< img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1029820091747592&ev=PageView&noscript=1" /> A simple introduction to collaborative robots - Laserscheme


A simple introduction to collaborative robots

Collaborative Robots, also known as “collaborative robotic systems” or “cooperative robots,” are an advanced category of robots specifically designed to work alongside human workers. In comparison to traditional industrial robots, the design philosophy behind collaborative robots emphasizes the fusion of human-robot cooperation, safety, and flexibility.

This new generation of robots is capable of efficiently collaborating with human workers within a shared workspace without posing a threat to human safety. This is achieved through the integration of various sensors and advanced control systems, enabling the robot to perceive its surroundings and the presence of humans in real time, and respond intelligently. The safety-oriented design of collaborative robots allows them to interact closely with humans without the need for isolation devices or protective measures.

Why Collaborative Robots Are Needed?

1.High Deployment Costs of Traditional Robots
Traditional robots, despite their reasonable individual costs as high-end equipment, incur substantial expenses when it comes to installing and operating them within a factory setting. Current industrial robots primarily handle repetitive tasks within factories, relying on their exceptional repeatability in positional accuracy (the ability to reach specific fixed positions in space, often achieving precision of 0.02mm or less) as well as a fixed external environment. Ensuring this level of accuracy not only demands stringent robot design but also necessitates placing the products to be processed in consistent positions, enabling the robot to reliably pick up items or perform tasks in the same location each time. For modern intricate assembly lines, designing such fixed external environments for every robotic operation along the production line consumes significant resources, occupies valuable workshop space, and requires months of implementation time.

  • High Complexity in Robot Operation
    The utilization of robots poses significant challenges due to their steep learning curve. Only trained professionals possess the expertise to proficiently configure, program, and maintain robots. The average user typically lacks such capabilities.
  • Overhaul of Production Lines
    In scenarios where multiple robots are employed, extensive modifications to existing production lines, and even complete reconstruction, may be necessary. This entails substantial investments and might even involve production halts for reconfiguration. Individual robots cannot be directly integrated into factory production lines; additional peripheral equipment support may be essential. While robots themselves offer high flexibility and adaptability, the entire production line might not. Any alteration to the production line incurs considerable expenses.

2.Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as the Primary Market

Unlike traditional industrial robots, which have primarily served large-scale production, cobots are tailor-made for the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the dynamic requirements of emerging markets. SMEs often operate with small-batch, customized, and rapidly changing production cycles. This contrasts with the resource-intensive demands of traditional robots that necessitate significant investments and fixed production environments. Collaborative robots offer a solution by seamlessly integrating into diverse production lines, minimizing deployment costs, and boosting flexibility. Moreover, they address the safety challenges of working alongside humans by employing advanced sensors and responsive algorithms, enabling safer human-robot collaboration without the need for extensive safety fencing.

Collaborative robots, designed with these challenges in mind, are well-suited for SMEs and emerging markets. They offer enhanced safety features, adaptability, and user-friendliness, making them more accessible and conducive to the diverse needs of such enterprises. Their ability to operate effectively in close proximity to humans, without compromising safety, enables them to address the demands of modern industries where variety, flexibility, and efficient human-robot collaboration are pivotal factors.

Limitations of Collaborative Robots

1. Collaborative robots exhibit a drawback in their operating speed, which tends to be slower compared to traditional robots. This reduction in speed is a trade-off to ensure control and collision capabilities. Typically, their speed ranges from one-third to one-half of that of conventional robots.

2. These robots are designed to be relatively lightweight with simpler structures. This approach aims to minimize the kinetic energy generated during robot movements. However, this design consideration comes at the cost of slightly diminished positional accuracy in comparison to traditional robots.

3. The emphasis on lightweight design leads to smaller physical dimensions for collaborative robots. They generally have a payload capacity of around 10 kg or less and a working range comparable to a human’s arm reach. This limitation in payload and reach can potentially constrain their applicability in certain scenarios.

As collaborative robots continue to prove their immense potential in various sectors, such as manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and warehousing, it’s evident that they are reshaping the landscape of human-robot cooperation. With the ongoing advancement of technology, these robots are poised to undergo further evolution, penetrating even deeper into human work environments. This evolution holds the promise of setting new benchmarks for productivity and safety. As collaborative robots become increasingly sophisticated, they have the capacity to address complex challenges while enhancing the efficiency and well-being of human workers. This progressive integration of technology and human collaboration not only paves the way for greater innovation but also underscores the harmonious future where humans and machines work hand in hand, unlocking novel opportunities and propelling industries towards unprecedented heights of achievement.

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