The Cobot Expo

Incremental Automation with Cobots

Aug. 3, 2020
A virtual Universal Robots event highlighted how collaborative robotics can fill skills gap and gradual automation in manufacturing.

Universal Robots’ (UR) The Cobot Expo (held July 28-30) played host to more than 7,000 registrants. The three-day expo broadcasted several presentations, featuring everything from how to remove and replace joints on UR cobots to sessions on how companies can leverage robotic technology to aid different types of production.

Joe Campbell, head of Marketing Americas, Universal Robots gave the presentation “The New Normal in Manufacturing with Collaborative Robots,” which explained how cobots can literally fill the social distancing and skills gaps in manufacturing lines.

Campbell attested that the biggest driver for the implementation of robotics in manufacturing are the labor shortage and skills gap, which have been confirmed by reports from the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte and by the U.S. Department of Labor. The labor shortage emerges from the retiring workforce, new labor retention issues and immense training costs.

During the presentation, Campbell focused on three areas in which cobots can aid production lines during the age of COVID. Those areas are: maintaining worker safety, accelerating reshoring and enabling manufacturing flexibility.

Campbell described cobot implementation as incremental automation.

“If you have a 10-step process in manufacturing, you don’t have to automate all 10 steps to be successful,” he said. “Identify one process step worthy of automation—implement it, and start generating the ROI very quickly.”

Then, he said, after automating a single process step, consider automating another step, and so on.

Another topic that grew out of cobot innovation is the idea of using a robot as a tool. This idea enables small and medium-sized companies (especially job shops and contract manufacturers) that do not have an automation or robotic engineering department to leverage robotics in their shops. These robots are effective for assembly, machining and packaging.

“It’s even accelerated beyond that into a rapidly emerging rental market,” Campbell said.

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!