The days of conventional robotics may be numbered. In the past, small and medium sized businesses faced costly, bulky and complicated solutions to achieve automation with an extended period to see a return on the investment.
Today, cobot automation solutions are much cheaper, much safer, easy to program, and increase profitability in a much shorter timeframe. For small and medium sized businesses, collaborative robots are a perfect gateway to automation. Below are four outstanding reasons for small and medium sized businesses to adopt the new collaborative robot trend.
Safety is always a top priority. While traditional robots are placed behind safety cages, compliance with ISO/TS 15066 safety guidelines allow cobots to work alongside a person with fewer safety hazards. Collaborative robots such as the Universal Robots are equipped with sensors that will immediately stop movement should the equipment encounter a person in its path. Cobots may be installed to perform repetitive and dangerous tasks which reduces injury.
While traditional robots may take months and a team of experts to install, a collaborative robot can be set up and programmed in a few hours by anyone who can operate a smartphone. Universal Robots offers free online training for new users, for example. A cobot can be equipped with a variety of adaptive grippers and object recognition sensors to increase output similar to that of a person. Existing employees can be easily trained to program the robot as they use a simple graphic user interface and touchscreen controls.
Small and medium sized businesses will benefit from the flexibility offered by collaborative robots since they can be reprogrammed and deployed for a variety of tasks to meet the needs of customer requests. This level of flexibility offers small and medium sized businesses the ability to produce small, customized batches that traditional industrial robots would not allow. Quick changeovers and enhanced mobility allow the cobots to travel around a shop floor for a variety of tasks.
With a price tag of between $30,000 and $80,0000, collaborative robots are far less expensive than traditional industrial robots. Small and medium sized business can typically justify the investment by the anticipated ROI, which may be as little as six months - calculate your collaborative robot ROI here. Moreover, some tooling accessories may be transferred from one robot arm to the next when and if additional or larger robots are required.
Advances in industrial robotics, automation and IIoT have supported the rapidly increasing use of collaborative robots, the market for which is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2020. Collaborative robots are able to take over dangerous and repetitive tasks to protect employees and boost productivity in the process. Small and medium sized businesses can justify an investment in collaborative robots to increase profits and a create a safer workplace.