Before diving into the unexplored boundaries of Cobots, it is important to understand that they were never meant to replace humans. Their main purpose is to assist workers and make their tasks more effective and efficient. That’s why they are called Cobots or Collaborative robots. With this in mind, let us explore the new horizons of Cobots.
The misuse of Cobots:
Sometimes, Cobots are not utilized to their full abilities and end up in some mid assembly line task. The main reason behind this is that, currently, robotic solutions are oftentimes approached with a mentality of automation (automation mentality?). This causes the designs to be robot-centric rather than human-centric. Safety, production speed, and final check are some of the factors that keep Cobots from being used at full potential.
Search for a Real Collaborative Application:
Applications, where Robots are working in a responsive and co-operation way with humans should be considered as real collaborative applications. Currently, the majority of the Cobots work as Co-existence or Sequential Cobots. This means that these Cobots do not interact with humans other than by sharing the same workspace or doing tasks one after other in sequence.
Success with a collaborative approach is only possible when a Cobot and a human can work on the same part or when the Cobot responds to the human’s work in real-time by completing the task. Some examples of fruitful Cobot applications can be noted in the automotive industry. General Motors, Audi, and Volkswagen are known to use a collaborative approach during final assembly and check.
There is still a long way to go before real collaborative applications are utilized as much as standard industrial robots. Moreover, it should be mentioned that the use of Cobots is not limited to assisting us in industry productions. They could also be used for small tasks like bottom-up beer tapping, cocktail mixing, gluing applications, placing golf balls on a driving range, and a lot more
Extension of human limbs (third arm):
We all have our limitations while working. We only have two arms but, with the help of Cobots, we now have the possibility of a third limb. We can program them to do things that make our current work easier, more accurate, and faster.
Cobots can alleviate the harshness of repetitive tasks as well as help with more creative ones. Cobots act as our limbs and help increase the three E’s: Efficiency, Enhancement, and Effectiveness. This boosts the productivity of workers and, in turn, the overall productivity of its industry. Currently, General Motors uses Cobots alongside humans the way this technology was meant to be used: As their workers hold the car’s windshield, Cobots apply the sealant and fix it to the car in cooperation with these workers. It is important to understand that this is just one of the paths that Cobots have to offer. There are still many functions that have yet to be explored.
We need to realize that industry workers are not at risk of losing their jobs in the name of Cobots. This technology is not supposed to replace humans. Instead, it is meant to be used as an assistant. This makes a human’s work more efficient and effective. Currently, Cobots occupy less than 5% of the market for industrial robots.
With the increase in Cobot’s speed, accuracy, and cooperative skills, they will become the first choice of any industry in the future. In fact, on top of doing almost everything that a traditional industrial robot does, Cobots will also be safe to work alongside humans. They will become the mainstream robots in the industrial world.
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