Cobots or Collaborative Robots have been showing up in the robotic market since 2017, and the collaborative robot market is only expected to keep growing, considering that many industries are looking to introduce cobots.

Robots have replaced human labour in critical and risky factory jobs to operate within safety measures. Since the industrial revolution, robots have taken away some of the spatial and environmental dangers that traditional robots tend to cause. Cobots can there successfully work alongside humans in a factory.

Compared to traditional robots, cobots have a more natural interaction with humans. They can comfortably share the same workspace as factory employees, and they can be easily reprogrammed.

Common Applications for Cobots

Picking and Placing

Pick and place robots are designed to identify objects or parts in a factory and package them accordingly. Before cobots, human workers would do repetitive pick and place tasks all by themselves. Because of how mundane this task can get; workers are prone to make mistakes. They are also prone to strain or injury due to repetitive physical motions.

Pick and place robots are best suited for first-time collaborative robot users. All the robot has to do is pick a workpiece and place it in a different location. This could be packaging or sorting functions from a conveyor belt system and tray; however, the latter needs advanced vision systems.

Packaging and Palletizing

This is another subset of pick and place where products are packaged and palletized. Before products can leave the factory floor, they need proper preparation for shipment. This includes; box assembling and loading, shrink-wrapping, and box collating and placing on a pallet for shipment.

These tasks are ideal for cobots because they involve small payloads, and they are repetitive. Businesses running high or low mixes of volume production require rapid product changeover.

 For this application to successfully synchronize robotic movement with a conveyer, conveyor tracking is required. Products with non-uniform shapes may also need a vision system.

Machine Tending

Machine tending in factories requires a worker to stand in front of a CNC or injection-modelling machine, or any other similar device for many hours and keep tending to the machines' operational needs. The worker could need to change the tools or replace raw materials. For a human operator, this is a long and tiring process.

Cobots will free human operators because a single cobot can tend to many machines. This will also increase productivity in the factory. However, these cobot applications need the robot to have input and output interfacing hardware where you can indicate what the robot's next cycle is or when the materials might need replenishing.

Processing Tasks

Universal robots are one of the few robots that feature a specially designed welding end-effector. Some cobots have different end-effectors like glue dispensers for various process tasks. Process tasks need tools to interact with workpieces like dispensing, processing, glueing, or welding.

These process tasks need a tool to go down an already fixed path over and over. Hence, they take a lot of time to train new workers to achieve the required finish. Programming can be finished on one unit and copied to another.

Hence with cobots, human workers don't have to perform precise and repetitive movements. Cobots will ease programming through place and position records allowing workers with welding experience to program them easily.

Cobots also feature a polyscope interface that helps maintain constant TCP speed. This ensures that the cobot deposits material at a steady rate. In these cases, the end effectors are unique because they need to hold a sealant, solder paste, welding torch, or glue.

In Conclusion

In the future, cobots will play more significant roles in the upcoming industrial revolution. The only disadvantage is that many unskilled labour jobs can be rendered useless overnight by cobots. Luckily, new jobs will still open because even cobots need occasional maintenance.