Collaborative Robot (Cobot) is a robot specifically designed for direct interaction with a human within a defined collaborative workspace. In contrast, industrial robots are hard-coded to repeatedly perform one task, work independently and remain stationary. A cobot, when working side by side a human, can quickly learn tasks through demonstration and reinforcement learning.
Key Cobot Features
- Safety-rated Stop Monitoring – They are mandated to conform to safety guidelines EN ISO 10218 standard Parts 1 and 2 and the ISO/TS 15066.
- Hand Guiding – Teaching by Demonstration – Tasks are solved through compliance, rather than programmed positions. The Cobot’s behavior can be easily programmed.
- Speed and Separation Monitoring – To provide a flexible and safe environment, they can be programmed to work at safe speeds when operations are done near humans.
- Power and Force Limiting – They are programmed to immediately stop even if there is a very small disturbance from an operator. Human safety is the priority for a cobot.
- Operation in Automatic Mode with a Person in a Collaborative Workspace – When the person acts, the cobot reacts.
- Incorporating Specific Safety Design Features to Protect the Person from Injury.
- Can have both Autonomous and Collaborative Phases in an Automatic Work Cycle – Flexible adaption of the cobot’s characteristics to an individual task.
- Machine Tending
- Quality Inspection
- Assembling Products
- Testing Products
- Loading & Unloading
- Screw Driving
- Easy Programming – Operators require no robot programming experience to set up and create fully functioning tasks, and it only takes a matter of minutes.
- Easy Set Up –An untrained operator has the ability to unbox, mount, and set up the first program in less than an hour.
- Greater Flexibility in the Human Environment – Cobots can work in complex human environments without being encumbered by large cages and the external sensors and barriers that often accompany them. This allows facilities to deploy robots, remove robots, or deploy humans within one central work space, enabling flexibility that is required by a lot of high-mix, low-volume manufacturing facilities. It also frees floorspace and can lower the cost of implementing robotics for many manufacturers.
- Collaborative – Ergonomics in the workplace have become a focal point in operations. The cobot can work right alongside operators with no safety fencing. This helps eliminate the dull and repetitive jobs that can cause strain on workers. Built-in sensors shut off the robot the moment it encounters a foreign object.
- Increased Human & Robot Efficiency – This is the most obvious benefit. When working with robots, usually the operator loads parts to a fixture, conveyor, or turntable. Next, the operator leaves the work space, and the robot does its work. With cobots, the operator can give the part directly to the robot and never has to leave the work space – reducing time, cost, and floor space.
- Safely Handle Complex and Dangerous Tasks – In cases where safety and complexity are paramount, not only do cobots work side-by-side with a human counterpart, but they’re also able to complete complicated and dangerous tasks that traditional robots or humans simply can’t. Applications like steadying the motion of surgical tools or lab operations to prevent human error from causing unwanted motion are at the forefront of the collaborative robots industry. This paves the way for humans to rely on the inherent benefits of robots while improving complex and dangerous techniques.