Collaborative robots on mobile platforms, or mobile cobots, will be highly productive automated systems for the right applications. Many of the major robot manufacturers have had prototypes in development for years and the need for these systems exists – soon they will be a more common sight in the industrial sector.
While collaborative robots and mobile platforms are both mature robotic technologies, they have yet to reach full maturity as a technology working together. As these types of robots enter the marketplace, they’ll bring higher productivity in a number of different applications.
What are Collaborative Robots and Mobile Robots?
Collaborative robots are a form of robot intended for industrial or scientific use in close collaboration with human workers. As opposed to industrial robots which require expensive safety fencing and equipment, collaborative robots feature rounded joints and force control to safely work on a task with a human nearby.
Mobile robots, primarily autonomous mobile robots (AMR), are essentially robotic platforms capable of moving to the task in which they’re assigned. Typically, AMRs are equipped with advanced sensors and computing abilities to autonomously navigate dynamic environments while avoiding collisions.
What are the Benefits of Mobile Cobots?
When collaborative robots and mobile robots integrate into a single system, there are several productivity benefits to be gained. The primary advantage of adding mobility to collaborative robots is the reduced downtime of the system. A stationary collaborative robot must be manually moved between tasks, or an elaborate system to move the part to the robot must be implemented. Mobility simplifies the process while increasing uptime.
Mobile cobots offer better use of space and less operator intervention, further extending their productivity benefits. With mobility, collaborative robots achieve an even higher degree of autonomy, creating efficiencies in tasks such as material handling and allowing human workers to focus on more important priorities.
While challenges to implementation remain, the addition of mobile capabilities to collaborative robots unlocks new potential uses for automation and new forms of efficiency in a variety of settings.
Mobile cobots are an exciting innovation in the world of robotics. They’ll bring many productivity advantages to shop floors and warehouses around the world when they’re mature enough to be a commercially viable solution.
To learn more on this topic, visit our educational section on collaborative robots and learn about collaborative robot technology and the marketplace.