At a glance
A Cobot or collaborative robot is a special machine that supports people in their work in many different ways. Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC), i.e. the cooperation between humans and robots, allows, for example, the automation of certain mechanical activities so that humans and machines can work together on a task that would be too strenuous or complex for one human alone.
Cobots and safety at work
Even if all employees in a company are human beings, not all accidents at work can be avoided. Collisions and injuries can occur during the simplest of activities. This problem is also critical when collaborating with robots that have many times the strength of a human being. The safety of human employees is therefore a priority. Cobots are equipped with sophisticated safety systems to prevent collisions at all costs. The first generations of collaborative robots offered safety by not being able to perform independent movements; all actions had to be triggered by a human.
In the meantime, the technology has evolved: A modern Cobot uses sensors to detect its surroundings, detect danger and avoid it by shutting down immediately. It is now possible for people to interact with their mechanical colleagues without the need for protective devices such as fences and barriers. Only for tasks that are considered particularly dangerous, additional safety measures are taken, e.g. when working with pointed, sharp or otherwise questionable materials. The exact safety precautions required for a Cobot depend not only on the type of robot, but also on the context in which it is used for the task in question.
Advantages of man-machine collaboration
Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC) offers many advantages to manufacturing companies. They are a modern tool to support people in the production of goods and to automate a wide range of processes as required.
Human workers can be spared and relieved by working with highly specialized robots. The machines can take over supporting activities that would pose a risk to humans or would simply not be feasible, e.g. positioning heavy components and taking over work involving a high level of dirt or risk of injury. They can also perform repetitive tasks and thus make the work less monotonous for people.
Collect data in real time
Cobots are equipped with a number of sensors that help you work with your human colleagues. This means that production data is continuously collected. This real-time data can not only be used selectively for the respective work steps, but also contribute to the analysis and optimization of the entire production chain. They provide valuable insights into operational processes and can be used, for example, to continually improve the work steps and ultimately make work easier for human employees.
Many collaborative robots are designed in such a way that they are not suitable for a single task in the long run. They can be freely adapted to a wide variety of manual tasks as required. This makes them a tool for the automation of manual tasks in almost all steps of production.