What is a Cobot? A new kind of Robot is becoming more and more common place in modern manufacturing. A ‘cobot’ is a phrase used to describe a collaborative robot which is designed to work alongside existing workers to perform a wide variety of tasks and applications. Cobots are a smaller and less expensive than industrial robots with lighter payloads and slower speeds for maximum safety when operating near workers. Collaborative work can be independent, or the Cobot and the workers can work together to complete a particular task. They are also able to operate in diverse environments.
Incorporating the latest in electronics and sensing technology, Cobots require little or no programming and can generally be operated by existing personnel. Cobots can be quickly integrated into existing work cells or production lines with little downtime. Most have a 6 or 7 axis (articulation of the arm) to perform both simple and complex functions.
While cobots have unique advantages over industrial robots they also have limitations. Cobots are substantially smaller than industrial robots and they are limited in both payload and reach. Lifting limits range from 10-25 pounds. Reach is generally 1 to 2 meters(?) Speed is must is limited to avoid injury if it comes in contact with a worker.
Cobots have been designed with safety for the worker as top priority. Most industrial robots are housed within a cage or some type of physical barrier to help ensure the safety of the workers. Cobots, however, will stop automatically if they come in contact with an obstruction. This eliminates the need for a physical barrier and allows the cobot to work alongside the worker.