The pressure facing manufacturers today make running a profitable production line more challenging than ever. The demand to increase the speed and frequency of new product introduction is ever present. With labor shortages hindering production and customer demand for product availability, it’s difficult to remain competitive.
Automation is the key to increasing profitability and productivity, as well as more agility. Manufacturers of all sizes need a reliable and flexible way to accelerate automation. For small to medium sized business, cobots or collaborative robots are a smart, affordable solution. Collaborative robot arms offer manufacturers the flexibility they need to compete, grow and profit in today’s economic climate.
Automation has been a boon to high-volume industrial manufacturing like automotive production for decades. Collaborative robots made automation possible for small enterprises. Cobots are significantly less expensive than traditional industrial robots and can be easily deployed to other tasks and work areas.
Not only are industrial robots expensive but they’re also dangerous, requiring cages, safety fencing and shields to protect workers. That’s not the case with collaborative robots, which were designed to safely work alongside people. They’re equipped with sensors that stop the robots movement if a human or object gets too close.
Cobots are easy to program and require no prior experience. Cobots can perform a variety of tasks without expensive and lengthy reprogramming.
While cobots have been empowering manufactures to run agile operations and increase performance for nearly a decade now, today’s cobots are built to do even more:
• Lift as much as 16 kg
• Apply the ideal force sensing required for sensitive applications such as screw- and nut-driving
• Easily handle heavy-duty applications, including machine tending, heavy-part handling and palletizing
• Deliver full return on investment in less than a year for even the most complex tasks like assembly or polishing
• Be unpacked, mounted and programmed within minutes
• Be on the job in as little as an hour
These advances, backed by a decade’s worth of real-world, successful installations across the globe, make cobots an essential component of every manufacturer’s strategy.
Some of the advantages of accelerating automation across the factory are:
- More profitability: When cobots are the on the job, manufacturers lower the cost of production at scale and increase profit.
- Increased business: Economic uncertainty and customer behavior make it difficult for manufacturers to know how much to produce, as well as when and where. With cobots, manufacturers can scale production up and down as demand requires, switch stock keeping units (SKUs) and expand into new markets more quickly.
- More productivity: Cobots can perform repetitive tasks, 24 hours a day, and are immune to boredom and injury. When paired with a human worker, cobots can significantly increase productivity levels.
- Happy, safe employees: Because cobots free workers from dull and dangerous jobs, it opens the door for them to do more rewarding work. And because they’re no longer doing jobs like sanding furniture or moving sheet metal, they are healthier and more productive.
More value: Consumers and businesses want quality goods at lower costs. Cobots play an important role in improving product quality by eliminating human error, ensuring consistency and accuracy, enhancing the ability to create more complex goods, and identifying errors along the way. Examples of increased quality – and efficiency – can be seen across the world: Tribar Manufacturing, an automotive supplier in the U.S., significantly improved quality and reduced cycle times by more than 50% through its investment in cobots.
Cobots are proven solution for increasing productivity and overall equipment effectiveness, including throughput, yield, availability and downtime. Increased automation can ensure that manufacturers are positioned to succeed, regardless of labor shortage issues and economic uncertainty.