Collaborative robots (cobots) are versatile. They work in plastics, packaging, logistics, and electronics manufacturing. Cobots also support their human colleagues in the metal fabrication industry – where presses, punches and forming machines often have tasks that are undesirable, monotonous, or potentially dangerous. Collaborative robots are ideal for loading and unloading parts into this heavy machinery. Often times the parts made in these applications are sharp sheet metal pieces that could be better handled by a cobot’s flexible end-of-arm-tooling. Collaborative robots help companies make their production more efficient, so that their employees can work in a safe and healthy environment and take on more challenging, cognitive, or dexterous tasks in the value chain, especially in times of a massive shortage of skilled workers. Cobots are also a flexible automation solution for meeting production commitments on time, even in the event of fluctuations in demand or production peaks.
Relieve employees from tedious tasks
Typical tasks in metal fabrication, such as operating machines, cutting, welding, or testing parts can not only be very tedious but also dangerous. For example, working on forming machines, handling sharp-edged elements, or moving metal parts for many hours during a shift is physically demanding and could cause repetitive motion injuries. Cobots can relieve this by taking on monotonous, dangerous and tedious tasks.
Video: Sawyer at work in metal fabrication
A success story
Trellidor, a manufacturer of safety solutions, integrated Rethink Robotics’ cobot Sawyer into its production facility. Since then, the robot has been working 24/7 and has helped to triple the company’s productivity. In addition, the manufacturer improved occupational safety in activities that endanger employees.
Like many manufacturers, Trellidor was reluctant to automate production processes because the team feared long implementation and down times, as well as unmanageable costs. These concerns are valid, because implementing traditional industrial robots is both time-consuming, require specialized skills, and are costly. This is exactly where collaborative robots make a difference: Sawyer collaborative robots can be deployed quickly, reducing deployments costs and limiting the impact to production downtime.
Next, take a look some of the other industries in which cobots are working, such as electronics manufacturing and packaging. Also, be sure to subscribe above and check out the rest of the Rethink Robotics blog.