Cobots have become one of the biggest trends in the robotic industry. These compact, user friendly robots are designed with built-in safety features that allow them to work with humans instead of away from them. Cobots are completely revolutionizing robotic automation, allowing more companies to automate their manufacturing processes. While cobots cannot replace the FANUC Arcmate 120ic and other traditional industrial robots entirely, they do have some advantages over other types of industrial robots.
- • Collaborative - As their official name indicates (collaborative robots), cobots are designed to work collaboratively with humans. There is no other type of industrial robot arm that is currently capable of doing so. Traditional robot manipulators are required to have their work area closed off with barriers and other safety devices in order to prevent workers from their operation. Cobots feature several built-in safety features such as robotic force sensors, force limiting motion, cameras, rounded exteriors and no pinch points. These built-in safety features allow the Universal UR5 to directly assist workers with tasks. Cobots can automate repetitive, low-value tasks allowing workers to focus on more critical processes.
- • Easy to Program - Cobots are easier to setup, program, and operate than a traditional robotic manipulator. Traditional factory robots typically require complex installations and computer based programming. Cobots offer out of the box setup and quick programming through hand guidance. The Universal UR10 can be up and running almost immediately. Hand guidance programming allows users to program applications by guiding the cobot arm through the application steps. Cobot users forgo the long periods of programming downtime and computer coding of more traditional articulated robots. The ease of programming allows cobots to be deployed for multiple tasks with little disruption to operations.
- • Less Equipment Needed - Cobots require less extra equipment than other types of manufacturing robot arms. Traditional six axis robots need extra safe guarding devices such as fencing. Since cobots feature built-in sensors and cameras they do not need extra safety equipment. This makes them easier to integrate onto production lines. It also allows them to be easily relocated to assist with another task.
- • Quick Changeover Times - Cobots allow for quick changeover times due to their hand guidance programming and ability to be easily relocated. Companies that manufacture a high mix of parts can really benefit from automating with collaborative robots. Cobots can easily automate multiple tasks or projects with minimal downtime for programming. The FANUC CR-7ia can automate an assembly application and be reprogrammed within minutes for packaging. Traditional assembly robots can also automate multiple tasks but their programming takes longer causing slower changeovers. This is why productions with a low volume and high mix of parts have not been considered good candidates for robotic automation in the past. Now with cobots automation can be easily justified.