The Growing Impact of the Cobot Revolution

The Growing Impact of the Cobot Revolution
The Growing Impact of the Cobot Revolution
Amongst the many new technologies that are impacting the manufacturing industry today, I am convinced that collaborative robots are the highest  impact automation development, which can improve manufacturing and which are particularly effective for small and medium manufacturing enterprises. Accelerating the application of collaborative type of robots is the integration of vision systems with artificial intelligence, and this integration is enabling a range of new applications.
Collaborative robots are a new breed of lightweight and inexpensive robots, with safety features which enable people to work cooperatively with these devices in a production environment. Collaborative robots can sense humans and other obstacles and respond by automatically stopping so that they cause no harm or destruction. With these robots, protective fences and cages are not required and therefore they can many times be enabled flexibility and lower implementation costs. These robots are particularly attractive investments for small to medium sized companies, as the typical cost is less than $40,000 and their simplified programming means they can be deployed without hiring specialized engineers.

This breed of robots is following a similar pattern that ignited the personal computer revolution - providing a product with less power than larger offerings, but with added value for a broader number of users. The rate of robot adoption is accelerating throughout the world, particularly in China, which has become the largest purchaser of robots in the world.
The International Federation of Robotics report, WorldRobotics2019Industrial Robots, noted that in 2018, global robot installations increased by 6% to 422,271 units, the operational stock of robots was computed at 2,439,543 units (+15%).

This article is part of Bill Lydon’s Top Trends, his Automation & Control Trends Report for 2020-2021. Download the full report here


About The Author

Lydon brings more than 10 years of writing and editing expertise to, plus more than 25 years of experience designing and applying technology in the automation and controls industry. Lydon started his career as a designer of computer-based machine tool controls; in other positions, he applied programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and process control technology. In addition to working at various large companies (e.g., Sundstrand, Johnson Controls, and Wago), Lydon served a two-year stint as part of a five-person task group, where he designed controls, automation systems, and software for chiller and boiler plant optimization. He was also a product manager for a multimillion-dollar controls and automation product line and president of an industrial control software company.

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