Since their emergence, robots have been labeled many names. Some view them as job snatchers and any term that describes what they think is depriving a human worker of his daily bread is a perfect term.
Away From Robots, How Are Cobots?
What if things took a different turn? What if these types of equipment are used to complement human labour? What if the much-hated gadgets are able to work hand in hand with a human co-worker without posing any threat? Maybe things would be much better. The answer to this robot-human conflict is in the introduction of collaborative robots.
What Is a Cobot?
A cobot is the short form for a collaborative robot. It is a term used to refer to robots that have been designed to work hand in hand or alongside humans. Thanks to their programming, cobots can operate with minimum or no guidance at all and without causing any harm. Cobots are important because they relief the human worker off the tedious tasks. Human employees can take up the roles of assembling while a robot takes on the more complex or sensitive duties like loading and offloading. For instance, in the auto factories, a human can take up the role of placing tools in front of a cobot as it completes other tasks such as tightening of bolts.
With cobots at work, the light gets brighter and unlike the traditional robotics, with cobots, everyone is happier. No lifting heavy weights, no wasting hours completing complex tasks etc. Another exciting feature of cobots is that they are programmed to work side by side with humans. They can sense human touch or presence and are able to halt or even stop all movements. This is unlike the traditional robots that have to work in a cage to avoid causing unwanted harm.
Cobots are easily programmed and can be run by an average person. Industrial robots require professional know-how and a specially trained programmer who is tasked with assigning tasks, supervision and so on. A collaborative robot operates on a simple manual and is easily reprogrammed according to the task at hand.
Cobots are lightweight and easy to move around. They are not like the industrial robots which are heavy which when bolted down in one part of an industry, they cannot be easily moved around.
Are Companies Embracing Cobots?
Many manufacturers can revolutionalise their levels of production if only they decided to embrace the automation of the process. Unfortunately, a good number of manufacturers have been hesitant. This resistance is partly due to the high cost of industrial robots which have been the norm for a while. After assessing the ROI of a company, many prefer to stay away from automation.
There is some good news though, small, medium and large companies can embrace cobots. When compared to traditional robots, these are way cheaper and accommodative. They do not replace human labour but rather do provide a means and ways of working side by side with humans. Another reason why many manufacturers will find cobots interesting is that they are not very expensive, a factor that allows for the quick realization of ROI.
With an automation mechanism that enhances human effort, cobots are breakthrough that sweeps many people off their feet. From investors, employers, and employees. Incorporating the use of cobots in the production chain significantly reduces the amount of time taken from collecting raw materials, to the final delivery of a finished product.
There is no better way to speed up the production process, ensure efficiency and at the same time retain human manpower than the use of collaborative robots. They are low cost, simple and effective.
The Reaction of Human Employees To Cobots
Once an automation system is introduced into any company, the employees develop some sort of anxiety. The feeling that; a machine is taking up the available jobs. This is normal. As an employer, it is advisable to make all employees understand that introducing cobots in not intended to replace them but to make their work easier. Once this is understood, the reception of cobots will be very positive. Either way, when they all see that no one was laid off due to an automation, they will love the advancement and make the most out of it.
As an employer, it is important to spell out the reasons for automation to the entire team before actualizing it. It rules out the fear of an intent to lay off some employees.