Your new cobot is humming along, increasing production output, improving quality, helping employees avoid injury and add more value, and in general, is paying for itself day by day. All is right with the world.
Or is it?
How do you know for sure? Even if you’re thrilled with your cobot’s performance, could it be even better? And what if it’s great today, but productivity starts to degrade over time? How will you know? A big advantage of cobots is their ease of use that lets you optimize programming overtime to boost productivity and adapt to process changes, but you can’t just make changes on-the-fly. You need hard data to make sure your changes are effective and that cobot processes are running at their highest capabilities at all times.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential for monitoring your robot and for guiding decisions that will help you get the most bang for your cobot buck, year after year. Of course, your business likely uses KPIs already for everything from employee reviews to measuring the success of overall business strategies, and they’re a great way to measure the performance of many types of manufacturing equipment as well.
Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)—which measures the performance, availability, and quality of a machine—is often considered the "gold standard" KPI for manufacturing businesses. And while it’s used to measure the performance of manufacturing equipment from CNC machines to packing machines, it’s not necessarily the most effective KPI for robotics. You need cobot-specific KPIs that are designed to identify exactly which aspects of the cobot’s operation need adjustment and why.