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Types of Collaborative Robots

Since the development of collaborative robots in 2007, they have been used in different parts of the world to execute various tasks. Many people however have questions about the functionality and safety of collaborative robots as well as the different types of these unique robots that are available in the market. Read on to find out more about collaborative robots.

Collaborative robots are categorized into four main types depending on the type of sensor technology that is dominant in the robot. The sensor technology determines the tasks that the robot is assigned to execute. The four main types of collaborative robots include:

1.     Joint sensing

This type of collaborative robots makes use of sensors installed on the joints of the robot to monitor the force that the robot is subjected to. Use of joint sensors helps to enhance the safety of collaborative robots working among human beings. This is achieved by using force torque sensors to monitor and give a notification incase the joint can’t handle the applied force.

2.     Force sensing

Located at the base of the collaborative robot, force sensors serve to increase the sensitivity of the robots to force. They enable manufacturers to convert their existing robots to collaborative robots and enable them to work alongside human workers. If the robotic arm senses that the force applied exceeds the set limit, the sensors command the robot to stop so as to avoid a scenario where it hurts the human worker.

3.     Skin sensing

Although collaborative robots with skin sensors are challenging to develop, they are the safest robots to use in a warehouse as they make use of sensors that detect skin and instruct the robot to stop immediately to prevent causing an injury to a human worker. By detecting factors such as body temperature the sensors enable the collaborative robots to keep accidents at the workplace at minimum.

4.     Inherently safe

Inherently safe robots handle little payloads making it almost impossible for them to hurt you. There are minimal chances of any injury being caused to humans by inherently safe collaborative robots making them the safest robots to use in a warehouse.

Pros and cons of collaborative robots

To be able to deeply understand the working of collaborative robots, it is of essence that you understand the pros and cons of adopting the use of collaborative robots;

Pros

·         Reduced expenses

Collaborative robots are available in the market at pocket friendly prices so as to enable small and medium enterprises to automate their operations in an inexpensive way. This way they are able to attain a return on investment faster than when they use industrial robots.

Use of robots also enables manufacturers to cut down on the production costs by replacing human laborers involved in repetitive jobs with collaborative robots. Reduced labor overheads enable the manufacturers to channel that money in the organic development of the business.

·         Re-programming

Collaborative robots are very easy to program enabling manufacturers to use them for different purposes. The user interface is very simple such that it doesn’t require any background knowledge in programming to be able to operate it. Collaborative robots can be easily moved from one sector to another on hire or lease enabling clients to attain maximum productivity at reduced costs.

·         Flexibility

Collaborative robots are not limited to the walls of cages as were the industrial robots which give them the flexibility to execute a wide range of tasks. The excess labor can be used to create additional products giving the company more returns.

Cons

·         Speed

Collaborative robots are not as fast as other robots so as to be able to maintain a safe threshold and prevent injuries at the workplace. This implies that collaborative robots can’t be able to execute tasks that require use of high speed.

·         Payload

To enhance the safety of collaborative robots around human beings, they are designed to handle lower payloads. This limits the amount of workload that collaborative can handle at once.

About the author

Ross Cameron

Ross Cameron

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