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Collaborative Robots in 2020

by Olufisayo
Collaborative Robots

2019 saw a lot of advancements in industrial automation. 2020 is expected to take automation to yet another level. Technology has never been known to stagnate. Something new is always expected or the existing technology is upgraded.

Automation is all the rage these days. From home automation to industrial automation, robotics has never been more exciting. The industry has grown expeditiously and it is not about to stop. Robots are no longer restricted to huge manufacturing plants only as cobots have proven.

You can walk into any manufacturing facility and see an industrial robotic arm at work.  Collaborative robots are a common sight even in small factories. They are purchased to perform light manufacturing tasks as well as to take over mundane repetitive tasks.

Automation in the New Era

Have innovative ideas come to a halt with all these advancements? Some of the predictions may shock you. One thing is clear though; robotics technology will continue to evolve and grow. This may mean setting aside some of the technology or seeing less of it.

What is the Future of Cobots?

Some industry players expect collaborative robots to take a back seat as the industrial robots take the lead. The feeling is that industrial robots can now be fitted with sensors and can be slowed down. Therefore, they can safely work collaboratively with humans.

       

Be that as it may, cobots are not likely to go anywhere. In fact, they are expected to get into many more industries this decade. Here is a list of industries that will be glad for the presence of cobots.

1.     Packaging

Small packaging tasks are best taken over by cobots. Previously, they used to be performed by humans. They are especially useful in the food industry which has lots of delicate packaging to be done.

For instance, they package pre-packaged soft foods that are ready for transport. These require a robotic arm with an end effector that can grasp delicate objects very gently.

2.     The Automotive Industry

Collaborative robots are relatively new in automotive manufacturing. The industry has been using industrial robots for decades. Nevertheless, some automotive manufacturing tasks demand the use of cobots.

Tasks such as sanding paintwork require a gentler, more controlled touch that industrial robots cannot execute. Cobots are programmed to ‘feel’ when more force is needed.

       

3.     Food Processing Industry

Food processing is a delicate process that requires high degrees of sanitation. There are collaborative robots that are perfectly suited for food processing tasks. They are easy to keep clean and they are programmed for delicate tasks.

In addition, robots can go into cold rooms to fetch frozen foods. Human workers are not comfortable in such extreme temperatures and could end up ill. Moreover, robots are able to work around the clock without needing breaks. They are perfect for this industry.

4.     Electronics

Cobots are recent equipment in the electronics industry. They are used for a range of operations such as the following:

  • Inspection
  • Assembly
  • Dispensing

Collaborative robots are perfect for applications such as high mix, low volume manufacturing since they are easily reprogrammed. All the operator has to do to change programs is to touch a button. They can also use vision sensors for detecting new products.

5.     Agriculture

Some agricultural tasks are repetitive, tedious and boring. Getting enough labour to keep business running can be very difficult. The workforce is always on the lookout for more lucrative opportunities.

       

Cobots are deployed to farms to perform tasks such as weeding, harvesting and feeding fertilizer. They are also used to check plants for defects in order to be able to apply the proper treatments.

6.     Warehousing and Logistics

Tasks such as picking, packing and palletizing are best performed by collaborative robots. They take over these tasks which are not very popular with the human workforce and allow humans to move on to more cognitive tasks.

Conclusion

Collaborative robots will be needed in the new decade. Almost every industry requires the use of cobots. In any case, small and medium businesses, as well as emerging markets, have a need for cobots. They do not have the production might to demand industrial ones.

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