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Common Cobot Myths Dispelled
Mar 9, 2021 7:10:00 AM / By Universal Robots / 0 Comments
Collaborative robots or cobots in India have been changing the dynamics of various industries through automation. They are a testimony of the rapid progress in robot technology as they automate various production and manufacturing tasks and enable businesses to thrive. Having some exceptional capabilities, they are revolutionising the way the business world functions. But there are certain false beliefs about them that need to be addressed immediately.
Cobots allow companies to automate the simplest of tasks, irrespective of the scale of output. They are suited for monotonous, manual, and strenuous processes such as pick and place, packaging and palletising, screw driving, gluing, dispensing, and welding. They are therefore appropriate for all kinds of industries and can prove to be highly beneficial in terms of output.
SMEW Textile Machinery, based in Ahmedabad is a family-run business established in 1958 which decided to automate their operations by deploying a UR10 cobot for a pick and place operation. Not only did the pick and place robot help the business improve precision in the manufacturing of textile-winding machines but enabled SMEW surpass its goals with a 300% improvement in output, as well as an ROI within a year of deployment. The company has evolved from an MSME to an SME today.
Most manufacturers may believe that robots replace jobs but the fact is they only relieve workers from monotonous and tedious tasks, allowing them to take on better, and diverse roles within the company. In fact, robots are helping to create jobs by increasing productivity which requires companies to hire more people.
A company that experienced this first-hand is Blue Star Limited, one of India’s leading manufacturers of air conditioning and commercial refrigeration products. The company faced quality rejection issues at its plant in Wada, Maharashtra due to mental and physical stress to manual labourers who had to perform the repetitive but vital task of copper tube expansion.
The manufacturer deployed collaborative robots and AI technologies which led to delivering their vision of high-quality products other than complete eradication of the stress and ergonomic risk. The move also enabled the company to increase their production by 10% and eradicate quality rejects.
Now the company’s employees supervise the process carried out by cobots. This has allowed them time to handle other meaningful tasks that require human efforts. The advancement also allowed the employees to get upskilled to learn how to handle the cobots.
Some robots may be massive, challenging and difficult to operate but that doesn’t hold true for all the cobots. They are easy to implement, operate and maintain. Owing to their compact structures, there is absolutely no need to change the production layout when switching the cobot between tasks. They’re easily programmed or re-deployed and require minimal maintenance.
L'Oréal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics companies, faced issues at its plant in Pune, as end-of-the-line operations were being carried out manually, posing a severe ergonomic risk to workers. The deployment of collaborative robots for automatic palletisation proved to be efficient, while completely eradicating ergonomic risk, allowing for flexibility in deployment on the shop floor for various applications. The worker-friendly and maintenance-free cobots led to the plant witnessing a 5% Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) improvement due to the time saved in pallet replacement.
Mayur Raut, Manager, Production Unit at L'Oréal India, said “We have different people coming on the lines, in different shifts. So, sometimes, when people change, it might impact the efficiency of the line. But with cobot coming into the picture, it gives your process accuracy at just a single click. Before cobot entered the picture, we used to have number of setups done and it used to take around 60 to 70 minutes just to change from one format to another. But now it’s as simple, we just need to click a button and the robot is ready.”
Cobots from Universal Robots come with built-in safety functions, allowing individuals to work in tandem with them. For example, the e-Series cobot line has 17 safety functions certified by TÜV Nord and is in compliance with EN ISO 13849-1 and EN ISO 10218-1 machinery safety standards for unobstructed human-robot collaboration.
One company that relies on the ability to work closely with cobots is Dell. The tech giant needed to increase its production efficiency while maintain safety of employees by automating its electronics assembly lines and testing facilities at their plant in Chennai.
For Dell, assembly robots in the form of cobots turned out to be the perfect automation solution for end of line packaging and handling delicate electronics assembly tasks. In fact, the cobots were of additional value in the COVID-19 pandemic, when safety was a priority while meeting the production. Instead of multiple people working on a task, one human and cobot allowed social distancing to be practiced on their factory floor while the production was accelerated.
Although robots can be expensive but that does not hold true for each kind. In fact, cobots, are typically less expensive than traditional robots, with a fast payback period. Other than being cost-effective, their installation requires minimal investment, without the stress of making any major infrastructure changes. And, unlike traditional robots, cobots can be redeployed to different functions in the production line and used around-the-clock.
Shruti Engineers, a 10-person MSME, deployed a collaborative robot - a single UR10 used for CNC machine tending to increase its efficiency from 300 to 400 parts per day. The cobot has empowered the Indian business to stay ahead of the manufacturing game at an affordable price and greater returns.
To learn more about how Universal Robots can help your operations, book a virtual demo today!
We believe that collaborative robotic technology can be used to benefit all aspects of task-based businesses – no matter what their size.
We believe that the latest collaborative robot technology should be available to all businesses. The nominal investment cost is quickly recovered as our robotic arms have an average payback period of just six months.