What is a cobot?
Cobots are collaborative robots, this means that they can work alongside people. They don’t need the safety measures of an industrial robot, are easier to program, and also cheaper. That’s why they can bring automation to the shop floor of many smaller and medium-sized businesses.
Collaborative and safe
A cobot can sense what’s happening nearby and will move slower or stop entirely when needed. It has sensors to feel when its movement is hindered, and you can stop it by merely touching it, like tapping someone on the arm to get their attention.
No fence, no extra space
They don’t need a security fence around them as industrial robots do. Because of this, they can be used in any work floor setting, in many small businesses.
What can a cobot do?
Depending on the task at hand, a cobot is equipped with mechanical, magnetic, or vacuum grippers. They can pick up a payload of up to 14 kg and move it around in a radius of 110 centimeters.
Possible tasks are: sorting items, packing, palletizing,… A cobot is excellent at doing things that people find repetitive, mind-numbing, and boring. But at the same time, it has a precision of 0.05 to 0.1 mm, so a cobot can also assemble items, screw, glue, deburr, polish,… even weld.
In a typical collaborative setup, a cobot does the repetitive part of a job or the heavy lifting, while its operator takes care of quality control or more delicate details.
Cobot and operator can also work in sequence. When assembling something, for instance, a cobot and its operator can take turns. The cobot presents an item to its operator, who does the next step of the assembly. The cobot then does the following step, presents it again to the operator, etc., until the process is completed.
Easy to program
A cobot can be taught by demonstration. You can program the movements of a cobot by grabbing its arm and moving it to the desired waypoints.
When accurate movements are essential, they can be programmed more traditionally, with arrow buttons, a touchscreen, or software.
With its more human size and no need for fencing it off, a cobot can often be set up and deployed in a day. Compare this to the weeks needed for an industrial robot.
An industrial robot will do one thing in one place, bolted to the floor. A cobot, being small and light, can be moved around and re-deployed anywhere in the production process, with different grippers if needed. One cobot can have a few part-time jobs.
Cobots are smaller, lighter, smarter, but also cheaper. A cobot costs typically between € 25000 and € 40000. Return on investment can usually be achieved in less than a year.
To be sure that one of our cobots is the best solution, you can always try before you buy: we can rent or lease you a cobot.