Collaborative robots, otherwise known as cobots, have wowed the robotics industry with their unique capabilities representing some of the most exciting advancements in robotic technology today.
CIMTEC customers have heard a lot of misconceptions about what cobots actually do – and more importantly what they *don’t* do.
To help clear up the confusion, we put together this Q & A debunking the five most common cobot myths:
- ISN’T ROBOTICS AUTOMATION ONLY FOR COMPLEX, LARGE-SCALE OPERATIONS?
When most people think of robots, the image of a large, lumbering box used on assembly lines often comes to mind. But the reality is, with the flexibility of cobots, companies can automate even the simplest of tasks. Regardless of the scale of output, cobots can be deployed for processes that are repetitive, manual, or potentially strenuous for workers – such as pick and place, packaging and palletizing, screw driving, gluing, dispensing, and welding.
- DON’T ROBOTS REPLACE JOBS?
For a long time now, the message within manufacturing has been that robots steal jobs. Quite the opposite is true. Robots actually relieve workers from strenuous and repetitive tasks so that they can take on better, more exciting roles within the company. And, with the robots helping to increase productivity, companies often find themselves in a position to hire more people, thus creating jobs, not eliminating them.
Only 10 percent of jobs are fully automatable, and with cobots the production rises 50% – without job losses. From 2017-2020, robots will create upwards of 2 million jobs globally, but no machine will ever replace human dexterity, critical thinking, decision-making and creativity.
- ISN’T IT A HASSLE TO IMPLEMENT AND MAINTAIN ROBOTS?
It’s true that there are some robots that are large, cumbersome and difficult to operate. One might say they practically require a PhD to run them. But not cobots. Cobots are easy to implement, operate and maintain. And, because they’re so compact and lightweight, there is no need to change the production layout when switching the cobot between tasks. They’re easily programmed or re-deployed and require minimal maintenance.
- Aren’t COBOTS ARE DANGEROUS
With traditional robots, it’s impossible to work with them side-by-side without some serious safety concerns. Given their built-in safety functions, cobots and individuals can work in tandem without needing cages (subject to assessment). Universal Robots new e-Series cobot line has 17 safety functions certified by TÜV Nord and is in compliance with EN ISO 13849-1 and EN ISO 10218-1 machinery safety standards for unobstructed human-robot collaboration.
- AREN’T ROBOTS ARE COSTLY?
There is some truth to this myth – robots can be expensive. But that is not true for every kind of robot. For cobots, upfront costs are typically only 20% of traditional robots, with an average payback period as short as six to eight months. Cobots are cost-effective and their installation requires minimal investment, given they do not need major infrastructure changes. And, unlike traditional robots, they can also be redeployed to different functions in the production line and used around-the-clock.
We hope this helps answer the questions you may have about robots and the automation industry, if not, please contact us, we would be happy to discuss the world of robots with you. Contact our robot support team at 877.524.6832