Five reasons cobots boost production for big businesses

There are many tasks where robots can increase productivity and precision whilst relieving operators from heavy and repetitive tasks. Cobots boost production by being able to work alongside human operators collaboratively.

The scope of cobot applications is enormous if you take the time to look for them. Popular applications include pick and place; machine tending and finishing like flash removal, and process roles like glueing, painting and welding. Assembly and sub-assembly lines and even QC roles can benefit from introducing cobots. The first stage is to find and convert existing tasks: the second is to design lines and products for cobot assembly.

Barry Weller, Robot Product Manager at Mitsubishi Electric, looks at five ways cobots boost production and benefit businesses.

Robots will play an ever-increasing role and become game-changers for businesses in the manufacturing, processing and assembly sectors. Cobots boost production, increase flexibility and improve quality levels. Yet, these are not the only reasons to adopt collaborative robotics.

  1. 1. Advanced technology

Key elements fuelling this growth include visual programming, direct teaching, collision detection, integrated vision and extended safety functions. These simplify the use of cobots in applications without the need for physical guards. They also allow cobots to match the level of sophistication of industrial robots while increasing productivity on the factory floor.

  1. 2. Ease of use

As robot technology has advanced, so has ease of use and how they integrate with peripheral devices without needing expert integrators. They offer simplified graphical programming formats that feature icons for functions and flow charts for sequencing processes. This reduces programming complexity as well as development and engineering time.

A wide range of end effectors (e.g. grips and hands) is also available, including electric, pneumatic, hydraulic and vacuums, that are configurable using graphical parameters. Similarly, Mitsubishi Electric’s Assista offers users the ability to set up vision systems using intuitive software. It can also perform other key functions, such as the calibration of a coordinate system using integral AI.

Importantly, businesses that install cobots on their production lines do not need the same level of robotic or programming expertise as standard industrial robots.

  1. 3. Expandability

It is not only the cobots that are easy to use. Auxiliary equipment, such as vision systems and end effectors offer the same level of user-friendliness and interchangeability. Many components offer ‘plug and play’ functionalities so they can interconnect with the robotic arms.

They need no special wiring or adapters, further simplifying the automation infrastructure while also supporting flexibility. If needed, it is simple for users to change components and support a variety of applications using a single robot arm.

  1. 4. Flexibility

Cobots are a new breed of flexible robots designed for use close to people in a shared workspace, or in production cells with machines. Businesses can change the way cobots function and behave through a few simple steps.

These capabilities are also beneficial in allowing users to redeploy cobots from one task to another without extended downtimes. As a result, it is possible to enjoy flexible and agile systems that can help automate mixed product assemblies and small-batch runs.

  1. 5. Cobots boost production

With typical starting prices from £24,000, even small projects can offer a quick return on investment (ROI), often in less than a year. Furthermore, as in-house skills develop, users grow their confidence to tackle further automation projects with larger robots.

Choosing the right cobot provides ease of integration and simplicity of programming, plus sophisticated features like advanced scripting language. Moreover, as user knowledge grows, the applications performed by the cobot can become more sophisticated and rewarding.

Mitsubishi Electric and its UK robot partners offer a wide range of proven machines, training and integration support capabilities to support users.

To save up to £8,000 on an industry leading cobot and download our free collaborative manufacturing whitepaper, please Click Here.

 

 

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