Collaborative robots help small business owners find staff in low birth rate country
01 The short storyBabo Arms has introduced the UR5 cobot to its production process, including making tea, cleaning cups, sealing drinks, and handing drinks to customers. The UR5 cobot can be installed easily and deployed in a physical store or a temporary outdoor venue, making it a perfect fit for a pop-up store setting, a business model for festivals embraced by the Taiwanese food and beverage industry.
02 The challengeUnmanned shops are not a new concept, but Babo Arms wanted to maintain customer intimacy while the production line becomes automated. In a traditional tea shop, there must be employees responsible for preparing ingredients, making drinks, handling the cash register, and delivering drinks and all of them must remember the ingredients of every drink served by the store. However, the low birth rate in Taiwan and the high turnover rate in the food and beverage industry have led to an urgent need for the industry to maintain a stable workforce and reduce the time spent on orientation training.
Video — Babo Arms, Taiwan
03 The solution
It took Babo Arms nearly two years to find a robot arm that can collaborate with humans safely, after testing numerous robot arms. The UR5 cobot adopted by Babo Arms mainly helps staff make tea and drinks. Human-robot collaboration not only addresses the problem of recruitment constantly faced by the food and beverage industry, employees no longer need to memorize dozens of ingredients. As a result, they can use their creativity on more value-added work such as product development, providing more innovative flavors and drinks ahead of competitors.
Subject to risk assessment, UR cobot can work collaboratively alongside humans, a great benefit for the food and beverage industry where stores are usually limited on space. Traditional automation equipment must be kept at a specific distance for safety purposes during operation and most of the equipment works in a closed space, taking up staff’s work space. In addition, unmanned stores have to sacrifice customer interactions. Adopting cobot does not mean replace manpower with robots. Instead, it enhances the value of human resources. Simple, mechanical, and low value-added tasks are now performed by the cobot which can rotate 360-degree, mimic the range of motion of a human arm, and move flexibly. With the right gripper, the cobot can carry out repetitive and programmed work near employees such as making tea, cleaning cups, tilting, grabbing, and handing out drinks. Employees can use the time saved to interact with customers, find out their purchase intentions and demand, and provide feedback, thereby improving the quality of services, realizing the vision of the company.
Easy programming is a key feature of UR cobots. With an intuitive teach pendant, operators with no programming experience can optimize the working process of the cobot easily. This is how Babo Arms has become the first bubble tea company to automate production and services. The result is a tea shop serving tea of supreme quality.
Two UR5 cobots at Babo Arms in Taiwan
The UR cobots can perform repetitive and programmed tasks so staff can focus on work of higher value, bringing substantial benefits to the business
One UR5 cobot at Babo Arms in Taiwan
The UR robot arm has high flexibility for different applications
Subject to risk assessment, UR cobot can work safely right alongside employees
Staff can operate the UR cobot easily through the intuitive teach pendant
From left to right, Babo Arms’ Engineer Sky, Project Manager Sherry Ho, and Shop Manager Zoe
- Find a robot arm that can work alongside humans safely while maintaining customer interactions
- Address labor shortages caused by a low birth rate in Taiwan
- Maintain the quality of drinks
- Enable staffs to focus on more creative work (such as new product development) through human-robot collaboration
- Enhance the efficiency of human resources
- Alleviate labor shortages
- Make tea, clean cups, seal drinks, and hand out drinks
Are you ready to automate your business?
Cost-effective, safe and flexible collaborative robots - or cobots- are making automation easier than ever, even for the small and mid-sizes companies.