Automation: The Safe SolutionCollaborative robots, or “cobots” work together with humans without posing unacceptable risks of injury. Cobots tend to operate more like humans, working at a human pace, capable of lifting payloads like a human worker. Industrial robots on the other hand, which are heavier, larger, and typically moving at a faster speed, pose a significant threat to unprotected human workers, requiring safety precautions such as fencing. Cobots, therefore, offer a way to protect more workers in applications that once were beyond the ability of a traditional robot or production equipment.
Etalex; a Canadian manufacturer of shelving systems had no room for safety guarding in front of the press brake and needed a flexible user-friendly robot that could safely handle the pick and place tasks in a high traffic area. The UR10 robot was up for the challenge. Machine operator at Etalex, Richard Clive, stresses how the UR10 has made the workplace ‘a 100% safer.’ “Before, you had to put your hands close to the brake press. There’s always a chance of an accident happening at any time. But with the Universal Robots, there is no chance of anyone getting injured.”
Unlike traditional robots that require engineer-level programming, cobots are designed to make programming simple through human-machine interfaces (HMI) familiar to anyone who has used a smartphone. By eliminating the need for formal education in programming or robotics, such interfaces and capabilities make the skills gap and learning curve for using cobots diminishingly small. This also greatly reduces the time, effort, and cost associated with using the same cobot for various tasks as a cobot’s flexibility translates to a significantly faster return on investment.