How Are Collaborative Robots Helping Lab Automation?
When most people in the USA think of robots, they imagine substantial industrial settings. The picture that comes to mind is a car manufacturing assembly line with mammoth robots performing high-volume and repetitive tasks. The few who don’t imagine this picture, create a more futuristic version of it. Yet even those scenarios are chock full of limitations conventional industrial robots present.
The Drawbacks of Industrial Robots
These robots are fast and strong. They are excellent at performing simple tasks that repeat. In the right contexts, industrial robots are incredibly useful. That said, they are unintelligent. They do not have the ability to react to real-time events, and they necessitate complicated initial set up along with additional guarding. An industrial robot is not built to step moving incase a human worker wanders in the line of operation. Rather the worker will find themselves in real danger. Add this to the rapid movement robots perform and heavy payloads they carry, industrial robots are not conducive to humans. It takes a lot of consideration and forethought when planning a robotic line to ensure people and machines stay separate. It is these severe limitations and drawbacks that gave rise to collaborative robots in manufacturing and other sectors.
The Merits of Collaborative Robots
A new generation of robots, known as cobots or collaborative robots, have overcome the limits set by industrial robots. In appearance, cobots look very similar to conventional robots, but in working, they are a class apart. Collaborative robots are designed to work side by side with humans in a controlled yet collaborative environment. Cobots are capable of sensing the presence of a human and adjusting their movement and speed. It reduces the risk of injury to workers. Moreover, cobots are specially designed to diminish pinch points, and sharp corners along with joint meant to minimize the impact. As a result, collaborative robots in manufacturing don’t need guarding. They can be positioned right next to a human without any danger to the worker. Furthermore, the advanced sensors built in cobots gives them the ability to comprehend their environment better. For instance, when a cobot sense someone in their vicinity, they lower their speeds. Supplementary technology has made it possible for cobots to learn new tasks through simple interactive steps. Overall, the benefits cobots offer to industries in the USA have created an explosion of applicability. Manufacturing was the most obvious one; the newest niche in the US experiencing the merits of collaborative robots is labs.
Automating Labs in the USA with Cobots
The impact of cobots in the US labs is significant when compared with the siloed and monolithic lines of traditional robots.
- The first reason cobots are great for lab automation is the footprint. The area cobots require to work is much smaller than old robots because they don’t require fencing or guarding. Labs are already low on resources and high on demand. This capability to lessen the overall space needed makes cobots critical to them.
- To give a frame of reference, imagine a central industrial robot that demanded 150 to 300 sq.ft. of floor space in a lab. Not compare it to a 3-inch by 4-inch cart with a robotic arm. The cart can perform all the same functions as the industrial robot in the fraction of space.
- Besides shrinking footprint, cobots in the USA allow for mobile solutions. Through collaborative robots, researchers can place washers, dispensers, storage, and ancillary devices into one portable cart. This cart can be utilized as a stand-alone unit or shared among researchers.
Because cobots don’t need to be guarded, as they pose no threat to humans, it is easy to wheel the entire system to any location in the lab where it may be needed. With a cobot attached, the cart transforms into a mini-lab on the go. Essentially, collaborative robots in labs maximize utilization of resources by allowing sharing rather than fixing them to one location.
- Another reason cobots are excellent at automating labs in the US is collaboration. A researcher can walk up to an ongoing process and make adjustments, like adding a reagent, without any danger to them.
It is relatively common for scientists to intervene in experiments, routines, and prolonged workflows manually. Traditional robots don’t allow this. They have to be stopped before a scientist can perform any action. Cobots don’t require stopping. They offer access points to researchers even when functioning. Besides stopping an experiment, midway can impact the accuracy or consistency of the result. By permitting researchers to interact with the experiment in real-time, cobots make tests more precise. Automation is an essential requirement for all sectors in the USA, not just labs and research facilities. And cobots, without a doubt, are the perfect solution to it. Get in touch to find out how Cobot Intelligence can help your lab!