Robot technology has improved rapidly, and now have more functionality now than ever before. Previously, robots tended to just have one capability, which meant business owners would need to purchase several robots for just one area of their operation.
Recent technological advances have meant that times are changing, and robots are now capable of carrying out multiple tasks. There has been a rise in demand for a more holistic approach, which is why collaborative robots have become so increasingly popular.
What Are Collaborative Robots?
Collaborative robots are designed to work alongside humans, rather than replacing their roles entirely. The idea is that the robots carry out more of the monotonous, repetitive tasks while the human carries out the more complex tasks. Working in conjunction with each other, businesses see an increase in both efficiency and output.
Traditionally, collaborative robots started off as fixed robotic arms that operated safely around humans within the same vicinity. This definition has changed slightly as the industry has grown, and now adding a robot arm can be added onto any machine. Helping to bridge the skills gap in manufacturing operations.
Benefits Of Collaborative Robots
It is predicted that collaborative robots will account for 30% of the total robot market by 2027, but what is driving this growth? Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of collaborative robots in further detail:
1. Collaboration is encouraged – collaboration between robotics and humans hasn’t always been an option due to safety concerns. The great thing about collaborative robots is that they can be configured by the people who will be using them. This makes it easier for the robot to take over the repetitive tasks.
2. Easy setup and programming – the software used to programme collaborative robots is easy to configure for multiple tasks. This makes them a much more flexible solution, and they can be used within a variety of industries.
3. Improved consistency – the biggest benefit of collaborative robots is their ability to perform repetitive tasks in a consistent, reliable manner. There is no risk of a robot becoming tired or picking up repetitive motion injuries like with humans.
Application Trends In Collaborative Robots
The main cause of the increased demand for collaborative robots is their flexibility and ease of use. Here are some of the main trends where collaborative robots are being used on a regular basis to improve efficiency:
1. Automated picking
Picking is a very time-consuming task, and often requires a high number of staff to carry it out. As the eCommerce industry has spiked during the past year, the need for fast and consistent picking of products has risen even more. Collaborative robots are being developed to select products from a shelf and deliver them to a finished goods area. Have you seen our automated robot in action that we engineered for a customer?
2. Assembly line
A collaborative robot is a great addition to any production assembly line as it supports workers with manual and repetitive tasks. This means outputs are higher, and with bespoke collaborative robots they can be automated to meet your exact requirements.
3. Materials handling
Material handling collaborative robots can tackle some of the more physically demanding, hazardous jobs on a production line. If collaborative robots are engineered with a payload up to 10kg, this can help improve worker safety and increase efficiency within a manufacturing line.
4. Packing & palletizing
Packing and palletizing are both very important, but laborious jobs and it is easy for workers to become bored in this role. Collaborative robots can step in and link up with conveyors to help improve packaging processes.
5. Automated replenishment
Another repetitive task carried out in production assembly lines is the replenishment of raw materials. Using a collaborative robot to perform this task can greatly increase production speed. They can be automated to deliver the materials to a specific schedule, meaning that there is no downtime and the output stays consistent.
If you are interested in finding out more about collaborative robots and how they could help to improve the efficiency in your business, contact our expert team today.