Top 10 reasons to buy a collaborative robot
Posted on Apr 21, 2015 3:34 PM. 4 min read time
I am sure there are a bunch of work floor supervisors that are still arguing about the fact of whether or not a collaborative robot is or isn't a good idea for their plant. Well, whatever your situation is you should take a look at the following article to see what the top 10 reasons are to buy a collaborative robot for your applications.
For whatever reasons you are looking into a collaborative robot, the first thing you need to know is that these robots are safe. With their popularity increasing dramatically, the safety features and regulations are being updated all the time and are more than ever adapted to present day reality. Some robot manufacturers allow the end users to set the 'level' of security they require. Others simply use protective skins or covers that avoid or reduce any force due to impact.
At some point, it all comes down to pricing. With collaborative robot price points at around $25k, it is really easy to justify your purchase. If the robot can eliminate a lot of the rejected product or poor quality product you are producing due to human error... maybe the investment is worth it.
Most collaborative robots have a 6 or 7-axis arm, which allows them to execute a bunch of applications in a very wide range of orientations and positions. This means that for example, you could use a robot arm with a CNC machine and after the parts were machined drop them into a box without any problem.
The robot is also considered flexible if it can be moved to another application pretty easily. Some really rigid robotic cells are dedicated to a given operation or production and can't be adjusted or moved. This is not the case with collaborative robots, they can be set up relatively quickly on another application and continue to work non-stop.
- No Guarding
This may be in direct relation to point number 1: safety. In fact, collaborative robots don't need any guarding because they have force sensors (and in some cases vision sensors) that allow for the reduction or elimination of impact when in contact with other objects like a human body part. The fact that they don’t need guarding means that the robot works at slower speeds and accelerations, but it can still do the job, right?
- Fast Payback
Since the collaborative robot is relatively cheap and can work non-stop through every shift, the payback can be quite fast. The goal being not to eliminate workers, but to help them with their processes. If a certain task is strenuous for a human, it can be done by a robot and eliminate the risk of injuries (which can save a lot in employee compensation and lost work days - not to mention the good will you gain from your employees). This can help you save money while the return on investment is fast. To have a better idea of the time to repay your robot investment, follow this link. As a rule of thumb, the average time for a robot payback for Universal Robots is 6 months.
- Fast Integration
Since there is no guarding or other complex devices to install, a collaborative robot can be installed on the work floor within a day. The programming and integration is quite fast and easy which makes the whole set up really simple. Robotiq provides a Gripper bundle to allow end users to integrate its end of arm tool very smoothly, to learn more follow this link.
- Small Footprint
Collaborative robots are designed to work alongside humans, so they are designed to be small and compact. This means that the footprint on the work floor is quite small. This allows the end user to install the robot without major adjustment in the shop. No need to move machines or production lines, the robot is designed to be integrate directly at the worker’s spot or beside him.
- Easy Programming
You may still wonder how to program these robots... well, you have no idea how simple it is. With most of the collaborative robot manufacturers using graphical interfaces and hand-guiding technology, it is as simple as 1-2-3. First, you need to show the robots a couple of points to make it run. Then, you can determine its work space and safety features to coordinate it safely with your workers. After that, trajectories can be optimized to make operations faster along the work path.
- Collaborative Application
Well, a collaborative robot is designed to work alongside people, so even if the robot is not performing a direct application (Machine tending, packaging, etc.) it can help your workers to achieve certain things. Some robot cells will be installed simply to feed parts to a worker so the worker can fix them on an assembly.
10. Easy to ReplicateSince the robot is easy to integrate, cheap and has a fast ROI, it is quite easy to repeat the installation and buy a second one for the same or a different application.
Is this enough? These advantages are the main reasons why you should go with a collaborative robot for your next application or to improve an existing one. You still have to figure out payload and orientation, but that is quite simple. Take a look at our latest version of the eBook on collaborative robots to learn which robot models might be a good fit for your shop.