Getting SME automation right – which cobot is right for your business
- What do you need your cobot to do? Cobots are hugely flexible - By picking the right gripper, vision component, software modules or sensors, every cobot can be optimized for a large variety of workflows or tasks.
- How can I maximize the value of my cobot? Colloborative robotics are one of the simplest way to start automating manufacturing and industrial processes, and you can get them working and creating value with minimal training.
For small and medium sized businesses, automation is a potential game-changer. For companies with tight margins and labor shortages, inefficient processes can present a big risk to profitability. But SME automation not only improves manufacturing and industrial processes, it helps businesses completely redesign them. Collaborative robots (cobots) are a proven, valuable and accessible way for businesses to start automating low level processes and boosting workplace efficiency, safety and wellbeing at the same time. Picking the right cobot solution is an important first step to unlocking the many potential benefits of SME automation.
Automation isn’t something that SMEs can afford to ignore anymore. It is not only an affordable solution to a number of long-term issues that many manufacturing companies are facing, but with the right training and support from integration partners it is also a lot simpler to implement than many people assume. In workplaces all over the world, millions of workers spend their days performing dull, dirty and dangerous tasks that don’t take full advantage of their skills, experience and insight. Businesses in these sectors want to grow, but a global shortage of labor makes it hard to fill the roles they need.
SME automation and collaborative robot applications are a way to plug labor gaps while also helping to free existing workers from repetitive, unsafe tasks, enabling them to take on higher value activities. Cobots are highly versatile tools that can be adapted to slot seamlessly into most manufacturing and industrial environments. This means making sure you pick the right solution is mission critical. Here’s how to do it.
The many potential benefits of SME automation
The benefits of automating manufacturing and industrial processes can be grouped into two broad categories: commercial and workplace. Businesses are always looking to improve the ways they work, and digitalization and automation have given them more options to do this than ever before.
Collaborative industrial robots offer one kind of automation solution to SMEs. And just like marketing, accounting or data management automation helps companies remove repetitive, time-consuming and manual tasks in the back office, cobots utilize cutting edge software and hardware to remove the need for humans to perform tasks like assembly and packaging. They provide a high degree of precision, are highly scalable and can easily integrate into multiple applications – all of which improves product quality, lowers costs and boosts profitability.
When it comes to the actual workplace itself, cobots are redefining what it means to work in a manufacturing or industrial environment. With existing employees programming, operating and maintaining cobots as they work around the clock performing monotonous jobs, employers are likely to see a rise in workplace wellbeing, job satisfaction and a reduction in health and safety incidents. Our cobots are the easiest to use option on the market, meaning that with a little training and integration support from us, any employee can operate one. With previously manual processes taken care of, businesses can focus on offering the kind of creative technical roles that appeal to job seekers looking to build a long-term career.
What do you need your cobot to do?
Cobots are hugely flexible – and many companies don’t have a full idea about all the different ways they can benefit from this technology. There are a huge range of applications of cobots, but to maximize the effectiveness of your deployment you should focus on a small range of activities you want to automate. For example, if you want your cobot to take on labelling or packaging tasks, you are going to need to customize and program it in a specific way. If you need it to handle dangerous materials you will need to set it up differently. The reach, footprint and weight capabilities you select will all have a bearing on what tasks your cobot is able to do. Being clear on exactly what tasks you need your cobot to complete will help you keep costs down and achieve ROI faster.
It is the broad range of ways you can deploy your cobot that really boost their value. By picking the right gripper, vision component, software modules or sensors, every cobot can be optimized for a large variety of workflows or tasks. Our UR+ ecosystem alone has over 340 certified kits and accessories. And because they take up less space and are quicker to set up and get working than other heavy duty industrial robots, cobots can be easily re-deployed to where they are needed without much disruption.
Making sure your cobot makes business sense
Picking the right cobot for your business is not just about making sure you have the right kit. It’s also about whether it makes business sense. Many people think that cobots are expensive and hard to maintain. But the truth is that cobots are often simpler to deploy for automating manufacturing and industrial processes then people assume, and you can get them working and creating value with minimal training.
This means that your cobot quickly becomes a value creator for your company rather than a cost. Once set up, it will repeat the same task over and over with the same degree of precision and quality, meaning that you may see a quick drop in errors. Even once you’ve achieved ROI, your employees can continue to optimize cobot-powered processes and automate more parts of your operations. Ultimately, this means more satisfied customers, happier employees, better products and business growth.
Taking your business up a level with the right cobot
SME automation allows businesses to do much, much more with limited resources. With cobots you can start benefitting sooner rather than later. For those companies feeling the pinch of labor shortages or tight operating margins, a cobot can start adding value the same day you unbox it. It’s about enhancing the knowledge and skills you already have in your employees, rather than replacing them. There are a lot of options to choose from, not just for the arm itself but the application kits and components application kits and customizations that can be applied too. We are here to help you make the right choice and start unlocking the benefits of automation and the application of cobots as soon as possible.
Get in touch to talk about what you need from your cobot today.