Cobots or collaborative robots are more compact, cost-efficient, and flexible than traditional robots. When we think of robots, our mind generally gears over to a big bulky machine that can only do one task at a time. Cobots in this case is like your coworker, you can work side by side doing your assigned job.
Cobots first hit the market in 2008 but were widely known and used during the pandemic in 2020. According to the Federation of Robotics, 22,000 cobots were sold and installed in factories worldwide. Cobots were used to replace factory workers to keep their production lines going. This helped prevent the spread of Covid-19 and didn’t put factory workers at risk.
I know what you might be thinking. Doesn't this get rid of jobs that workers are currently assigned to? And the answer is not so much. In an article by Ricardo Garcia, it states:
“However, the notion of cobots replacing employees is not really the case. Employees who used to perform a certain task are now programming and maintaining a cobot that will do the work for them, so their jobs have become more enriching as well as safer and more enjoyable.”
Cobots can also be placed in conditions that workers would not want to place themselves in. This could be working with dangerous chemicals or working in extreme hot and cold conditions.
It is predicted by 2026 that there will be 47,000 cobots sold to factories worldwide.
But what's the difference between a cobot and an industrial robot? The simple answer is industrial robots are more rigid and require a lot more space and time, and cannot work side by side with people due to the risk of injury or harm. Cobots, on the other hand, can do everything an industrial robot can’t. Some benefits of cobots include:
Quicker set up
Flexible movement and setup
Can work side by side with humans
Reduce labor costs
Take a look at this video by Universal Robots on Youtube outlining the benefits listed above.
Would you incorporate a cobot on your factory floor? Let us know in the comments below!