to workplaces with a human workforce. Additionally, robots have moved from handling only heavy-duty industrial processes to activities such as offering assistance and supplementing skills.
Collaborative robots, better known as cobots, are changing the narrative behind human-robot relationships in the manufacturing sector. Companies of all kinds and scopes are finding tactical reasons to put their money in a collaborative robot, and study shows that they couldn’t be wiser. That is because of the advantages that collaborative robots offer manufacturing industries.
Benefits of collaborative robots
Most recently, manufacturing industries’ productivity has constantly been rising, mainly attributed to the rising uptake of cobots by most manufacturers. Collaborative robots have transformed the manufacturing sector thanks to their advantages, which are as follows.
1. Fast installation
A robot’s installation can take up to three days or more, given their sizes and complexities. On the other hand, you can install a collaborative robot and be done within 30 minutes or 1 hour at most. That means you can use a cobot within one day of purchase, delivery, and installation.
Cobots have user-friendly software, making it easy to utilize within the shortest time possible after installation. In the event of a go-slow by employees, you can be assured of completing your tasks on time without incurring any extra costs.
2. Quickly programmed
Conventional robots are complicated and require extensive knowledge plus time to program, and more often than not, they are programmed to perform a single task. On the contrary, cobots are easy to program, thanks to their user-friendly software. Collaborative robots can easily be equipped with new actions through user-friendly software plus mobile applications.
Setting a cobot to a preferred position is possible. Since cobots are easy to program, cobots can be tasked to handle varying jobs and at varying locations. You can also implement them very easily in a process.
3. Used in more than one department
Cobots are highly flexible and can handle more than one task. Also, programming new tasks to a cobot is simple. A collaborative robot can handle one task continuously and still handle a different task one period after another. Hence, you can look through your manufacturing process and pick more than one task where you can deploy your cobot.
Also, a cobot’s flexibility allows you to utilize it when you need it the most, for instance, during peak periods. That equates a cobot to a temporary employee.
4. More consistent and precise than humans
Cobots are very precise and can never depart from their activities. They perform exactly as programmed, with unchanging power. The only factor that can make a cobot deviate from its actions is when it malfunctions.
Cobots’ consistency means you can have peace of mind when mass-producing a given product. You are assured of getting quality products due to cobot’s consistency.
5. Positively impact employees
By nature, cobots are designed to work alongside human workers. They are not supposed to supplement but complement human labor. They are people-focused and can aid people in performing and refining their work by making it easier. Cobots handle harmful, dirty, repetitive, and monotonous tasks, allowing employees to focus on other activities.
6. Enhanced human and robot efficiency
It’s rather obvious that cobots enhance human and robot efficiency. A human worker can work together with a cobot in the same space, unlike robots where a human worker must leave the work area for safety reasons. By principle, an employee working alongside a cobot benefits a manufacturing entity in terms of saving on space, time and costs related.
Productivity is high when cobots and human workers work side by side compared to both working separately. MIT researchers found that human idle time diminishes by 85% when collaborating with a robot. Hence, a cobot enhances human and robot efficiency.
7. Applicable to small and medium-sized manufacturers
Naturally, most individuals would only consider a robot for a large manufacturing entity. However, that notion of only associating robots with big manufacturers is slowly fading with the invention of collaborative robots.
Collaborative robots have made automation possible for small and medium-sized entities because they are smarter and more accessible than conventional robots. Small and medium-sized companies profit from cobots and their many industrial uses such as assembly, polishing, sanding, sorting, packaging, loading, and unloading.
8. Increase ROI
ROI stands for Return On Investment; it implies the time it takes for a business to recoup its investment. Though expensive, investment in a collaborative robot can be recouped in less than one year, given their multiple applications. Collaborative robots can work together with a human workforce in the same environment. Hence, productivity increases, and the use of cobots minimize labor costs.
Also, cobots can work consistently round the clock, implying high productivity. With the quality products by cobots, the products can fetch high prices in the market and generate loyal customers. Hence, with the increase in productivity, a business can recoup its initial investment in the cobot in the shortest time possible.
9. Safely work on complex and harmful tasks
Collaborative robots have sensors that enable them to work side by side with humans. Cobots stop when they sense humans or any barriers in their working area, ensuring a safe working environment with the human workers.
Also, cobots can handle complex and harmful activities that humans or traditional robots cannot. Complex and risky tasks range from hospital operations to industrial boiler-related tasks. A cobot comes in to complete such applications, ensuring nothing goes wrong, and that optimal results are attained.
Collaborative robots are the best thing that ever happened to manufacturing entities. They are very advantageous in very many ways. Its benefits include enhanced workplace safety, enhanced ROI, applicable to small and medium-sized entities, and enhanced human/cobot efficiency. Furthermore, cobots are advantageous in that they are easy to install, quick to program, are consistent, can be utilized in more than one department, and positively impact employees.