What is a Cobot?
Robotics is one of the fastest growing segments of the technology and manufacturing sectors today. Over the last decade, collaborative robots, commonly called cobots, have emerged as a dominant technology on every manufacturer’s mind. With advances in safety, control, and other hardware technologies, robot manufacturers are able to deliver a product that is both cost effective and inherently safe to operate.
Unlike their non-collaborative counterparts, cobots are simple and easy to program. With minimal training, your workers can move your lightweight cobot from one location on your manufacturing floor to another and reprogram it for a new task in just a few hours. Some cobots can be redeployed in just a few minutes with Robot27’s custom user interfaces. Having the flexibility to move the cobot from place to place instead of tying it down to one working cell is one of the greatest advantages of cobotics.
Works right alongside your operators
Cobots are robots designed to work right alongside their human operators. Integrated force sensors allow cobots to stop their motion if it comes into contact with a foreign object – whether it is a working surface, an obstacle in its path, or perhaps its operator. With the addition of sensors and other safety devices, the cobot’s operation can be slowed or stopped based on an object or person’s proximity to the work area. This key feature often eliminates the need for completely fenced-off work cells which take up valuable space on your manufacturing floor.
Cobots are often used to assist their operators for particularly repetitive or hazardous jobs. Programming a cobot to assist its operator by painting a part inside a paint booth, handling an awkward or sharp object, or performing a particularly repetitive task prone to precision errors helps increase your efficiency while also increasing workplace safety. It is important to stress that cobots do not replace workers. Instead, cobots augment your existing workforce by handling some tasks for your employees. This allows your valuable workers to perform more fine detail-oriented work or other tasks that are better suited for humans while improving workplace safety, precision, and repeatability.
Watch this video from Universal Robots that demonstrates how a collaborative robot arm can automate virtually anything – from gluing and mounting to pick and place, and packaging. A robotic arm can streamline and optimise processes across your production operation.
Robot27’s partner Universal Robots has sold over 30,000 collaborative robots to customers all over the world since 2009 in a market that is expected to grow exponentially over the next 5 years.
Smart automation can allow your company to bring back parts or all of your production to the US.
No more language barrier, time zone problems, production surprises, renegotiations, quality issues, long inspection trips. Bring production in house and under your direct control all while being price competitive with overseas production. Too good to be true? Watch this interesting video from the CBS Evening News.
So what are the other benefits?
Eliminate dangerous, repetitive and dirty jobs
Everyone want jobs, but no one wants a dangerous, dirty job. Increase the quality of life for your employees while reducing your insurance risks and increasing your production flow.
Increase your competitiveness
Reduce per-piece cost of production.
Vastly increase production speed by eliminating bottlenecks
UR Robots are much faster to test and deploy than traditional integrated robots. This allows us to implement in manageable stages rather than as one large project. First we do a schematic design of the entire proposed system. We identify the worst bottlenecks, and eliminate them first. Then we reanalyze the system to identify the new bottlenecks and eliminate them. The cycle repeats until further automation is no longer cost effective.
Why Universal Robots?
UR arms can be implemented in virtually any industry, in any process, and by any employee. Around the world, more than 30,000 operating UR robots are a testimony to just that.
Whether you are looking for a robotic solution for the sake of precision, speed, optimization or ergonomics, we can help you. And probably at a price that will surprise you. UR robots have an average payback time of just 195 days, which makes them the most favorable on the market, within the reach of most companies. But that is far from the reason why Universal Robots is the world’s Number 1 in collaborative robots.
The UR robots can work collaboratively right alongside employees due to built-in force-sensing causing the robots to automatically stop operating when they encounter obstacles in their route. The robot can be programmed to operate in reduced mode when a person enters the work zone. When we say collaborative we don’t, however, just apply the term to safety. We use it in a much wider sense; while safety is imperative, we believe being collaborative is as much about being user-friendly, easily re-deployable and accessible. In our opinion the future is collaborative – and we are here to bring it to you. (From Universal Robotics)
Universal Robots is the fastest growing robotics company
Since its inception in 2005, Universal Robots has continually pioneered advances in collaborative robotics. As the global leader in a market expected to reach $600 million in 2019 and $7.9 billion by 2027 according to Interact Analysis, UR is always looking for a way to keep its nearly 50 percent market share in new and innovative ways.
Earlier this month, the Boston Globe reported that UR hired nearly two dozen employees from its former competitor Rethink Robotics of Boston, Mass. which is currently reorganizing under Germany’s Hahn Group after shutting its doors suddenly last year. UR President and CEO Jürgen von Hollen had “nothing but nice things to say” about his former competitor Rethink, stating that they were “One of the best competitors [UR] ever had” which pushed UR to continually improve its products. Robotics.org notes that the acquisition of some of Rethink’s top minds “will help expedite UR’s strategic ambitions and actions” over the coming years – especially with their knowledge of the cobot market and the needs of its customers. Rethink’s two collaborative robot systems, released in 2012 and 2015 respectively, were somewhat doomed to fail due to the cobots’ reliance on an imprecise spring-actuated motion control method. Despite this limitation, Rethink’s cobots sporting multiple-axis control, embedded and external vision, and built-in force sensing made a sizable dent in the cobot market.
While the Globe reports that the cobot market had “plenty of room for UR and Rethink to coexist”, it is hard to say for sure what the future may bring. More and more companies are entering the cobot market – from lower-cost UR copies from Asia to many of the traditional robotics companies like Kuka, Fanuc and ABB. The traditional robotics companies certainly have the pedigree and the talent to saturate the cobot market with new products. However, only time will tell how well these new market entrants will stack up against UR’s well-established cobot brand. It is obvious that cobots will be the automation segment to watch over the next decade.
Despite the increase in competition, UR continues to innovate to keep its edge in the global market. UR’s new e-Series cobots feature a redesigned programming interface and a host of new features and upgrades making them easier to program, redeploy, and operate than ever. You can read more about the e-Series in a previous blog post. Robot27 deploys UR cobots – which boast some of the fastest returns on investment in the robotics world – in most of its automation solutions.