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There are many companies looking to automate their manufacturing processes. This can be seen with the rising demand and popularity if collaborative robots over the last few years.
As companies seek to automate, they have to consider the best robot for the type of tasks they want to automate among other things such as the space they occupy and if they need to move.
For many companies, they can automate either with collaborative robots or traditional robots.
Here are some factors to consider as they choose the best robot to use for their processes.
Is there a need to change the factory floor layout?
With the traditional industrial robots, many factories will need to change their production floor layout or even move to a different location altogether. Traditional robots are quite large, and will require more space. If the factory cannot reorganize it floor layout to accommodate it, they might have to look for another building to set up the robot.
Collaborative robots on the other hand cannot cause a factory to change their layout. They are quite compact and can be setup anywhere in the factory. Further, they are mobile and can be moved easily to different parts of the factory floor as required.
Reach and payload
Collaborative robots are quite small. Therefore, they may not be suitable for companies that manufacture long and heavy items. Collaborative robots are not able to lift heavy loads such as machines or vehicle engines in an automotive factory. The most suitable robot for tasks that involve heavy lifting and longer reach are traditional robots.
For complex tasks that need to be carried out on a work table alongside a human team, collaborative robots are the best. They can comfortably work from a workbench and lift small components and products from one place to another or for assembling.
Need for human operators
Automation for many companies, means that they are taking away some tasks from their human workers to robots. This enables them to produce with speed and to produce high quality products. If this is the kind of automation that a company wants, the best robots to take up are traditional robots. They are kept on their own and left to carry out their work.
Cobots on the other hand will mostly need a human operator to help in completing the task at hand. They will be involved in certain parts of the process while still working together with human teams. Cobots are seen as good for job creation as they do not at most times lead to job losses unlike traditional robots.
Speed of work
Considering that collaborative robots are still robots, they help improves the speed of production in the factory. Their safety sensors however can compromise how fast they can operate. Working alongside human beings, they are developed to slow down or even stop whenever they sense human presence near them. As such, working at higher rates of speed may not be possible unless left alone or are fenced off.
Traditional robots are known for their speed in the production process.
Safety is a paramount consideration in all factory floors.
It is for this reason that traditional robots are kept shielded away from factory workers. They are assigned tasks that they carry out to completion away from any human presence.
Collaborative robots, are safe to work alongside human workers mostly. They are designed with internal sensors that enhance their safety features. These sensors cause the robot to shut down when a human being is too close to it. It also has smooth edges that lower the risk of injury when one bumps into the cobot.
Besides the price or cost of automation, factories also have to consider several other factors in their operations and in the robots that they will acquire. This helps hasten decision making and in making the right decision on the best robot to acquire.