Should cooperative robots do it?
Cooperative robotis an important part of industry 4.0 and intelligent production scheme. These new generation machines attract many engineers who can control their strength and work safely around the people on the equipment line without the traditional safety protection equipment.
Since cooperative robots first appeared ten years ago, they have changed many factories and workshops, and made it easier for small manufacturers to use automation. The technology also enables many companies to move production to the United States and implement a small volume, high mix production strategy.
"Today's collaborative robots are particularly well known for some reasons," said Esben ostergaard, chief technology officer of robotics worldwide, who pioneered the collaborative system in 2008. "Collaborative robots work with people instead of replacing them, especially when the production workers lose it, which is a particularly valuable problem.
"We want to give control of factory automation back to operators," explains ostergaard, who recently won the EIC's 2018 Ig Award for his contribution to industrial automation. "We hope to provide them with something to finish their work more effectively, rather than replace the personnel. We want to remove them from the same tasks as robots and become robots.
Programmers and deal with more value-added missions.
"This may be the best long-term effect of using collaborative robots," ostergaard says. "This new arrangement of human creativity, coupled with the repeatability of robots, deals with the expansion of shopping malls and customer requirements, requiring a high degree of product personalization. It's a qualitative change, whether it's for the product or for the people who make it. "
"Collaborative robots have opened the door for early manufacturers who have been worried about automation equipment lines," compensates Chris Blanchett, executive director of fanucamerica Corp., which supplies five models of collaborative robots. "It eventually added the value of automation to many companies."
"Operators need only a few hours of practice to equip a collaborative machine that is light enough to be able to arrange from scratch many times a day around the factory and to work without fences and guards." Technical support Daniel Moore said. General robotics engineer. "In terms of function, every defect or difficulty of traditional robots can be eliminated by changing the focus."
"In the early years, many people were intimidated by robots," said Matt Fitzgerald, vice president of products at rethink robotics Inc. "in 2012, the company launched the Baite collaboration robot." Now, advanced technology makes it easier for everyone, especially small producers, to use robots. Cooperative machines are flexible, easy to use and safe to operate. "
Cooperative robots are expected to continue to travel in quality, power and cost. But, as with any automation, their overall effectiveness depends on choosing the right application and pre planning.
Although there is a lot of hype, the quality of cooperative robots is good and bad, so it is necessary for production engineers to consider it carefully. The technology is exciting, but it's not interesting for some types of applications. For example, a limited payload capacity and slow operating speed are two drawbacks.
According to the International Federation of robotics, the demand for collaborative robots is increasing by 60% every year. By 2025, collaborative robots will account for 34% of all robot sales, up from less than 5% today.
Assembly's work in 2018 demonstrates this trend. More than a third (38%) of the assembler's solutions will arrange collaborative robots in the next 12 months. Compared with 2017, 7 percentage points were added, compared with 2016, 12 percentage points were added.
Because of their mobility and almost no need for safety barriers, various manufacturers are using the next generation of cooperative robots. These machines are particularly suitable for smaller companies. For example, 21% of respondents who work for manufacturers with fewer than 50 employees plan to arrange the technology within the next 12 months. This is 8 percentage points higher than in 2017.
"Small and medium-sized manufacturers are driving the demand for collaborative robots," said rian Whitton, a research analyst at abiresearch Inc. "This is driven by the need to produce processing solutions that do not include large-scale funding of fixed assets, automation or large robotic arms. These missions include machine maintenance, quality control and lighting assembly. "
Whitton believes that smaller manufacturers need flexible automation solutions that can be easily and quickly adjusted to meet changing needs. "They need a system that can easily and quickly program, and can support many types of automation missions," he said. "Cooperative robots are great."
Whitton suspects that in the next seven years, shipments of collaborative robots will increase by 50%, while shipments of traditional industrial robots will increase by 12%. And by 2025, the global revenue of these machines will increase from $292 million today to more than $1 billion.
The increasing demand is driven by shorter product life cycle and more and more use of small batch, high hybrid production scheme instead of large batch, low hybrid production.
"Manufacturers need more flexible automation solutions, with the speed and power of traditional shopping malls," said Nico, manager of assembly and inspection line of ABB robotics.