Augmented Intelligence, also known as intelligent automation (IA), aims to maximize human capabilities. By providing feedback to actual people that improve their decision-making, IA keeps humans at the center of processes and control.
The goals of businesses in the fourth industrial revolution are to automate processes with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase productivity.
When you hear statistics like how Amazon’s cobots have reduced costs by $21 million or how manufacturing companies’ cases of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders (MSD) have gone down, you want to order your cobot for the ROI (Return on Investments) reasons without a plan, which may disappoint you in the long run.
What Are Cobots?
Cobots are collaborative robots that are affordable, lightweight, flexible, and within reach of companies of all sizes. They are used to complete tasks that cannot be entirely automated.
Small and medium-sized companies especially can leverage cobots to increase productivity and cut costs.
Cobots work with humans in the same industry workspace, hence collaborative robots.
They are completely safe because they stop once they detect a human or an obstacle meaning that companies do not have to invest in safety equipment and protective wear. They are also assessed for safety before the sale.
Augmented Intelligence enables industries to do more with the people they already have. Humans can control cobots, and there is no need for intense programming as the cobot will remember the steps (guiding the robot arms). Workers need not have programming experience.
Like typical industrial robots, cobot arms can be programmed to do various activities in the factory involving picking and placing, such as handling materials, assembling, operational duties, supply chain packaging, stock restocking, and quality inspection.
Other tasks include finishing, welding, putting packaged products in pallets, screwing, and gluing.
Quality inspection is now possible with machine vision, and outfitted cobots will ensure that company’s quality standards are met.
In this way, the cobot’s human coworker can focus on tasks that demand greater sleight of hand and reasoning as the cobot focuses on monotonous jobs.
Cobots allow humans to work for extended periods without fatigue because the robots do all the tedious, repetitive work.
Therefore, it is right to say that collaborative robots and humans give the best of each other to bring out the best and impact an organization’s bottom line.
Humans are intuitive, can perceive and understand emotions, and are creative and prudent, while cobots are excellent in processing big data, probabilistic thinking, and being trained.
Why Adopting Cobots Should Be a Priority
- Efficiency. The cobots are safe, precise, and quick, and they avoid unnecessary delays that caged robots would experience if they detected a human nearby. They will not make silly mistakes and perform dirty, hazardous, repetitive, and high-cost tasks effortlessly.
- Pushing capacities. You can do so much more.
- Enhancement of procedures. Humans can concentrate on areas that require judgment.
- Moving objects fast.
- Simple to use. It’s a breeze to set up and program.
- Personalization. You can tailor the safety and speed settings to your preferences.
Cobots vs. Robots
Traditional robots require extensive knowledge and time to program actions and can frequently only perform a single action. On the other hand, a cobot is simple to program, reprogram, and learn new actions with the help of user-friendly software and mobile applications.
You can also manually position a cobot and save the positions in the software. Because cobots are so simple to program and reprogram, they can be quickly integrated into a process and even perform multiple tasks.
The use and maintenance of cobots are cheaper because they use less expensive hardware parts and embedded sensors. They also don’t need safety barricades and occupy less space.
How to Implement a Cobots Collaborative Robots Approach
Cobots are an excellent choice for industrial operations, but far too many companies are making the mistake of investing in them without a clear strategy in place.
Prudent companies must consider how collaborative robots can be most beneficial to operations like any other sophisticated technology. Improper cobots use in operations and failure to understand cobots’ rigorous specifications and constraints is detrimental to profits and adherence.
Finding the optimal places for human and cobot coexistence is essential for success.
First, management must approve and IT systems upgraded. Then follows the placement of the right individuals with robotics skills or the training and development of in-house workers.
Companies can then draw up an implementation strategy that specifies cobot goals by analyzing manufacturing procedures. They must establish inputs and outputs, such as the number of tasks a cobot must do to achieve the desired production level within a specified period.
They must look at opportunities for humans and robots to work together and identify areas where this is impossible.
You can develop an effective collaborative robot implementation strategy by answering these questions.
- Which areas are suitable for human and cobots’ coexistence?
- Which tasks are monotonous and can be handled by robots?
- What upscaling needs and workers capacity building needs must you meet?
- What is the desired output?
- Which processes will we follow henceforth?
Best Cobots-Collaborative Robots Practices
BWIndustrie IN France reported a return on investment in less than one year of installation. They wrote a 70 % annual increase in turnover. Their cobots were used in material handling, finishing machine tending, and quality inspection.
ALPHA Corporation in Japan reported a 20% increased productivity in automotive processes after purchasing cobots to handle materials and machine tending.
Although the benefits of collaborative robots are numerous, companies must anticipate a few challenges.
Cobots must be used with human intervention. Although the orientation is straightforward, employees need to be trained to use them. Businesses, therefore, must set aside time and money for this.
Cobots cannot detect anomalies unless they are programmed to do so.
The use of collaborative robots cobots in businesses is an effective way of positively impacting a business’s bottom line. However, the deployment of cobots must not be done blindly. It has to be need-based after an operations assessment.