Making Robotics Safer and More Practical for SMEs With Cobots

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Collaborative robots and robotic arms are bringing automation closer to small and medium-sized enterprises. This modern approach to industrial automation is geared towards having robots and humans working side by side in their respective workstations. One of the key features of collaborative robotics is safety as these robots are designed with safety as a requirement from the word go. Collaborative robots are therefore inherently safe or are expected to be safe to work with regardless of the setup.

Throwing Cobots Into the Mix in The Traditional Workspace

How close can your workers get to the collaborative robots? Well, this is a question whose answer can be found in the core philosophy guiding the manufacture and use of collaborative robots and end effectors. Getting too close to a traditional industrial robot in a factory almost always ended badly for the intruder as industrial robots are too dangerous to share space with people. That is why traditional robots need specialized shielding to avoid injuries and fatalities.

Collaborative robots are usually deployed in a monitored shared workspace. They use a range of scanners and end effectors to accomplish a task guided by their human operators. Force sensing technology can be used to enhance the ease of use, especially where precision and dexterity is a requirement.

The situation is different with collaborative robots, which is why SMEs are finding it easier to integrate Cobots into their workplaces with minimum investment. Most collaborative robot arms and full-fledged Cobot setups are made to work intimately with human operators. However, these are some of the measures you should take to ensure safety when working with Cobots in a typical setup;

Observing the set safety limits- Many of the Cobots and Cobot arms available also come with specific instructions regarding the safety limit in terms of distance, speed of operation, and radius within which they can operate. Depending on the setup, collaborative robots are meant to work within a set distance and radius set by the manufacturer. They are generally categorized into;

  • Maximum space
  • Collaborative space
  • Restricted space
  • Safeguarded space
  • Operational space

Another safety measure involves staff training. This will ensure that your operators understand the safety limits and best practices when working with collaborative robot arms within their usual workspace. Training for collaborative robots can be done inhouse or through an external entity before and during implementation. For instance, Universal Robots provides comprehensive training on robots in their academy. There is a need for companies to understand the safety requirements associated with the installation of Cobots in their facility.

While the laws governing the use of robots in the workplace and at home are less stringent as compared to those aimed at traditional setups, collaborative robots do have their own of rules and standards set by international standards bodies such as the ISO and local regulators. As an example, manufacturers can find these standards in ISO 10218 and other regulations regarding the use of robotics in their country or work with a provider such as Universal Robots to ensure compliance.

Making Robotics Practical for SMEs

Collaborative robots have a lot of practical application for small and medium-sized enterprise. Companies are deploying collaborative robot arms to increase their productivity and output while maintaining or even improving quality at the same time. Due to the size and versatility of collaborative robots and robot arms, SMEs are finding it easier to integrate them into their current setups as compared to traditional robots.

Collaborative robots can be trained to perform a sequence of actions and thereafter left to repeat the movements on their own to complete the desired task. This can be done using the programming console that comes with the Cobot or through what experts refer to as hand guiding. The

Some of the most common uses for collaborative robot arms in the industry include but are not limited to;

  • Sorting
  • Loading
  • Mixing
  • Handling materials
  • Labeling
  • Packaging
  • Among others

Final Remarks

There so much potential yet to be tapped in the whole collaborative robot spectrum for SMEs and manufacturers looking for affordable and modern automation solutions. Safety considerations will always be at the core of the discussion as more and more businesses find a use for these collaborative robots.


Author Bio:

Darshan Shah

Darshan Shah is a young entrepreneur, digital marketer and blogger. He’s founder of and providing Digital Marketing services like SEO, Guest Blogging and many more. He loves to help people to grow their business worldwide through his digital marketing knowledge.  He’s enthusiastic about creating blogs and writes creative content for the readers.


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