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Distinguishing features of cobots from traditional industrial robots

 

With the advancement in technology, industries are now moving away from the regular industrial robots to a more collaborative robot which is the cobot in this case. Cobots are designed and programmed in a way that they can share a work place with humans and partner with them for achievement of the desired results.

Below are some of the ways in which cobots can be distinguished from traditional industrial robots.

Differences between cobots and industrial robots

·  Safety

As mentioned earlier, cobots are designed in a way that they can share a work space with human beings. They work alongside them rather than in their place. For this to be effective they have a safety aspect incorporated in them during their operation.

For instance; a power and force limiting robot, which is the most collaborative robot, is usually rounder and does not have exposed motors, sharp corners or pinch points. These cobots have very sensitive force monitoring devices that detect abnormal forces on its path and is usually padded to dissipate such forces. This ensures that the human operators are safe as they work alongside it.

This is however different in traditional robots, since they work in the place of humans, they operate using a fixed programming without considering the human employees working around them. A reason why they are locked behind fences and cages.

·  Size and agility

Cobots are smaller in size compared to industrial robots. Due to the highly and more developed programming, their sizes are comparatively reduced. Additionally, their inbuilt safety features make them more compact hence most of them appear in small sizes.

These safety feature and reduction in size allows them to be moved from one location to another to perform more tasks. Unlike cobots, the traditional robots cannot be easily moved due to their large sizes and still the requirement of fencing or caging them makes their deployment more difficult.

·  Easy programming and integration

Cobots can be easily reprogrammed to perform. Compared to the traditional robots that require advanced programming, cobots are capable of learning quickly and can be given instructions without coding using a graphic user interface. For instance, when using a collaborative robot arm, the operator will perform the required movements, this cobot will then remember the movements and repeat them accurately.

Due to the ability of reprogramming, cobots can be flexibly reprogrammed to perform various jobs without changing the production lay out. This is not the case in traditional robots as their purposes are pre-determined before they are manufactured and if they need reprogramming, they consume a lot of time as they require more specialized and complex programming skills.

·  Economical

Collaborative robots are more economical than traditional industrial robots. This is evident due to various aspects that include the following;

                    i.   Occupy a smaller area in the industry due to their smaller sizes

                  ii.   Can be reprogrammed to perform other tasks therefore reduces the cost of production

               iii.  Do not require additional safety measures such as cages and fences as they are incorporated in the robot.

All the above contributes to the cost saving of the industry while also improving its productivity.

·        Easy to operate

Most of traditional robots require complex procedures to operate whereas most cobots are designed and programmed in a way that the employee can easily operate, for instance; some utilize tablets or tailored devices and displays that provide simple instructions for operation.

For instance, when using a collaborative robot arm; one can use a touch screen tablet that has waypoints and arrow keys that give guidance when moving it to the desired position.

In conclusion, it is evident that the distinguishing features of the collaborative robots have brought in a variety of advantages that are not found in traditional robots. One that stands out is the return on investment that is clearly depicted from the above illustrations.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that, when implementing cobots it is very important to conduct a risk assessment that aids in mitigating the possible risks that have been identified.

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