Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing

Robots in healthcare

On the whole, there is no doubt that more and more companies are now finding ways to automate their production lines. However, this didn’t use to be the case in the past. This is because getting robots to automate your tasks could be very expensive, especially since purchasing and maintaining the robots requires a lot of upfront costs. This means there has always been a barrier to entry for smaller and medium-sized businesses, which may not have the means or funds to start automating their operations.

However, that is all changing. In recent years, it has actually become a lot easier to start automating. In fact, nowadays, small and medium-sized businesses now have the opportunity to automate their manufacturing processes in order to keep up with the competition and customer demand. But why is that? In this article, we attempt to list and explain a few of the popular reasons why. Make sure to read through to the very end to learn more about this topic!

Robots becoming more user-friendly

First of all, developments in the field of robotics have been extremely rapid in the last few recent years. This means that robots are becoming a lot more user-friendly when compared to the past. For instance, consider collaborative robots (cobots). These robots are specifically designed to have a user-friendly interface, meaning that it is extremely easy to program and reprogram them to do a variety of different tasks. This means that operators who do not have robotics experience or do not have an engineering or computer science degree, can also easily work with them without needing much training at all.

The arrival of plug-and-produce solutions

One of the new developments in the field of robotics includes the plug-and-produce solutions. For those not in the know, these are standard solutions that contain everything users need to get started quickly with automating their production processes. For instance, think of a palletizing solution, a box folder solution, and a machine-tending solution. These solutions contain all the necessary components for people to instantly get started. So, that means they include the robot, the gripper, and the controller, in addition to all the necessary software and accessories needed.

Robots can communicate with other machines

Not so long ago, it needed to take a lot of customization and complex programming in order to get different machines and robots to communicate with one another. Nowadays, current solutions have made this process much more easier. For example, many new models of CNC machines are equipped with a few integrated solutions that enable them to communicate with other machines. This saves up on time that is needed to reprogram the robot, making your production line a lot more efficient and productive in the long run.

Robots are now more affordable

When it comes to small and medium-sized businesses, automation did not use to be an affordable solution for them. This is because their production lines were very short, and industrial robots generally required a large upfront cost before getting started. That’s not even counting maintenance costs and training costs, either! As such, automation did not use to be an option for these smaller companies. Fortunately, developments in the field of robotics in recent years as well as the creation of cobots have made automation increasingly affordable for these businesses. Cobots are especially a lot more cheaper when compared to their industrial counterparts, and they are flexible enough to be quickly programmed to do tasks for a short period of time. Meaning that instead of having one robot that continuously does just one task on repeat, cobots can do a variety of different tasks depending on what is available at the moment. This means right now; it is now possible for companies that could not afford it in the past to start automating their production line.  

Quick access to training and support

In addition to increasingly sophisticated developments in hardware, developments have also been made in support and training. Not only have robots become easier to use, but training and documentation opportunities have also increased in recent years. In fact, most of the larger vendors of robots and investing in things such as e-learning, partner portals, and other platforms. These places are where researchers, developers, and users find and learn from each other, which in turn can help with the development of robotics in the future.

Possibility to start off small

In the past, automation used to mean all or nothing, so it was a huge risk for companies to take on. This is because older automation robots were often very large robots, which meant they required a huge upfront investment and demanded customization for certain production lines. This made it extremely unprofitable and expensive for smaller companies or those that had smaller production lines. Fortunately, with cobots, it is now possible to start off small, so companies with a small production line are no longer limited when it comes to automating their processes.

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