The 5 benefits of using Cobots in Manufacturing

The 5 benefits of using Cobots in Manufacturing Image
The 5 benefits of using Cobots in Manufacturing;

Cobots in Manufacturing Assignments Essay; This suit testing involves Intelligent Assist Devices (IADs) which are a supplementary class of hybrid devices for settlement behind, alive thing, relationships when a human operator is in shared workspaces. These devices – expected for the assembly pedigree worker – can admission ergonomics concerns that arise due to upon-the-job beast and cognitive loading, even though improving safety, air, and productivity.

Here are the articles to answer, What are the 5 benefits of using Cobots in Manufacturing?

Cobot, a.k.a. collaborative robot works along gone humans in completing tasks in manufacturing. Cobots in Manufacturing, Unlike robots which are mainly used in just easy repetitive tasks that are easy to replicate, cobots can do their stuff later-door door to humans and even learn from them.

Introduction;

Today’s manufacturers are faced with increasing cost pressures, growing product diversity, and fluctuating demands. Even where workers are affordable, this new generation of complex products requires assembly adaptability, precision, and reliability that is beyond the skills of human workers alone. To be prepared for this high-mix, low volume era, manufacturing methods must be flexible and automated.

Cobots in Manufacturing, Traditional industrial robots continue to evolve to meet today’s automation needs, with a broad mix of form factors, payloads, and capabilities. But new automation opportunities are also emerging for variable and semi-structured environments, especially in small and mid-sized businesses.

Cobots due to their ability to work side-by-side with employees, these lightweight, flexible tools can be easily moved and reprogrammed to solve new tasks. User-friendly, affordable cobots are lowering the automation barrier by a lot, enabling automation in areas previously considered too complex or costly. While the stereotype was that the cost of a robot would be a lot, collaborative robots are almost just a quarter of the price of a robot.

What are Cobots?

Cobots, or collaborative robots, are robots intended to interact with humans in a shared space or to work safely nearby. Cobots stand in contrast to traditional industrial robots which are designed to work autonomously with safety assured by isolation from human contact. Cobot safety may rely on lightweight construction materials, rounded edges, and limits on speed or force. Safety may also require sensors and software to assure good collaborative behavior. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR), a global industry association of robot manufacturers and national robot associations, collects statistics on two types of robots;

  • 1) industrial robots used in manufacturing.
  • 2) service robots for domestic and professional use.

Service robots can be considered to be cobots as they are intended to work alongside humans. Industrial robots have traditionally worked separately from humans, behind fences, but this is changing with the emergence of industrial Cobots. Cobots can have many roles. Collaborative service robots can perform a variety of functions, from information robots in public spaces; to logistics robots that transport materials within a building, to inspection robots equipped with cameras and visual processing technologies that can serve in a variety of applications such as patrolling perimeters of secure facilities.

Collaborative industrial robots can be used to automate repetitive, unergonomic tasks – such as fetching and carrying heavy parts, machine feeding, and final assembly. Industrial robots have traditionally been used in industrial sectors for pre-assembly tasks such as cutting, welding, basic assembly of car bodies, and painting. Collaborative industrial robots enable automotive and electronics manufacturers to extend automation to final product assembly, finishing tasks (for example polishing and applying coatings), and quality inspection.

Cobots in Manufacturing, Cobots can also be categorized as follows:

Independent;

An operator and a cobot operate on separate workpieces (W1 and W2 illustrated in Fig. 1) independently for their manufacturing processes (P1 for W1 and P2 for W 2). The collaborative element is due to the co-presence of the operator and cobot in the same workspace without a fence or guard. Are cobots safe? That is safety is achieved through the cobot’s intrinsic safety and/or added hardware/software safety elements. Therefore, the Cobot is aware of the operator’s presence and acts safely.

Simultaneous;

An operator and a cobot operate on separate processes (P1 and P2 respectively) on the same workpiece (W) at the same time. There is no time or task dependency between them. However, the Cobots need to be spatially aware of the operator and his/her task requirements to respect the operator’s space. Being able to concurrently operate on the workpiece will minimize the transmit time of the workpiece between the cobot and human, thereby improving productivity and space utilization.

Sequential;

An operator and a cobot perform sequential manufacturing processes (P1 and P2) on the same workpiece. There are time dependencies between the cobot and operator for their processes. For instance, the cobot works on P1 for the workpiece as an input to support the operator to carry on P2 for the workpiece. In most cases, the cobot is arranged to handle tedious processes to improve the operator’s working conditions

Supportive;

An operator and a cobot work towards the same process (P) on the same workpiece (W) interactively. There is a dependency between the actions of the Cobots and the operator. That is, without one, another cannot perform the task. The cobot needs to understand the operator’s intent and the task requirements to provide appropriate assistance. For instance, the operator fastens screws on a toolbox while the cobot holds it in place. The role of the cobot is to physically assist the operator with workpieces that improve ergonomics.

The roles that Cobots play;

The typical workshop has been transformed by the advent of robots. From unsafe, harsh conditions have been mitigated while simultaneously freeing up workers for tasks that are more enjoyable and less stressful.

The ergonomics and productivity consequences brought by manufacturing across all industries are documented as follows:

  • 43% of workers sustained injuries and illnesses were due to bodily reaction and exertion;
  • 62% of all illness cases were due to repeated trauma disorders;
  • 32% of cases involving days away from work resulted from overexertion or repetitive motion.
  • The total cost of these consequences to the US industries is enormous and it happens every year. The impact of this problem is so big that shouldn’t be ignored.

Cobots are created to address some of the above problems. And it is not only just for the whales in industries, and also for small and medium businesses. (SMBs) Cobots help meet the short-run production challenge faced by many SMBs, bridging the gap between fully manual assembly and fully automated manufacturing lines. Cobots in Manufacturing, This is helping small business owners address overseas competition with affordable automation solutions that can be deployed in a wide range of applications.

As these small businesses compete more effectively, their growth can drive the use of additional automation solutions, including multiple cobots—or another form of collaboration, between cobots and traditional industrial robots for high-speed, repeatable applications. Another good thing about cobot is that it can be highly cost-effective as it can be programmed to operate 24/7 in lights-out situations for continuous production.

What are the prospects for cobots in manufacturing? The relevance of cobots in manufacturing;

Manufacturing companies are eager to deploy Cobots due to their affordability, built-in safety, and intuitive User Interfaces (UIs). That is especially true for SMEs that have difficulties automating their manufacturing using traditional robots. Mass production companies, particularly automotive manufacturers, are equally eager to implement HRC to boost their competitiveness and take their factories to the next level of automation and manufacturing advancement, i.e. Industry 4.0.

For instance, the BMW Group’s Spartanburg site introduced cobots to improve ergonomics by taking over the repetitive and precise task of equipping the inside of car doors with sound and moisture insulation. Audi introduced a UR3 cobot to apply an adhesive on a car roof, which saves factory floor space since the Cobots do not have to be separated from the human by a fence. The Volkswagen plant is in locations that are inconvenient to reach by a human operator. The cobot works alongside the human who is screwing at other easily accessible locations.

Nissan’s large-scale Yokohama plant deployed UR10 cobots to loosen bolts and carry heavy components to relieve the workforce of these arduous tasks and speed up the manufacturing process. Skoda also introduced a KUKA cobot to work alongside humans in the production of direct-shift gearboxes. In all the aforementioned tasks, Cobots are required to operate safely alongside humans, which is a built-in feature in cobots. However, they do not strictly require advanced perception, human awareness, or decision-making capabilities since the parts handled are kept in pre-determined positions, the tasks of the human and the cobot are relatively independent, and the cobot adheres to a relatively fixed action/motion plan.

Therefore, it is noticeable that industrial implementation of HRC scenarios falls under the category ”Independent” or ”Simultaneous”. However, by enforcing additional constraints upon the cobots’ environment (in terms of fixed parts or equipment positions), most of such implementations fail to showcase the utility and versatility of cobots in a partially unstructured work environment.

However, humans rely a lot on communication to work in teams and to complete tasks fluently and effectively. Communication can be made to issue orders, convey intention and ask/answer questions. Researchers have been working on enabling communication between humans and cobots such that humans can command the cobot through different communication modes.

First and foremost, body language and speech. Body language as a means of commanding cobot includes using gestures, pointing, head pose, etc. Speech refers to uttering commands verbally. But, at the end of the day, Cobots aren’t human, they need to be trained to be able to work alongside humans. They learn while they work through machine learning. Communications can be complex for example, different gestures/commands can mean differently in different situations. This is can be avoided by such and such command being predefined strictly in a fixed set. Generating a natural language system is challenging since the language use differs drastically as the operator progresses with work.

Nakata et al. showed that in a collaborative task where only verbal communication is allowed, the frequency of morphemes (i.e. words belonging to these certain types: object, modifier, robot action, user action) decreases as the number of task trials increases. That is because humans naturally start emitting words as they become accustomed to the task. They naturally start considering and accommodating their teammates’ needs without those needs being explicitly expressed. Kobayashi et al. also showed that the use of descriptive words decreases as the number of task trials increases. Therefore, any language model between a human and a cobot should account for the change in human language as the human becomes more accustomed to the task.

Cobots in eliminating Manufacturing Jobs;

Cobots not only doesn’t eliminate manufacturing jobs, but also provide more job opportunities, and make manufacturers even more globally competitive. This is because Cobots are available for everyone not only for the big companies. In manufacturing work, a lot of manpower is needed previously. Now, cobots free up a lot of manpower to let companies maximize workers’ skills in other areas of business. It also creates a safer, more desirable working environment for workers as the job that cobots do are usually boring and repetitive, dangerous.

Not only that, some countries which lack manpower in the mass production lines are already fixed with cobots available. Today’s labor market includes fewer skilled manufacturing workers due to decades of offshoring, and cobots come in handy to eliminate the shortfall. Talk about globally competitive, automation in manufacturing allows domestic companies to be price-competitive with offshore companies because of mass production in a shorter period. As cobots are available 24/7 of the time, it increases the production rate of the product to meet the demand rate with minimal costs.

As cobots can do work precisely and quickly, it is always able to achieve customers’ desire which easily offset their upfront costs as well. Cobots in Manufacturing; Cobots are good in helping manufacturers break the ceiling of output capacity as well. Last but not least, cobots are economically friendly as well. It not only doesn’t emit greenhouses, but it also helps in reducing the energy consumption of factory as well, cobots doesn’t need lighting to function 24/7 so they can create cleaner spaces also.

The opportunity of Cobot in the UK;

There is a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers to adopt robotics and artificial intelligence, but a key barrier to implementation is often a lack of understanding of how to effectively introduce these technologies into the business. Cobots in Manufacturing, Arguably the UK manufacturing landscape is built up of traditional organizations that adopt conservative approaches to business, as opposed to modernization.

Barclays Corporate recently found that there is still resistance from UK manufacturers when it comes to adopting the latest and greatest innovations and is falling behind other nations when it comes to adopting fourth industrial revolution technologies. Yet, innovation in automation and robotics is happening in pockets across the UK manufacturing sector. The University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing and supplier English Provender, for example, recently announced an R&D project introducing state-of-the-art robotic arms to weigh out powdered ingredients with more accuracy and with the overall goal of reducing food waste in the supply chain.

These types of initiatives gain a lot of awareness and traction in the sector as the ROI is usually fruitful, yet generally, across the board, the UK is falling behind when it comes to robotics. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) highlighted that the UK sits 22nd in the world for robot density behind nations such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic. UK manufacturing is, however, on the cusp of further global recognition and RPA could be the enabler of getting Britain back on the map.

Cobots in Manufacturing, Recent successes in British exports has meant that the UK manufacturing sector is set to outpace the rest of the economy this year and as such, experts are anticipating that by 2021, the UK will climb from number eight in the global manufacturing economy to fifth place. Yet, to remain competitive the UK manufacturing sector must continue to cultivate and invest in emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and robotics, putting digital change at the beating heart of growth strategies and making operations smarter, freeing up workers’ time to focus on innovation and creativity.

Conclusion;

What challenges must be addressed when implementing Cobots in manufacturing? The above quote which was said by Henry Ford doesn’t mean that humans alone cannot achieve mass production but machines, mass production can be easily achieved with the right machines. Computer-controlled, intelligent assist devices are a huge change in material handling technology today. The step changes in their ergonomics, productivity, quality, and safety capabilities – especially when compared with traditional pneumatic tools which are considered old schooled in comparison with cobots today.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see cobots will lead to a revolution in manufacturing over the next few years. Yes, there are fears that large sections of the workforce will be made redundant by the increased automation, but these fears may be unfounded. For instance, the workers at a Nissan plant in Tennessee were nervous about being laid off when cobots were introduced, but no jobs have been lost, and the staff has been very receptive to them. They have realized that these machines are there to help them and the company, rather than replace them.

Cobot is the way to go for today’s trend and generation. I believe that Cobots don’t only make manufacturers’ life easier and also the customer’s as well. Cobots in Manufacturing; Cobots create a cleaner, safer, and technically more fun environment for people to work in as it enables people to customize the way cobots act for different operations which are mostly software-based.

Reference; It is Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/assignments/cobots-in-manufacturing-2149.php?vref=1

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The 5 benefits of using Cobots in Manufacturing; Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.
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