How Are Collaborative Robots Useful To Manufacturers In Canada?
The patent for the very first industrial robot was given in 1961. It was called the Unimate. It’s safe to say that robots have been part of industries for a long time. In the beginning, they were mostly employed by large manufacturers, the majority of which were OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the automobile sector. Few, if any, small and medium-sized manufacturers used them. Today, the industrial scenario in Canada is vastly different. Industrial robots are an essential part of SMMs in the country. They have enabled these small businesses to compete with bigger operations. The tidal wave of change came dues to collaborative robots, or as they are also called cobots.
What are collaborative industrial robots?
The Robotic Industries Association defines cobots as a machine “explicitly designed to work side-by-side with human workers within a distinct collaborative workspace.” Dissimilar to the conventional industrial robots, cobots have the ability to mimic the movements of a human hand and arm. The technology is helpful in performing repetitive jobs like inspecting wheel hub assemblies or small machine parts. It makes them ideal for small jobs or recurrent jobs that demand high-quality consistency or quick changeovers. Moreover, as long as cobots are used within safety guidelines, they don’t need extra devices like fences to protect human workers.
How do collaborative robots help manufacturers in Canada?
Any manufacturing worker, who has hoped for an additional set of arms or eyes while on the job, benefits from collaborative industrial robots. These high-tech arms are equipped with motion sensors and cameras that act as eyes. They are also designed to handle varying payloads and reaches. Here’s how cobots are advantageous to employees in Canada.
- By taking on repetitive tasks, cobots free workers to put their attention on jobs that need more advanced skill or mental capacity. For instance, if two workers were assigned the task to inspect one bin, the chore can be allotted to a single cobot. It leaves the employees free to do jobs like driving a forklift. In short, workers get to use their brains more than their hands with collaborative robots.
- Cost is another area cobots are extremely useful to manufacturers in Canada. A company saved up to $150,000 in packing costs. They did so “by shifting machine operator duties away from packaging completed parts.” Money is saved because collaborative robots never get tired or distracted, which means they catch every visual defect in machine parts. Compared, human workers miss at least 1 imperfection in every 10.
- Mobility is one more factor where cobots are helpful to Canadian manufacturers. Collaborative robots can be adapted to any workspace, no matter how small. The reason is that these new-age robots have a footprint spanning just a few inches, and their weight is always lower than 80 pounds. It makes redeploying cobots easier than traditional robots, which needed a drastic change in production layouts. Plus, cobots necessitate far less operation power.
Where are collaborative industrial robots being used in Canada?
By 2026, robot sales are predicted to expand by 34%, making the robotic spending touch $13 billion worldwide. Of these, cobots make up only 3% of the sales because the field is still emerging. Even though collaborative robots are still evolving, in Canada, they are used prolifically. On shop floors, you can see cobots working in close proximity with human employees without any shielding or safety fencing. Right now, collaborative robots can be programmed to perform a plethora of tasks like:
- Pick and place
- Machine tending
- Injection molding
- Quality inspections
It takes less than an hour and a half for an employee to learn the basic programming training needed to operate a cobot. Once it is done, the cobot does the rest of the work.
What’s the future of cobots in Canada?
Collaborative robots not only take over boring, tedious tasks but also those jobs that pose a serious risk of injury to human workers. And they do it in far less space and cost as compared to conventional shop floor automated machines. For employees in Canada, cobots represent freedom from doing little tasks like visual inspection and manual jobs that lead to health conditions in hands and feet. The chores are easily taken over by collaborative industrial robots, leaving humans to focus on more advanced tasks. The future is cobot, especially in the industrial sector, like manufacturing. If you are a small or medium-sized business in Canada who hasn’t invested in cobots, it is high time to do so. The advantages they bring to the table, and the opportunities they open up will help you compete head to head with all the big players in the field. Connect with an expert at Cobot Intelligence and learn how collaborative robots can help your manufacturing unit in Canada!