Cobots, also known as collaborative robots, are robots that are designed for direct human interaction within a shared work area. Cobots differ from traditional industrial robots in that they can operate within close proximity to workers without the need for safety barriers. Collaborative robot safety features allow for the safe, direct interaction of cobots with humans. These safety features include rounded edges, elimination of pinch points, limits on speed and force, and the use of safety sensors.
Cobots were first developed in 1996 and were initially used in the automotive industry for final assembly tasks. Since then several of the top robotic manufacturers in the world have developed cobot product lines. In 2015, FANUC entered the cobot world with their CR collaborative robot series.
FANUC’s CR collaborative robot series stands out from their traditional yellow industrial robots with their bright green exteriors. Their cobot series features five collaborative robots. These cobots range in payload capacity from 4 kg up to 35 kg. All have six axes for a flexible range of motion that is ideal for many manufacturing tasks.
FANUC cobots are designed for the safe operation and collaboration with human workers. The CR series cobots are equipped with contact sensor technology that will immediately stop robot operation should it come into contact with a person or object. In addition, FANUC CR cobots provide customizable speed and safety settings, allowing users more flexibility and to make adjustments best for their manufacturing processes.
FANUC CR cobots can be programmed easily by anyone, regardless of robot experience with their hand guidance feature. CR cobot arms can be manually guided by hand through desired application paths. The cobots will then be able to autonomously repeat those movements over and over. CR robots can also be deployed to lift heavy objects for workers through their hand guidance technology.
The CR-35iA was the first cobot to be released by FANUC. The FANUC CR-35iA offers the heaviest payload capacity of any collaborative robot with the ability to lift up to 35 kg. The CR-35iA is covered in a soft rubber exterior coating for additional collision protection.
Since the creation of the CR-35iA, FANUC has released four additional collaborative robots, the CR-15iA, CR-7iA, CR-7iA/L, and the CR-4iA. The CR-7iA, CR-7iA/L, and CR-4iA are designed for lightweight tasks with payloads of 7 kg and 4 kg. The CR-15iA fills in the gap between the other CR models with its 15 kg payload capacity.
FANUC cobots are ideal for automating tedious, repetitive, and highly manual manufacturing tasks. These include automated dispensing, robotic pick and place,automated packaging,robotic palletizing, machine tending,robotic assembly, and inspection applications. They have been deployed to automate manufacturing processes across several industries including the automotive, distribution, metalworking, and packaging industries.
FANUC collaborative robots provide a reliable automation solution that can significantly improve production lines. The elimination of safety barriers allows CR robots to directly assist workers. Manufacturing processes as a result become more efficient and productive while cycle times are reduced. FANUC’s CR cobots are revolutionizing manufacturing by proving robots and humans can work alongside one another.