In the manufacturing industry, collaborative robots are the hottest product right now. They elicit mixed reactions with some people for while others are against them.
The existing knowledge and perceptions held on traditional robots are one of the reasons that there is a group of people against cobots. On the other hand, those evangelizing for cobots have had a firsthand experience with them and enjoyed their benefits.
Listed are some of the prevailing assumptions and beliefs held by lots of people on cobots.
1. Cobots will take our jobs
As the name suggests, cobots are collaborative. In the factory, they are more of tools rather than replacements for human employees.
Like traditional robots, cobots will take over work that is dirty, demeaning, dangerous and monotonous. With these tasks taken away, human workers are assigned other high level and more meaningful tasks.
In complex tasks such as assembling electronic components or heavy lifting, the use of cobots helps factory workers avoid harmful health effects related to these particular tasks. Other tasks that cobots help complete are completed faster and in better quality.
2. Automation is expensive
Previously, automation with robots was a preserve of only large companies with similarly large cash reserves that could be used to invest in robots.
In the era of cobots, automation is within reach for every manufacturing entity, big or small.
Cobots are priced affordably and their price recouped within a short period as a result of the benefits they accrue to the acquiring entity.
In addition, they can be leased and paid for by the hour for organizations that are not willing or do not have the capacity to purchase one directly.
3. Cobots are difficult to use
Another often made assumption with regards to cobots is that they are difficult to use and understand. This assumption is very far from the truth.
Cobots are designed to be easy to use. Using a cobot is comparable to using a smartphone. With some training, anyone can quickly learn how to operate a cobot. Cobots do not need specialized programmers to run them.
Cobots are easily taught how to go about tasks in the factory. Through and easy to use interface, factory workers can easily program instructions into the cobot that are then saved on to its hard disk. This makes it easy to assign different tasks to the cobot as need arises.
Setting up a new cobot once it arrives at the factory is an easy process. Assembling a cobot in the factory takes a few hours compared to the many hours even days it takes to assemble a traditional robot.
With quick and easy programming, cobots can be assigned different tasks within the factory. Their ease of use allows for quick change over. In addition, their mobility capabilities allow them to be easily moved from one side of the factory to another fast.
4. Cobots are unsafe
Unlike traditional robots which had to be caged in, collaborative robots work alongside human factory workers in the robot assembly process.
They are uncaged and sometimes, some processes require that you hold them by the hand. Cobot manufacturers design cobots to be accident resistant while on the factory floor. They have rounded and smooth edges to ensure that any contact does not lead to injury.
In addition, as technology advances, cobots have gained the capacity to sense the presence of human beings near or around them. As a result, they are able to respond by slowing down or shutting down only to resume work once it cannot sense human presence.
In addition, some of the tasks assigned to cobots ensure that factory workers do not involve themselves in tasks considered unsafe and harmful to their health.
Safety considerations are part of the design and manufacturing of cobots. This ensures that once they are in use, they will end the streak of fatal injuries that were prominent in the era of traditional robots and make good use of floor space when caging is eliminated.