While there is a movement globally to create smart factories and make things communicate digitally, a new trend is appearing on the horizon aiming to bring back the human touch in production. The trend is dubbed “Industry 5.0” or collaborative industries.
This redeployment of human creativity is necessary due to market evolvement and customer requirements demanding a high degree of individualization in the products they buy (as seen in the automotive sector, for instance). Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by Accenture Consulting, 85 % of manufacturers see the “connected workforce” being commonplace in their production processes by 2020. So, while robots are excellent at manufacturing standard products in standardized processes in a high production volume, adding this so-called “special something” to each and every product is a challenge where robots require guidance. Thus, we recognize the need to bring back the human touch to production processes.
ONE TOOL TO PRODUCE THEM ALL
Technology helps humans reach destinations not reachable.
UR10 robot working side by side with a human. Human / cobots collaboration.
At Paradigm Electronics in Toronto, Canada, a UR10 robot works side-by-side with an employee polishing loudspeaker cabinets:
“Collaborative robots is a new technology that allows us to have a human and a robot working in the same workspace. They’re now working in a pendulum type of an operation where they can safely interact, allowing the human to check whether the robot has done an adequate amount of work before the final polishing is handed over to the human. It’s a very hand-in-hand kind of operation,” says Senior Manager of Production Services at Paradigm, John Phillips.
Of course, this means that collaborative robots need to have certain characteristics: They need to be flexible, easily programmable and safe. Only if these preconditions are met, a true collaboration of human and robot can take place and thrive.