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COLLABORATIVE-ROBOTS
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5 Tips for Implementing Cobots Into Your Manufacturing Operation

A type of robot growing in popularity in the industrial manufacturing industry is called a cobot, otherwise known as a collaborative robot. The reason for the growing popularity of cobots is their ability to work side by side with human operators to accomplish a task. With ever expanding technology, many fear it will make human workers obsolete. Robots are one of the top concerns. However, when it comes to cobots, they have one great difference from traditional industrial robots. Their design purpose is to work productively alongside humans. This will obviously have the benefit of human labor still required and an advanced form of technology assisting in the job process. Nobody wants to see human labor become obsolete. This is why more and more manufacturing operations are making use of cobots, as they integrate automation systems.

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Do Cobots Replace People in Manufacturing?

Articles about automation in manufacturing, particularly robotics and collaborative robots, sometimes called “cobots,” appear frequently in the press. The headline message often is focused on eliminating jobs and replacing workers.

Every time I hear someone mention that automation is replacing people, I start to fidget as I prepare for a debate. In Minnesota, we sometimes call this the “yeah-buttal.”
We seem to have long forgotten that computers with spreadsheet, word processing and presentation software have replaced slide-rules, calculators, typewriters, transparency film and so on, as well as stenographers and others who used these low-tech tools. Thankfully. Of course, we use the computers, and we are much more productive. The combination of computer software and hardware might be considered a form of automation (as well as communication, entertainment and a host of other functions), and society has accepted this.

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Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

The manufacturing sector has typically been among the first to benefit from technological innovation, particularly in the field of robotics and automation. Traditional industrial robotic systems usually require the use of peripheral safety equipment and physical barriers for the safety of human co-workers. However, the features designed to protect human workers tend to increase cost and space requirements.

Also, the current market demands a reduction in lead times, as well as mass customization, which, in turn, require flexibility and the use of multi-purpose assembly systems. These needs are common among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It falls on manufacturers to find a solution that not only addresses problems with cost and space availability but also the need to provide customized solutions to customer needs in the shortest time possible.

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Collaborative Robots Help Manufacturers Address Worker Gaps, Improve Efficiency

Companies today use collaborative robots for manufacturing to address a wide number of challenges, including the growing labor shortage. The jobs often consist of fast-paced, repetitive tasks in environments that are far less comfortable than an office. So, attracting employees to manufacturing jobs can be difficult.

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