A collaborative robot, also widely known as a cobot, is highly capable of learning multiple tasks so that it can easily assist the Homo sapiens. On the contrary, autonomous robots are hard-coded to perform repeated tasks, work independently & remain stationary. The Collaborative Robots Market was almost worth around USD 609 Million. It is predicted to reach a huge amount of USD 1671Million by the year 2027, representing a CAGR value of 15.2 % approximately.
There involves a high ROI that is gained due to the deployment of the collaborative robots & its advantages for the businesses of all forms as far as its general competitiveness, enhanced product quality, & increased production. Additionally, the cobots are a bit easier to program as compared to the programming of other robots. These are some of the most crucial factors expediting the growth of the overall cobot market.
During the Covid-19 pandemic situation, this medical industry carefully witnessed a huge demand for the robotics sector. Moreover, this sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic situation has highly fuelled the growth of the utilization of robots, especially for automation purposes in the medical sector. Throughout the duration of the pandemic, these automated robotic units were widely used for disinfecting the patient rooms & for the surgery suites as well. For example, in China, at a Shenzhen 3rd People’s Hospital, a robot called Aimbot had successfully driven down the hallways, thereby imposing the social distancing & face mask along with the spraying disinfectant rules. Hence in the future years, there is a very wide scope of opportunities for the utilization of cobots, especially in the field of healthcare.
4Major Types of Cobots that are in high demand
As per ISO 10218 part 1 & part 2, there are four types of cobots that are defined as safety monitored stop, speed & separation, power & force limiting, & hand guiding.
A.) Safety Monitored Stop:
The cobots are defined as the safety monitored stop that is intended for the applications that have a minimal level of interaction between the cobot & human workers. Typically, these sorts of cobots actually leverage an industrial robot containing a series of sensors that halts the robot’s operation whenever a human enters the work envelope.
B.) Speed & Separation:
These kinds of cobots are very much similar to the safety monitored stop cobots in the fact that they leverage an industrial cobot. However, speed & separation collaborative robots are widely used, ranging from advanced vision systems to slow operations down when the homo sapiens approach & stop the operation altogether when a worker gets too close to the robot.
C.) Power and Force Limiting:
These sorts of cobots are built with rounded corners & a series of intelligent collision sensors for detecting contact with a human worker & stop operation. These cobots, which use the collaborative robot arms, also feature some force limitations to ensure any sort of collisions is unlikely to result in an injury.
D.) Hand Guiding
These cobots are well equipped with a hand-guided device through which an operator directly controls the robotic motion during an automatic mode. While in automatic mode, the cobot performing the hand-guiding collaborations responds only to the operator’s direct input control. This, in turn, allows the robot to support the weight of a heavy workpiece whereas the operator manipulates it into its position, hence reducing its risk of repetitive-stress injuries. Similar capabilities can widely be used for “teaching” or programming a robot, but on the other hand, hand guiding the collaborative operation is needed when the robot is in automatic mode during the stage of normal production.
These four major types of cobots that are defined above inculcates every type of robot that is intended for some sort of interaction with humans during their operation. Not all of them are built for the purpose of constant collaboration, but each of them features several safety capabilities for the prevention of serious injury.
The cobots have been an important part of development in the sector of robotics. It is the first automation technology that allows conducting safe operations directly alongside that of the human workers. The 4 types of collaborative robots have emerged in a relatively short period of time & more are likely to emerge as the industry gets matures in the years to come.