CoboTend: Compassionate Collaborative Technology
How can cobots support humans to live more fulfilling lives in an age increasingly defined by well-being and quality of life?
As the world continues to adapt to a ‘new normal’ following the Covid-19 pandemic, “compassionate technology”, such as cobots and how it can support industrial sectors, has become a talking point in the manufacturing industry. Cobots and humans can work side-by-side, and the safety technology in place means that a cobot can be loading metal into a machine whilst humans work alongside.
“Amid concerns that they’ll eliminate human jobs, cobots are now being promoted as a sort of compassionate technology.” – Lynn DeRocco, Content Editor at Automation.com.
Cobots Online’s CoboTend cobot standardises metalworking, chemical etching, metal presses, and more: creating consistent products for off-the-shelf components and custom frameworks. It will continue to load materials into a machine as long as the raw material is supplied, without interruption and until the end of time should you wish.
“As new cobots are designed to perform additional functions, factories and plants will have few reasons not to invest in them, and employees will likely come to appreciate the helping hands, even if they’re robotic.” – Automation.com
Production doesn’t need to stop when the working day ends when a cobot steps in. And, should another lockdown occur, no cobot is likely to contract a virus working in a factory.
A Helping (Robot) Hand
Machine tending is an essential task that involves repeatedly loading a machine with metal parts to be shaped and manufactured before removing them again to be stacked, either for installation or distribution.
Cobots automate the start and end of line loading and unloading of machines such as CNC machines, CMMs, metal presses and chemical etching machines. A cobot can accomplish these tasks quickly and efficiently, with perfect accuracy.
“It’s about “having empathy for the worker, increasing their job satisfaction, and improving efficiency of the operation all around- a win-win.” – Tom Bianculli, Chief Technology Officer at Zebra Technologies.
An Issue Of Ethics?
Whether from the actual population or referenced in blockbuster Hollywood films, there has long been concern that “the robots are coming” for our jobs. According to Anthony Tayoun writing for Forbes, who ought to know, this is very much not the case: “We’ve heard the fear echoed time and again: Automation is going to take away our jobs. And time and again, we see the same outcome: There are just as many, if not more jobs in our more automated world.”
As cobots, robots, and AI enter the workforce, ‘the fourth Industrial Revolution’ is well on its way. The term ‘Industrial Revolution’ brings to mind Victorian workhouses, massive job losses, smog and smoke and starvation. But this isn’t the 19th century, and we have seen many successful technological revolutions since. Tayoun even argues that: “The effect of the steely arms of robots entering the workforce are likely to be no different than those of the great advances in computing that we have witnessed in recent decades.”
Many consider this technology “compassionate” because it reduces the risk of injury to humans, allows workers to upskill and explore more lucrative roles, and supports employees to work in more problem-solving and creative positions.
“Cobots can reduce the miles walked by a warehouse worker from twelve or so miles a day to about three miles.” – Tom Bianculli
Miles of walking may be OK for younger workers, but this takes a toll as we age. Heavy equipment loading can also be reassigned to cobots, sparing the spines of humans who will suffer the physical ramifications in later life. The role of humans in manufacturing is evolving alongside the shifting priorities of a society keenly realising its vulnerability to the unexpected (such as sudden pandemics), and this is where cobots, or collaborative robots, can thrive.
To discuss how cobots can lend a helping hand in your business, please get in touch, and we’ll deliver the future right to your factory floor.