As the next step in industrial automation, the use of autonomous mobile cobots is increasingly on the rise in facilities looking to maximize productivity, introduce or expand automation, and pursue innovative robotic opportunities. Below, we will answer some common questions about mobile cobots, sharing information about what they are and what they can do.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile Cobots
While every manufacturing facility uses automation in some form, mobile cobot applications are a new horizon for many. Here, we will explain the principles, uses and benefits of mobile cobots:
1. What are mobile cobots? The name “mobile cobots” describes two qualities: “cobots” is short for “collaborative robots,” meaning that these robots are designed to work safely in tandem with human workers and with each other. “Mobile” means that they are designed to move around the facility, between workstations, loading zones, storage and more — making them suitable for a broad and diverse range of applications.
2. What are examples of applications? Mobile cobot applications can fully automate a wide breadth of industrial functions, including:
- Loading and unloading
- Machine tending
- Part inspection
- Pick and place
A single mobile cobot can fulfill one, some or all of these tasks by moving the facility, depending on programming and capacity.
3. How do I know if cobots are the right fit? There are several key use cases for mobile cobots. If you are seeking automation solutions for the following scenarios, a cobot will almost certainly be the right fit for you:
- Fulfilling numerous small automation tasks
- Fulfilling work with small batch sizes
- Pick and place
- Large facility footprints and handling heavy tasks
Cobots are suitable for a vast array of other applications, as well. Though the above examples are some of the most common starting points for making an easy decision to introduce this technology.
4. What are the benefits of using cobots? Cobots provide numerous benefits, including:
- Versatility to perform varying tasks with a single investment
- Mobility to various workstations and applications
- Built-in safety for maximum support and collaboration with human workers and other cobots
- Automatic recharging
- All the benefits of automation in more places, scaled down from a stationary robot implementation: speed, accuracy, safety, repetitive task fulfillment and more.
5. What is the ROI? Return on investment for mobile cobots depends on applications and usage, but most implementations see a positive ROI in less than a year. ROI comes from faster task fulfillment as well as increased freedom for workers to focus on the higher value and more productive tasks that automation cannot reproduce.
6. Are cobots safe? By design, cobots are as safe a piece of equipment as you can employ in your facility. Because they are built specifically for worker collaboration, safety features are an inherent part of cobot technology. For example, using sensors, they are able to detect obstacles and stop to a halt or divert their path in time to avoid even the most sudden and unexpected potential collisions. Pinch points and other risks associated with large-scale automation equipment do not exist with cobots, as these design elements are hidden or protected.
7. Do they replace labor? In a word, no. Collaboration is a key part of cobot technology. Cobots are designed to support, enhance and optimize the efforts and functions of a workforce. Facilities are under ever-increasing pressure to fulfill more work at favorable margins. Cobots can play a significant role in making up the resource difference and allowing workers to focus on innovation, service, quality and continuous improvement — functions that automation cannot fulfill by itself.
Acieta offers cobots that can help you address key business challenges, boost productivity and capacity, and increase your margins. The FastLOAD CX1000 — our flagship collaborative robot — is built to provide you with all of the benefits of mobile automation technology to support key tasks. For more information, contact Acieta today.