Cobots have a payback of 6 months and an installation cost about 2.5x less than other industrial robots. The least expensive cobot sell for about €20,000 (approx. $22,600USD).
Across the Atlantic, the European Union(EU) is investing heavily to help businesses build and adopt robots. The EU forecasts robotics and related services will contribute an extra €71 billion (approx. $80 billion USD) in GDP per year by 2020.
There are multiple technologies driving the new industrial revolution. Today the focus is on cobots and what have we learned from their current install base.
When talking about job displacement due to robotic advancements, industrial automation and artificial intelligence we tend to forget the inter-connectivity between people and technology. Large corporations like Apple, GE, BMW and various smaller corporations are beginning and/or increasing their manufacturing output within the US through a combination of people and robots.
Machine Tending is often seen as tending a CNC machine with square or round metal parts. However, machine tending is broader than this. It in fact encompasses all types of machines that are ”tended”; CNC machines, plastic injection machines, PCB testing machines, CMM measuring machines and a lot more. Machine tending is a really good fit for this robotic cell. In fact, in small to medium sized machine shops, the parts will be slightly different one from the other and the ”high-mix / low-volume” factor is a real argument when it comes time to justify the robot. Using flexible grippers also requires very little programming time, while at the same time it can handle a very wide possibility of parts.
There is big trend nowadays of using cobots to perform packaging and handling operations. They are redundant tasks that can be quite repetitive for a human worker. By implementing a collaborative robot at this spot, you can still have workers around it and with minimal modifications, your robot can work like any other worker. With vision systems and adaptive grippers, packaging and handling tasks are now easier than ever.