Automating production processes may seem like a very burdensome process for companies that want to jump straight into the future represented by Industry 4.0.
What is frightening first of all are the costs that will have to be borne which, following the needs of traditional industrial robotisation, would be spread across design, implementation, maintenance, definition of safety plans and installation of the robot operating cells.
No large plants or power systems, no cumbersome security fences and no need to review the company's organic plan.
A Cobot is in fact capable of working in reduced spaces and allows not only to relieve operators of tasks that a machine, thanks to its precision, can perform efficiently, but also to maximize business results thanks to a symbiotic relationship with human work.
Collaborative Robotics and human work: differences with traditional robotics
The Cobot design philosophy is that of Collaborative Robotics – term composed of English Collaborative Robot – which deals with the design and development of intelligent machines, designed to interact with humans, in a workspace, in complete safety.
The collaborative logic behind Cobots therefore ensures that they can work alongside man and with man.
Collaborative robots lend themselves to action different actions and tasks, thanks also to the possibility of being reprogrammed in a much simpler way and without the need for the intervention of specialists.
By acting in the same spaces as human operators, Cobots can also be educated through software systems and it is possible to teach them to recognize spatial coordinates and points in such a way that they can move independently from one location to another, thus making operations quicker.
These characteristics therefore allow a perfect integration of Cobots in any production line.
The exact opposite is true for traditional robots which, static in their position and tasks, act mechanically, narrowing the field of possible interactions with human operators and, given their specific technical peculiarities, require careful precautions regarding the safety of workers who activate them or who operate even in the vicinity.
Thanks to sensors with which they are equipped, Cobots are instead able to recognize not only the space in which they move but also the interactions they carry out with other objects and people, understanding the need, for example, to stop in the event of accidental collisions and avoid them.
The robotic arm that makes life easier
In extreme safety, Cobots can therefore support company work by "getting their hands dirty" together with the operators and making many operations more streamlined and simple.
The focus of their work is the robotic arm with which they are equipped and which, thanks to different "degrees of freedom", i.e. the variety of movements they are able to perform, can perform multiple different movements and actions.
THE Mobot (Mobile Robot) by TOD System, for example, are Cobots designed for the e-commerce and warehouse logistics sectors capable of automating logistics processes and intralogistics, enabling agility and efficiency in operations picking and placing thanks to an innovative mechanical arm, an excellent load capacity (up to 250kg) and a small footprint.
The robotic arm of a Cobot, appropriately equipped with different terminals depending on the situation, can therefore carry out a series of tasks of various types, consequently increasing its potential use and production yield.
To give some examples, in addition to the picking and place operations already mentioned when talking about the TOD System Mobot, the Cobots can be used for tasks such as: palletizing, packaging, food packaging, parts assembly, gluing, painting, sanding, polishing, printing injection, quality control, screwing, and much more.
A further and not secondary advantage of Collaborative Robots is that they can be extremely customizable based on the needs of the companies in which they are placed.
If the programming of a traditional robot, as anticipated, requires a lot of time and a high level of specialization, Cobots can instead be easily programmed and therefore adapted, from time to time, to the specific operational needs of the company. Likewise, in the event that the Cobot were to be moved and "transferred" to another company sector or to a different task, the operation will be very simple to implement.
At this juncture there is also an intuitive but not negligible advantage, namely: small dimensions of Cobots and the weight is significantly lower than the machines derived from traditional robotics.
The non-static nature of Cobots therefore provides enormous advantages to companies that choose and will choose this type of solution for industrial automation which, given its versatility of use and simplicity of programming, manages to adapt to situations not known a priori and therefore to evolve together with the company.
The strong point of Cobots is, in a nutshell, the ability to perfect the performance of the tasks assigned to them, while simultaneously increasing their operational safety.
Last but not least, and as already mentioned, the safety factor is in fact a fundamental plus of Cobots and machines designed and conceived from a collaborative perspective.
Compared to more traditional industrial robots, thanks to advanced native safety, the use of advanced sensors and advanced programming, Cobots are in fact able to respect the safety distances between themselves and the operators, even slowing down when a person enters. in their area of action and to freeze in the event of minimal contact. The logic of total programmability and customization also applies to the times and distances of the stops, once again guaranteeing maximum operational flexibility.
THE Collaborative Robots, ultimately, they guarantee businesses a competitive advantage indispensable, breaking down the limits of classic industrial robotics.