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Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

Posted November 15, 2020 12:00 AM by ahorner_22
Pathfinder Tags: cobots manufacturing robots

The manufacturing sector has typically been among the first to benefit from technological innovation, particularly in the field of robotics and automation. Traditional industrial robotic systems usually require the use of peripheral safety equipment for the safety of human co-workers. However, the features designed to protect human workers tend to increase cost and space requirements. It falls on manufacturers to find a solution that not only addresses these problems but also the need to provide solutions for customer needs quickly.

Collaborative robots (or cobots) help address existing challenges in work and manufacturing tasks by enabling human-robot collaboration (HRC) within the same workflow and common workspace. The HRC model combines the human ability to judge, react, and plan with a robot’s strength and repeatability of actions.

The use of collaborative robots in manufacturing provides the following benefits:

  • Cobots can be reprogrammed during manufacturing changeovers using human-machine interfaces (HMIs).
  • Cobots can handle repetitive, physically taxing and high-risk tasks.
  • Cobots promote safety on the manufacturing floor.
  • Cobots are more affordable and easier to operate and maintain.
  • Cobots can detect nonstandard activity within their immediate work environment.
  • Cobots are usually lightweight, making them easy to move where needed.
  • Cobots help manufacturing companies achieve greater productivity.
  • Cobots reduce strain on production employees.
  • Cobots can help reduce costs and waste.

Collaborative robots in manufacturing function as assistants to workers. As robots handle repetitive and dangerous tasks, their human counterparts can focus on being creative and improving manufacturing processes. This arrangement also results in better attendance and performance as workers are happier and less stressed.

HRC is not about robots replacing humans. It’s a matter of realigning who does what. Cobots can work on automated processes, while their human partners can focus on analytical work and innovation. It’s an excellent formula that can substantially benefit manufacturing industries.

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#1

Re: Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

11/16/2020 6:52 AM

Use of the word <...collaboration...> suggests that the <...Robots...> have a level of thought comparable to the human. This is not the case, and therefore its use falls somewhere between inappropriate and offensive.

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#2
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Re: Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

11/18/2020 10:57 AM

It just doesn't sound cool to call them robots, which is what they are. Since these robots are in fact assisting their human counterparts, not collaborating with them, maybe they should be called assbots.

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#3
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Re: Robot-Human Collaboration in the Manufacturing Environment

11/23/2020 6:07 PM

To the extent that robots augment human efforts involving strength, steadiness, repetition, etc., they could also be called ''augbots'', (...until they unionize, demand more time-off to recharge, higher-grade relacement parts, more frequent maintenance breaks, more uniform power supply, better ''retirement'' benefits, etc., ...whence they would be called TOO human-like...)

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