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How Collaborative Robots Are Being Used in Pharma

How Collaborative Robots Are Being Used in PharmaCollaborative robots, or “cobots,” are improving efficiency in pharmaceutical research, drug production, and quality control. Collaborative robots offer pharma greater reliability, consistency, and precision.

Collaborative Robots Increase Efficiency in Pharma

Once a cobot is programmed, repetitive tasks can be completed with low error. Cobots are ideal for protecting sterile environments from contamination. Many cobots can work 24-hours a day without breaks or maintenance. As a result, a cobot’s return on investment occurs within a year in most industries.

It’s more common to see cobots used in large facilities, but small labs and multi-labs also benefit from their use. Cobots can be programmed for a variety of tasks, relocated easily, and can start working quickly. They can be mounted above workspaces to save valuable floor space for humans and equipment in small labs.

Rather than resenting the cobots for taking away tasks from humans, jobs tend to be higher skilled and enhanced. Employees working alongside cobots focus on rewarding work more suited for humans, boosting productivity and engagement.

Applications of Collaborative Robots in Pharma

Collaborative robots can do everything from dosing to marking to packaging and are being leveraged to produce high-quality medicines. Cobots mix, count, dispense and inspect medications in pharmaceutical labs. As a result, pharma has been able to optimize processes, reduce waste, and improve yield while ensuring the highest quality control to meet strict regulatory requirements.

Pick-and-place operations are the primary use of cobots in pharma labs. Lab systems must handle multiple task changes. Cobots optimize complex tasks by implementing 3D-vision calibration.

3D-vision calibration is made possible by the use of a 2D-camera that measures a known object. The cobot uses that information to determine a 3D position. One application of 3D-vision calibration is tray stacking. The cobot unloads a tray of parts and removes the tray. Then, the cobot calibrates the depth of the next tray and begins unloading again.

Considering Collaborative Robot Automation?

Here are a few critical elements of deploying a cobot at your operation:

  • Define the tasks that are ideal for a cobot.
  • Consider environmental characteristics.
  • Review training methodology and safety requirements of the cobot.
  • Find an integration partner or identify the cobot manufacturer that is right for your operation.
  • Consider the software system needed with the cobot and the data output.

Do you have a specific question and need expert insight? Click here to Ask the Experts online or visit www.robotics.org  to find a system integrator RIA member to help you with your automation project.


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