The reasons why collaborative robotics is the right choice to automate in SMEs

Updated: May 29, 2020

1. Greater space available and safety in the workplace SMEs that want to embrace robotics and automation to increase their productivity often find themselves having to organize work in confined spaces. Complex and heavy industrial robots are usually stuck behind fences and cages which reduce the available working spaces. Cages and protections are necessary for employee safety but often make automation inadequate for SMEs due to the lack of work space. Collaborative robots, on the other hand, are light and after careful risk analysis they can work without barriers as they comply with the safety guidelines of the current ISO / TS 15066 standards. These guidelines help small and medium-sized manufacturers to ensure that operators can work safely with cobots and simultaneously simplify and increase free work spaces. Secondly, collaborative robotics provides for power limitation, force limitation, safety monitoring, speed and separation monitoring which are indispensable precautions in man-machine interaction methods to satisfy both safety and needs. of production of the company.

2. Easy use The integration of conventional industrial robots can take several weeks or even months. In addition, these robots require the presence of experts to assemble and program the various components of the systems. SMEs often hesitate to invest in robotics because they cannot afford to spend a lot of time, effort and money on installing such robots. In addition, these companies cannot afford to hire a qualified robotics programmer to manage these complex robots. Collaborative robots, on the other hand, are easy to configure as they are usually programmed by the operator's movements. The programming displays provided are highly user-friendly. It depends on the application but a cobots could be integrated into a production process in less than a day. The operator can train and program the robotic arm to follow the desired path and carry out the tasks required by production. This technology has made it possible to offer advanced features that make cobots ready for use. The simplified integration of adaptive grippers, suction cups and object recognition sensors offer unique advantages during programming, thus increasing production and product quality.

3. Greater flexibility The trend of the market to "mass customization" is becoming the norm in the manufacturing sector, small and medium-sized enterprises face the challenge of establishing and maintaining systems that offer flexibility to meet the different needs of customers. Although specialized industrial robots can improve a company's productivity, they are not suitable for SMEs. These manufacturing companies typically have small production lots, constantly changing the requirements of the finished products, it becomes impossible to use industrial robots as they are difficult to reprogram. Alternatively, collaborative robots are light and easy to reprogram, allowing quick changes with minimal installation time and effort. Without the need for special barriers,

4. Extremely convenient The selling price of the cobots is aligned with the costs of industrial robots. On an industrial robotic application, however, it is necessary to consider that the initial investment has additional costs which in addition to the anthropomorphic arm are:

  • The integration project (time = months)

  • Layout changes possible (extra jobs)

  • Integration of accessories (compatibility checks)

  • Integration of security systems

  • Implementation and commissioning (time = weeks)

  • Updates

  • Transfer of skills (time = weeks)

Likewise, the integration of a collaborative robot is simple and does not involve the costs mentioned above. Once a company invests in a robot gripper or robotic arm, no other application specific investment is required. The operator simply needs to log in and program the device to start the operation. As a result, compared to traditional robots, cobots have a shorter payback period and higher ROI, making them ideal for SMEs.

This “lights out” production concept—where manufacturing activities and material flows are handled entirely automatically—is becoming an increasingly common attribute of modern manufacturing. In part, the new wave of automation will be driven by the same things that first brought robotics and automation into the workplace: to free human workers from dirty, dull, or dangerous jobs; to improve quality by eliminating errors and reducing variability; and to cut manufacturing costs by replacing increasingly expensive people with ever-cheaper machines. Today’s most advanced automation systems have additional capabilities, however, enabling their use in environments that have not been suitable for automation up to now and allowing the capture of entirely new sources of value in manufacturing. In summary Cobots are new generation industrial robots designed to share the work environment with humans. This technology that puts man and his safety at the center allows the operator to be relieved of repetitive, exhausting and dangerous tasks, making conceptual operations more effective. The concept of collaborative or co-robotics was created to create synergistic relationships between human operators and robots who take on the role of collaborators. Human-machine interaction determines new production systems that aim to increase productivity by participating in the reduction of health risks at work. Small and medium-sized businesses can reap enormous benefits from such advanced automation solutions.

#cobots #SME #robotics

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