Common Challenges with Cobots 2022

04/02/2022


Collaborative robots are increasingly attractive to manufacturers who require flexible solutions. For a growing product mix with limited scale of work or capital resources to justify larger investments in automation systems. Whilst cobots offer that flexibility and efficiency, these are some challenges that you would need to be aware of when considering your future cobot purchase:


Operational:


  • Cobots are not suitable for high-speed and high-payload tasks:

Cobots often operate at a relatively slower speed compared to standard automation. The average speed of a cobot is approximately 250mm which would equate to about four times less than that of an industrial robot. Due to safety considerations, cobots typically have to compromise on other capabilities such as speed, thus affecting work pace.

  • Cobots often require a workplace station setting to be as consistent and as cobot friendly as possible:

This allows for the cobot to continually perform the repeated series of tasks. Cobot engineers will anticipate, plan and programme cobots to be ‘smart’ for any potential deviation from its set capabilities but there is a need for a conscious effort to be made to reduce any possible deviations from the cobots capabilities.


Advice:


Oftentimes, flexibility in adjusting minor changes and modifications in respect to operations is necessary to ensure a cobots continuous functionality without any possible problems.


  • Cobots are not entirely independent:

This means that despite a cobot being capable of working around the clock, there is a need for human assistance and supervision, especially during the night when most employees have left.


Safety:


  • Many but not all cobots have limited payload capacity and reach:
  • Cobots often carry weights between three to ten kilograms and very rarely heavier than that.

Comparatively, industrial robots can carry up to two tonnes of load. Hence the case of limited application for cobots especially in heavy industrial sectors.

  • The need to obtain several different safety approvals to utilise a cobot:

With safety being one of the main aims of using a cobot. This means that safety approvals of the use of cobots can be at times troublesome. In some circumstances of adding new tasks to a cobot’s workload or relocating a cobot requires additional authorisations. Albeit this may not necessarily be a negative outcome, it could potentially offset workplace injuries from occurring.

Advice:


A virtual representation of the physical workplace should be created so that a proper risk assessment can be carried out, operations can be planned, future conflicts and problems can be taken into consideration and solved.


Privacy and Security:


  • The ownership of data that a cobot possesses, for example the end-user, cobot manufacturer or software provider:

It is a significant concern to ensure the safety of a company’s data and sensitive tasks is protected with their robotic solutions.


Advice:


You can work standalone, so you don’t connect your cobot installation to a network. For many applications, for example palletizing, you don’t need network access. Alternatively you can connect your cobot installation to your, secured, local network.


To learn more about cobots at Qviro.com


Updated 05/05/2022