Summary of Collaborative Robotics
Collaborative Robotics (Cobotics) is the next evolution of industrial automation. Robots in an industrial setting have been traditionally fixed purpose and separated from the human work force. These limitations have, for the most part been driven by programming complexity and safety considerations. These barriers are however being overcome with a next generation of robots.
Cobots are designed from the outset with human interaction in mind, being fitted and augmented with advanced sensors. These new Cobots also demonstrate a paradigm shift in their programming. They retain the traditional programming capabilities (and associated precision & complexity) but they augment these with “teaching” capabilities whereby an operator on the floor can move the Cobot through its sequence of motions, record these, and have the Cobot repeat.
Cobots are being extensively utilised to combat RSI related safety issues and facilitate flexible automated transfer of work-in-process between work stations, this allows resources to be reallocated to higher value-add activities.
The term Cobots takes in a wide range of emerging technologies including robotic arms and autonomous transport systems. In support of these, there is a strong ecosystem of vision and sensing technologies as well as end-of-arm tooling.
Here at Irish Manufacturing Research, we have a number of activities under way in the spaces of human-robot interaction, safety considerations and standards as well as how Cobotics integrates with the wider Manufacturing 4.0 framework.