Automated manufacturing remains a key priority in many industries across several sectors for apparent reasons. Automation makes work easier, faster, more accurate, and productive. It is for this reason that robot-manufacturing companies continue to implement innovative new robotic functionalities.
Startups and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are increasingly catching up and relying on automated processes to achieve a considerable improvement in the efficiency of their processes and labor. However, most SMEs are hesitant to invest in robotics because of what they know about conventional robots.
Some of the characteristics of conventional industrial robots that might put off willing small businesses from implementing automation include their costs, complexity, and large footprints. Furthermore, the break-even period for conventional industrial robots is exceptionally long, making them costly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The most significant and exciting development right now is an alternative to the traditional industrial robot. That alternative is collaborative robots. Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are cost-effective, easily programmable, and work alongside, engage with, and support human employees.
Cobots are becoming increasingly popular primarily due to their intuitive programming manner. Cobots are cutting-edge automation systems that allow you to create new machining options while also increasing your ROI. They provide a point of entry for incorporating automation into small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Cobot manufacturers such as Universal Robots also advance the state of automation by making it easier to integrate third-party accessories, such as distinctive robot arms, welding heads grippers, vision systems, and command and control software, into their machines. Universal Robots offers more than 300 products in the UR+ system, and there are numerous more on the way.
Benefits of investing in a collaborative robot
1. Easy to set-up
Traditional robot deployment takes a long time to implement, depending on the size of the organization. Furthermore, you need professionals in robotics to put all the computer components together and program them before use. The cost is one of the reasons small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often hesitant to invest in robotic.
Moreover, these businesses do not have enough funds to hire programmers and robotic experts who come cheap. Collaborative robots, on the other hand, are simple to set up because the manufacturing companies provide all the details and training needed during implementation. The majority of cobots can be up and running in just a day.
The cobot’s operator programs and trains the cobot arm to follow a predetermined path and perform all the required applications, making them ready to work in the shortest time possible. Furthermore, technological advancements provide cobots with highly sophisticated features and capabilities that make them readily available for instant use.
Some of the features include adaptive grippers, suction cups, and vision systems for object recognition. Each feature provides a distinct advantage that helps in increasing productivity. Additionally, it is easier to train the workers how to program a cobot to complete the applications needed than with a conventional industrial robot. Cobot displays are incredibly user-friendly, saving SMEs from hiring professionals to assemble and program the devices.
2. Improved human workforce safety
Employee safety is the primary concern for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in adopting automation. Because of their rapid and heavy movements, complex and large industrial robots stay inside defined spaces or cages, rendering them unsuitable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).
In contrast, small and light collaborative robots adhere to the industry-standard ISO/TS safety regulations. The regulations assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in ensuring that their employees have a safe working environment. Cobots provide this safety as they can work safely alongside humans without worrying about any dangers.
You can also choose from various cobots to suit the needs of your business. Many of the cobot varieties have sensors that detect the amount of force a human can withstand. Whenever they come across an obstacle, they stop their activities immediately.
With the help of sensors, the cobot can also stop or slow down if a worker gets closer or appears to work inside a delineated periphery. Cobots perform recurring and accident-prone tasks at a much acceptable speed than humans. They also free workers from taking on hazardous jobs that may lead to injuries and fatalities, saving work-related accident expenses.
3. Extremely cost-effective
Due to the lower cost of these innovative cobots compared to industrial robots, SMEs can invest in automation easily and increase production. While calculating (ROI) for an industrial robotics system, you should factor in the initial cost and any added expenses, such as attachments, installation, modifications, and upkeep.
Installing a collaborative robot is straightforward and incurs none of those mentioned above costs. Once a firm invests in a robotic gripper or arm, no extra spending in implementation technology is necessary. Cobot just need you to program it, and you are good to go. Cobots have a better prospect and ROI than traditional industrial robots, making them a good choice for SMEs.
4. Increased adaptability
As digital conversion becomes the standard in production, SMEs confront the problem of building and sustaining flexible systems that can accommodate a range of consumer requests.
While some particular industrial robots can increase a business’s output, they are not appropriate for SMEs. Small to medium T manufacturing enterprises often have limited production runs and continually shifting product specifications, restricting them from deploying difficult-to-reprogram industrial robots.
Collaborative robots are lighter and easier to configure, allowing rapid turnarounds with minimum installation effort and time. Without fences, it is easy to move the cobots around the production or operation floor to perform a wide range of tasks.
SMEs stand to gain significantly from the introduction of collaborative robots to the highly competitive market. Besides lower cost of implementation, cobots offer the business many other benefits. If you have a small working space, you do not have to worry about adapting the services of the cobot.
It has a small footprint, works well and safely alongside humans, and you can integrate it with various platforms for other tasks. It can also take over all the hazardous and repetitive tasks allowing your employees to focus on less stressful operations that benefit the company. Cobot increase the company productivity and ROI, and overall, it is an excellent investment for SMEs.