Collaborative Bots – COBOTs

Sourabh Tiwari, CIO & Head - IT, OVERSEAS INFRASTRUCTURE ALLIANCETech Evangelist Sourabh is a talented and accomplished professional with over 19+ years of experience in information technology, IT management, business IT alignment & technology deployment

Cobot is a collaborative robot that works along-side humans better than traditional robots. This interacts with humans, save time and money. Industrial robots have been around for decades, but real cobots developed on Denmark universal robotic system. Globally, they are used in neurosurgery, bartending, physiotherapy, filmmaking and many industries. Today, there are about 400UR cobots in India, across sectors, especially automobile and auto-components, FMCG and Electronics industries. Many large companies are going to buy robots because they have no choice. Small and medium based enterprises targeting cobots.

A cobot or co-robot (from collaborative robot) is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. This is in contrast with other robots, designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance, which is what most industrial robots were up until the decades. Robot Vs Cobot are:

1. Partnering in human-machine teams
Classic industry robots are powerhouses that carry out their work following a fixed program, without regard for the people working around them. Accidents are prevented using fences and cages. Cobots, however, are specifically designed to work together with people, not just for them. Instead of being caged, they work in a cooperative environment and assist with complex tasks that cannot be fully automated. For example, they can hand components to human co-workers, who execute the more precise assembly or quality control tasks.

2. Relief from Risky Activities
Cobots fulfill tasks that could be
risky for people, such as safely transporting sharp, pointed or hot work pieces, or dangerous bolting work. This results in fewer accidents and leaves technicians to focus on less arduous aspects of production.

3. `Smart' & Safe Behavior
Cobots are designed to work seamlessly together with their human colleagues. They immobilize at the slightest touch thanks to sophisticated sensors, to prevent any danger to nearby people. Closed areas and safety fencing are no longer needed.

4. Flexible & Teachable
Cobots are very easy to program. Unlike traditional industrial robots, which require specialized programming skills, some cobot models even learn independently. For example, from a technician performing a movement with the robot arm, which the cobot can then automatically reproduce. Other systems can be given work instructions without coding, using a graphic user interface. Employees can thus flexibly reprogram cobots and use them for a variety of tasks.

Cobot adoptions will fully depend on the range of problems it can resolve for multi-variety of users and industries. Cobots will be a helping hand to humans

5. Usable Anywhere
Not only are cobots easy to reprogram, they are also relatively easy to move and utilize at other points on the production chain. Most cobots can be mounted on any surface ­ horizontal, vertical, on the ceiling. And they are often light enough to be carried by just one person.

Robots and Cobots are having different technologies. Any industries with 100 percent automation required robots with sophisticated sensors, cameras, and security systems; which would be an expensive proposition option. While, on the other hand, Cobots emphasize on limited or partial automation features where there is no need of sensors to perform the job; also less costly too. The cost difference between robots and cobots is huge, and that's why this is targeting more towards SME enterprises. The need for product customization, cost and flexibility are driving the growth of cobots. Cobots cannot execute any task by his own, it has to be embed and engineered with specific multi-platform applications. Cobots are currently used by few bank institutions. Cobots do not pose a threat to employment or human jobs, but many companies should rationalize low-level jobs. Companies have also been able to deploy their expensive manpower's to work towards strategical than operational function. Robots having market presence of around $40 billion, whereas cobots having only $1 billion by coming next year. Although, the market for cobots is increasing at a fast pace of 65 percent CAGR- there is still a long way to go and become a main-stream for enterprise performances. Cobot adoptions will fully depend on the range of problems it can resolve for multi-variety of users and industries. Cobots will be a helping hand to humans. Cobots are once again one of the most exciting trends at HANNOVER MESSE. Such as at the flagship trade fair Industrial Automation where opportunities from the latest automation solutions are on display.