The cobot is at the heart of this fourth industrial revolution. While robotics first appeared in factories a long time ago, collaborative robotics arrived in the industry recently.
This technology has therefore developed in parallel with traditional robotics in order to meet needs that the latter could not meet.
The problem of ease of access:
Traditional industrial robots were created to improve the speed and efficiency of a production line.
Installed at a precise location on the production line, they are intended to remain there. Their programming is therefore done in such a way that the robot performs only its tasks, quickly and continuously. If the company wishes to make the robot perform another task, the robot program will have to be completely rewritten and moved to another location. This method is very time-consuming, expensive and difficult to implement.
Collaborative robots thus allow operators to act directly, according to the immediate needs of the company, on the tasks performed by the robot. It is therefore a real complementarity of roles between operators and robots.
As previously mentioned, traditional industrial robots are very inflexible. In addition to the complexity of a total redesign of the robot program, its weight and size make it very inflexible. It is intended to remain at the location decided upon during its first installation.
In addition to the lack of flexibility, the installation of a traditional industrial robot is very expensive because of the required layout and redesign of the production lines. In addition to this, the size of the robot, as well as its safety perimeter requires a large amount of space.
Contrary to traditional robots, collaborative robots are created to offer flexibility to the company according to its needs. First of all, they are much lighter and smaller. It is therefore much simpler to move a cobot along the production line.
In addition to its practicality, the collaborative robot is programmed to bring flexibility to companies. It is possible to modify what the robot needs to do in a very simple way, requiring no programming or robotics knowledge.
It is thus possible to meet different needs in a punctual way with a single collaborative robot, in a much more practical, fast and above all much less expensive way than with a traditional industrial robot.
Traditional industrial robots were created to take the place of operators at certain levels of the production line in order to reduce employee health problems and to increase production rates. In order to reach a high rate, the robot must perform fast movements, which are sometimes dangerous.
These fast movements represent a real danger for the surrounding people. Conventional robots are not equipped with special sensors, they do not detect the presence of a human in close proximity and can be the cause of incidents. This is why traditional robots are surrounded by cages so that no one is allowed in the intervention area around the robot.
The cobots are created to interact intelligently with humans. Equipped with sensors to stop the robot in case of unwanted contact with an external element, manufactured with much lighter and rounded frames, they are much safer for the operators and help to secure the working environment of operators. The speed and power of the cobots is also controlled and governed by safety standards so as not to pose any danger to the operators.
The first incentive for buying an industrial robot or a collaborative robot is the search for an increase in productivity. This incentive is particularly justified when buying a traditional industrial robot because it increases the rate at which tasks are performed and the precision with which they are carried out.
However, industrial robots are extremely expensive and the return on investment for the purchase of an industrial robot can be calculated over many years. They are therefore difficult to access for small and medium-sized companies, especially since they do not meet all needs (lack of agility, concentration on a single product …).
Collaborative robots, also called cobots, are much more accessible than traditional robots. Indeed, the cost of a cobot is much lower than a traditional robot, both financially and in terms of the allocation of space and time to be devoted to deployment. This allows collaborative robots to optimize the ROI, making it particularly attractive to companies.