Collaborative robots have begun taking over the robot market as of early 2017. Research has revealed that the collaborative robot market is expected to grow. Various industries have started taking cobots seriously and are considering them as avenues of pioneering automation in the future.
Collaborative robots are excellent because they can excel in work spaces that had previously occupied by manual operators and execute their previous chores diligently. Cobots are small industrial robots designed with original safety measures such as collision control and force feedback.
The safety measures that are installed in cobots make them safe for manual operators to work around them. Cobots are able to carry out complex tasks, either autonomously or semi autonomously. In industries cobots have various applications this review will offer an in-depth analysis of each.
Applications of collaborative robots in the workplace
Collaborative robots are allocated various functions in the workplace and they include:
Pick and place
Manual pick and place is a very recurrent action that manual operators in industries are tasked with. They are tasks that are very tedious. This can often lead to errors, while the repeated physical movements associated with them can lead to a work place injury.
This is where collaborative robots come in they do not tire, get fatigued or get distracted. Pick and place applications are actually recommended for first time cobot users. Collaborative robots will generally pick an item from one point and place it on another.
Machine tending takes various names including robotic machine tending and automated machine tending. Machine tending therefore is to load or unload a given machine with parts or material. Most applications involving machine tending are done by humans; to help load or unload parts.
Machine tending requires standing in front of an injection molding machine, CNC machine or another machine for long periods to tend to operations. This is along and tiresome process for a human operator. Cobots come in and free up the manual operator and can tend to several machines at a go.
Packaging and palletizing
Industrial palletizing is the action of loading or unloading fragments, boxes or other parts from pallets. This action can involve robots, and is termed as robotic palletizing. Collaborative robots can be solid options for various industries such as shipping, manufacturing and food processing among others.
Cobots have a wide range with distinct reach and payloads. These are highly repetitive tasks that involve small payloads making them ideal for cobots. Conveyor application is required to synchronize the cobot’s movements with the conveyor belt.
Process tasks involve a tool coming into contact with a work piece. Such actions include welding, gluing among others. This procedure is also very repetitive and it takes quite a while to train manual operators on how to do it.
A cobot will perform this action on one unit and repeat it accurately on others. The key merit of a collaborative robot is the ease of programming to handle these tasks by use of the computer aided design technique or position methods.
Finishing tasks are executed by manual operators with tools and they require a substantial amount of force for execution. Vibration emitted by these tools can cause harm to the manual operators.
A collaborative robot can bring in the necessary accuracy, repetition and force required to fulfil finishing tasks on behalf of the manual operator. The robot can learn the craft manually or by programming via a computer.
The final application of a collaborative robot is quality inspection of parts. This procedure involves, inspecting finished parts and part verification againstCAD models. Placing multi-pixeled cameras on the cobots, can enhance the procedure and bring in faster results. Use of cobots for inspection will result in high quality inspection.
To sum it all up, collaborative robots are very useful in a workplace environment. As discussed above, we can see their range of functions is quite high.