Everyday technological advancement has accelerated automation in the manufacturing industry. According to a survey, the global revenue generated by industrial robotics is expected to exceed $3 billion. With rising user demand and the expansion of the 4.0 industry, this figure would almost certainly skyrocket. However, the debate between robots and Cobots continues.
To be more specific, industrial robots provide total automation in the workplace, which means that robots work for humans. They take over tasks that require precision, are potentially dangerous, and take a long time. Cobots, on the other hand, are designed to collaborate with humans. They, too, replace some manual tasks performed by humans but do not eliminate them. Cobots work in interaction with humans assisting them at work. They in a way improve the productivity of the work and at the same time leverage the production capacity.However, someone with hands-on experience with such bots would state: Cobots are way different than robots. But how? What distinguishes an industrial robot from Cobots?
Let’s uncover their major differences!
Putting People First
Where robots are replacing human resources at a tremendously higher pace, cobots on the other end, work in collaboration with people. This increases the total job rate available. Industrial robots pose a threat to humans, but cobots are responsible for job creation. Whereas previously only skilled workers could perform extensive tasks, the combination of cobots allows junior employees to perform the same effect and with greater efficiency. Workers can direct cobots to perform strenuous tasks that would otherwise cause human workers distress. tasks could be done only by skilled workers, and the fusion of cobots allows junior employees to perform the same effect and with greater efficiency. Workers can direct cobots to perform strenuous tasks which would otherwise lead to distress in human workers.
Cobots work in conjunction with humans and so while at work, they can re-program cobots to modify their tasks. A single updation in their functioning enables cobots to learn as they work. Cobots are intelligent and can learn through movements. Only by switching the cobots can the operator teach the same on a new program. On the other hand, industrial robots are not easily programmed. As they are designed to replace human tasks, they are pre-fed with desired instructions, and to infuse any of the desired changes, would necessitate the need of an extensive engineer who owns the knack to reprogram industrial robots.
Considering the fact that cobots are meant to work alongside humans, they are light in weight and can be moved to distant places. Further, cobots can also be placed in different places either horizontally or vertically. Some cobots are so light that a single person can lift and shift the same. On the contrary, industrial robots are meant for heavy manufacturing industries and are largely immobile.
Industrial robots have to deal with heavy manufacturing equipment which might be dangerous for humans and hence they are placed in cages or with safety fencing. However, cobots are tailored to work in close vicinity to humans, they are studded with features that ensure safety and hassle-free collaboration. Few of the cobots have features that immobilize them at a single touch eliminating the possibility of injury to their operator. Also, a few the industries such as the welding industry exposes workers to extreme conditions which might be fatal. Here, cobots emerge as the best alternative deterring the need for workers to work in such situations.
No doubt, industrial robots are highly priced as compared to cobots. However, the concern does not end here. In addition to the price paid for the ownership of the bot, you need to further take into account the maintenance costs, cost of required pieces of equipment, energy consumption charges, etc. Each of these is as important as the cobot itself. Buying a cobot without pieces of equipment that ensure safety might cost you your life. Also, energy consumption is an important factor that determines the effectiveness of a bot. A robot consuming 3000 W of energy and producing huge output is preferred over a cobot consuming 1000 W and producing one unit of output. You need to be wise when assessing the ownership of the cost of both. robots
Yes, cobots seem to be a lot better than industrial robots but not all cobots are the same. You need to acknowledge the fact that cobots are designed to work with humans and so you must not expose them to work in situations that are better suited for industrial robots. As a worker, you should abide by the benefits provided by cobots and use them accordingly. Another aspect of cobots that doubt its preference is the total cost incurred. Both robots and cobots are customizable and hence based on the size and engineered designs, the cost of ownership would vary dramatically. So, judge only when you are clear on your requirements.
True that there occurs a steady shift from robots to cobots. And why not, the latter seems much more effective and beneficial. However, this is just one side of the picture. You cannot make a choice only by knowing the benefits of one over the other. The power lies in your requirement. If you have a big industrial arena, I am afraid that cobots might not be as effective as industrial robots. Now that you know what each means and does, choose the one based on your application needs.