Which Companies Are Using Collaborative Robots To Improve Production Cycles?
In industrial countries, with a manufacturing sector, automation has become a central player. Both, automating processes and using Artificial Intelligence, has made production cycles more efficient and less costly for the business. One tool that companies are using for automation is collaborative industrial robots. Also known as cobots, these are new-age robots that can share the same physical space with human employees without any danger. In other words, cobots can work in tandem with other workers. Collaborative robots rose to popularity about a decade back, when businesses realized that they are much more useful than traditional robots. Cobots, unlike old industrial robots, don’t need isolated areas to function. They don’t require fencing or additional guarding to prevent any interaction between people and machines. In Canada, they have become commonplace in the manufacturing units and other production cycles. Let’s take a look at some other countries and companies that are utilizing cobots.
Examples of Companies Using Cobots Beyond Canada
It is no surprise that automobile manufacturers were the first companies to embrace collaborative industrial robots given the manual, repetitive tasks they require. The BMW Mini factory in the UK has been using a cobot to transform its riveting process. Earlier, the task was performed by workers entirely. They would first load the rivets and then do the actually riveting. After employing collaborative robots, the tasks are done side by side. The human employee loads one side of the jig while the cobot begins to work on the other.
The Cologne factory of the US-based automaker Ford has been utilizing collaborative robots for over three years. They are put to work on Fiesta models to fit shock absorbers. A production cycle worker in the factory says that working with heavy, air-powered tools that are attached overhead is a hard task. It necessitates exceptional strength, precision, and stamina. Cobots make it easier. Each cobot, about 3 feet in height, is installed on a mount and placed alongside other personnel. The cobot takes care of the heavy lifting part of the duty while the humans perform the others.
Craft and Technik Industries, a Maharashtra, India based automotive parts manufacturer, switched to a cobot after facing customer rejections due to human errors. CATI has two troubles. One, they couldn’t find sufficient human labor and two, human errors kept leading to faulty output on the production line. To solve the issues, CATI installed a collaborative robot with a payload capacity of 5kgs. The cobot loaded and unloaded the vertical CNC (computer numerical control) machine, and it performed inspections. By implementing the cobots, the firm not only increased its production by 15 to 20% but also lessened customer rejections.
Besides car manufacturing, collaborative robots are also being used by other industries. The medical manufacturing firm Dynamic Group based out of Minnesota, is a perfect example. The cobots they employ are responsible for:
- Picking and placing component at the injection molding site
- Transporting parts to the trimming area
- Placing the finished product in front of a human operator for the next phase
The maker for intricate injection molded parts for medical and electronics industries says by using one cobot, they have increased their production capacity by 4 times and diminished their scrap to almost nil. Plus, they reduced the number of workers employed. Earlier, they required 3 operators in one shift for each task. With collaborative industrial robots, one machine can do all jobs for three shifts a day!
King’s College London:
An unconventional example of collaborative robots being used by companies around the world is King’s College London University. Their cobot is responsible for picking greenhouse plants. The university was facing a staff shortage because picking plants is a seasonal and repetitive task. The collaborative robot solved the problem. While it is not a traditional production cycle use of cobots, it does show that the new robots have applications in virtually every business landscape.
The Bright Future Of Cobots:
There are several reasons why businesses are looking towards cobots to improve operations. In manufacturing, where duties are often dangerous, dull, and labor-intensive collaborative industrial robots are even more helpful. It is why the cobot market is expected to expand exponentially in the coming decade, not just in Canada but across the globe. A Global Collaborative Robots Market Analysis done this year predicts that the market for cobots will touch $18.1 Billion by 2026. Given that the market size of cobots in 2018 was a mere $649.1 million, that is a staggering growth. If you are a business in Canada hoping to leverage the power and efficiency of collaborative robots, get in touch with Cobot Intelligence. We’ll help you find the right automation solution for your needs.