Collaborative robots were built as a safer alternative to heavy industrial robots that could work side by side with human workers without putting them in danger. All collaborative robots feature smooth designs, usually with few or no pinch points, and sophisticated motion control to avoid potentially harmful interactions with humans.
Originally, collaborative robots were only for routine, highly structured applications with light parts. They weren’t skilled and were slow. However, this is quickly changing, and collaborative robots are now far more capable than they once were.
The Latest Developments in Collaborative Robots
Many of the latest developments in collaborative robots have happened on the hardware side, making them more profitable and easier to justify in a wide range of applications.
The advancing technology behind image and force sensors has contributed to the flexibility and safety of collaborative robots. Control systems have become more sophisticated at the same time that the robots have become easier to use and implement. Little to no programming abilities are needed to train a collaborative robot, further improving their ease of use. And on top of all this, prices have been rapidly declining to the point where they can be profitably deployed in small manufacturing facilities.
Today’s collaborative robots have made major improvements in their ability to deliver return on investment (ROI), production efficiency and overall ease of use. As these robots continue to develop, these same qualities will also continue to improve.
Collaborative Robots: What’s Just Around the Corner?
There are many potential innovations just around the corner for collaborative robots. One possibility is the emergence of more branded, packaged solutions that perform a few different functions highly cost-effectively. This could be a collaborative robot mounted on an autonomous mobile robot in a warehouse, or even a collaborative robot that loads drones with packages for delivery of time sensitive items.
The robots as a service model, where companies can rent a collaborative robot, will further lower the barrier of entry to robotic automation, as will increasing precision and flexibility in collaborative robots. Artificial intelligence and cloud connections for data collection and analysis will likely make their way into collaborative robot technology too, enhancing the value and the role that these robots play in production.
Collaborative robots have an exciting future ahead. They’ll be smarter, more connected and more productive than traditional collaborative robots.
Collaborative robots have recently increased in capabilities, primarily on the hardware side of the technology, making them more useful, profitable and easier to implement than ever before.
To learn more about the current state and future of collaborative robots, register for our free archived webinar “Collaborative Robot Update.”