Collaborative automation, welcome to the new era
is the headline of the news that the author of WTM News has collected this article. Stay tuned to WTM News to stay up to date with the latest news on this topic. We ask you to follow us on social networks.
In the BC (Before Collaboration) era, automation was the exclusive domain of industrial giants with huge budgets. Automation back then was cumbersome, inflexible, expensive, and also difficult to program. Another handicap was the implementation time, which was measured in years.
The emergence of collaborative robot systems, user-friendly tools and intuitive programming software in the last 10-15 years has changed the entire ecosystem. Implementation time is now measured in days and weeks and the technology playing field between SMEs and industry giants has been leveled. Welcome to the collaborative era!
Pioneered by collaborative automation companies and since embraced throughout the robotics industry, the current collaborative era has enabled the democratization of automation. Traditional barriers have been dismantled, which has benefited smaller companies.
What is collaborative automation?
The word collaborative conjures up images of humans and robots collaborating on tasks as equal partners. No, this is not the case. Collaborative automation – consisting of robotic arms, tools, end effectors, accessories and software – are easy and simple-to-use tools designed to empower human productivity across a wide range of applications from covering functions from sanding and screwdriving to picking and place.
The term collaborative automation also refers to automation systems that allow humans, robots, and end-of-arm tools to share the same workspace safely (following a standard risk assessment, of course), without the need for a security fence or protection. In the Collaborative Era, the old human vs. robots completely change, in fact, it does not exist and humans and machines work together.
The very nature of collaborative automation is constantly changing, driven by the requirements of a rapidly transforming manufacturing sector that is undergoing significant change since increasing digitization.
The benefits of the Collaborative Era are within everyone’s reach, but the key is to find the right approach, which combines the usability and speed of deployment that cobot technologies provide. And within this new era, the most important trend we see is the rise of collaborative application solutions.
Collaborative Application Solutions are complete, turnkey solutions that provide all the hardware, software, tools, and accessories needed to address specific applications such as palletizing, sanding, material handling, or machine feeding. In recent years we have seen how SMEs are focused on the application and we believe that it is the way forward, that automation should be application-centric.
This app-centric trend combines everything that’s great about collaborative automation – usability, affordability, cost savings, and flexibility – into a single out-of-the-box solution. At OnRobot, we believe that industrial automation should be like this: intuitive, application-centric, and accessible to businesses of all sizes, even those with no prior robotics experience.
The emergence of these new application-centric solutions means that once companies have identified a task for automation, they can get everything they need in terms of tools, accessories and software in one package to get their cell up and running. collaboratively on your cobot or light industrial robotic arm.
These out-of-the-box collaborative application solutions greatly simplify the deployment process, allowing companies to get automation up and running with minimal cost-intensive downtime and at a fraction of the cost of automation deployments. traditional.
What are the main differences between collaborative and traditional industrial automation?
Unlike traditional automation, whose implementation and management are notoriously expensive, collaborative automation solutions are characterized by their security, simplicity, and ease and speed of implementation. This makes a huge difference to your bottom line, from reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) and downtime to a faster return on investment (ROI).
Traditional automation systems are best suited for low mix/high volume (LMHV) production. But the trend in manufacturing, especially among SMBs, is high-mix/low-volume (HMLV) production, driving the need for collaborative automation. A collaborative automation system—consisting of a robotic arm, end-of-arm tooling, fixtures, and the software that ties it all together—can be quickly and easily adjusted to accommodate new products. And, with the right tooling, the entire system can be easily changed from one application to another.
As a result, collaborative application solutions hit that sweet spot between affordability, ease of use, and flexible functionality that manufacturers demand.
Welcome to the era of collaborative automation
What is driving the adoption of collaborative automation?
These are difficult times for the productive sector. Labor shortages, global supply chain issues and economic uncertainties are straining budgets, business continuity and production capacity.
Collaborative automation solves critical challenges, such as labor shortages. Manufacturing companies of all sizes face enormous problems in finding and retaining the workforce, from operational positions
unskilled and skilled up to production manager positions. In addition, labor is becoming more expensive all over the world.
A 2021 report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute revealed that 500,000 jobs remain unfilled in the US manufacturing sector alone. Manufacturers also stated that it is 36% harder to find talent today than it was in 2018, leading the report’s authors to conclude that 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could be left unfilled by 2030.
This pattern is repeated around the world, from Southeast Asia to the European Union. The labor crisis in the manufacturing sector is, at least in part, also a demographic crisis
On the one hand, companies with sufficient labor availability adopt collaborative automation for different reasons, with ergonomics being an important factor. As collaborative automation takes care of repetitive and potentially disruptive elements of tasks, companies are deploying the technology to improve conditions for existing workers.
On the other hand, manufacturers are facing growing demand driven by the boom in e-commerce in recent years. More products and parts than ever need to be manufactured to meet this demand. Unfortunately, this surge in demand is occurring at the same time as raw material shortages and global supply chain pressures.
Macroeconomic uncertainties, seasonal increases in demand, tight deadlines and the trend to move from low-mix/high-volume (LMHV) to high-mix/low-volume (HMLV) production put further pressure on manufacturing companies. manufacturing.
Thanks to the rise of out-of-the-box collaborative application solutions, robotics has been simplified and democratized. In addition, the competitive advantage that automation confers – from increased productivity and throughput to improved reliability and quality – is now within the reach of businesses of all sizes. This is how industrial automation in this Age of Collaboration was always meant to be.
Author: Enrique Palomeque, Sales Manager for Spain, Portugal, Israel and Greece, OnRobot