An Introduction To A Cobot
For a long time, human workforce worried that robots would take their place and make them redundant. The birth of collaborative robots made the worry redundant. Cobots don’t replace humans; they work side by side with them. In this article, we explore what cobots are, how to they help the workforce, and in which industries do they fit.
The latest generation in robotics, collaborative robots work in tandem with human workers without putting them in danger. Unlike old robots that required cages to keep the other workers safe from their rapid movements or mishaps, cobots are entirely secure. These new industrial robots come fitted with sensors and vision technology. The enhancements help the cobot detect the presence of a human or obstacle and stop any activity that might cause harm.
The reason they are on the verge of a global boom is manifold:
- They have a highly advanced computing power
- The cost a fraction of what other robotic technology did
- They are efficient workers for not just big enterprises but also small and medium-sized companies.
Why Are Cobots Evolving In The Different Sectors
The list of reasons why cobots are cropping up in every industry and sector are endless. The biggest one is that they take over the dangerous and often dull tasks of the human workforce. By putting cobots on tedious and repetitive tasks, other workers can be employed for high-level duties or creative responsibilities.
Another reason for the proliferation of cobots in industries is their adaptability. A cobot can be programmed to learn almost any function. For instance, a human operator can teach it how to hold an item, how fast to move, and how to keep it down. Called hand guiding, the arm of the cobot is extremely pressure-sensitive to ensure that the good or object is not damaged during handling.
When it comes to the sectors where cobots are already being employed, there are many. To name a few industries:
- Food Processing
Some real-life examples of cobots are:
- The BMW factory utilises cobots in their car assembly line to assemble small components of their vehicle doors to ensure faster and accurate work.
- The Ford factory in Cologne, Germany, is another place where cobots are being installed on the assembly line. For the Ford Fiesta plant, cobots help install the shock absorbers of the vehicle.
- The Amazon fulfilment centre is one more niche where cobots are employed. In this case, the cobots deliver merchandise that needs to be shipped to human workers. The time taken to complete the task has reduced from one hour to 15 minutes thanks to cobots
Tourism Sector And The Genesis Of Cobots
Manufacturing industry was the first place where cobots found their home. Next came the steel and chemical sector where they could be employed to handle components too hot or harmful for human hands. But there are few areas were collaborative robots are just stepping in and one of them is the tourism sector.
A simple example of cobots in tourism is hotel butlers and luggage porters. Humans traditionally did both tasks, but in recent years, a few hotels are switching them with cobots. Another area in tourism where cobots can be put to work is airports. Currently, the task of picking up luggage and dropping it on the belt either to weigh it for the flight or to deliver it to passengers is performed by humans. Cobots can be installed at luggage belts to transfer baggage from trolley to belt.
These are simple uses of cobots, but all involve repetitive chores which lead to boredom for human workers. By installing collaborative robots for them, they give the blood and flesh workforce the capacity to take on more important duties. Currently, cobots make a small part of the workforce, but the time is not far where they will dominate it. Check Out the relevant article about Adoption of robots and service automation by tourism.