The future of Cobots in the factory

It is an established fact that collaborative robots are here to stay. One of their major advantages is that contrary to popular beliefs, their use increases employment and helps improve employee morale.

Cobots have been a major boost for employee morale in the manufacturing industry. By taking on jobs considered to be boring and repetitive, employees have been freed to take on higher value jobs within the work ecosystem.

To stay ahead of the curve, companies need to be forward looking and anticipate changes in customer needs and preferences. To remain relevant and useful in the industry also, cobots need to advance with the times and keep improving on their capabilities and capacities.

According to cobot manufacturers and industry analysts, this are the features we expect to see in future cobots.

1. Much safer cobots

universal-robots.com, pioneer manufacturers of cobots recently released a new e-Series of their products.  Each of their robotic arms now has a corresponding e-series type. Slightly expensive than the existing cobots, this new range of cobots is safer and easier to use.

With an in-built force torque sensor, this cobot range ensures that the likelihood of accidents occurring in the workplace is minimized. Now, factories running complex operations that felt the need to cage their UR cobots will not have to do so.

In addition, factories will not need to buy any external hardware to ensure the safety of the people working with the cobot.

With these advancements, cobots can easily “see” their human colleagues reducing the chances of accidents occurring in the workplace.

2. Smarter cobots

Technology advancements in learning how the human brain works will also be a leading feature in the cobots of the future. Cobots learn how to perform tasks through simple programming or an actual physical lesson on how to perform certain tasks.

With improvements in artificial intelligence, cobots will now learn how to perform tasks through trial and error or even through watching other people do it.

This will reduce the time it takes to program a cobot. In addition, it will increase its already high levels of accuracy and precision.

3. Ease of mobility

To move a cobot from one end of the factory to another, you need to mount it on a motion platform that is equipped with wheels.

Future robots will not require this mobility platform. Using mobile apps, cobot controllers can easily fit a map of the factory of working area where the cobot is working from. With the touch of a button on a mobile device, the cobot will easily navigate the factory moving goods and product from one place to another.

In addition, they will have the capacity to carry heavy weights of up to 1,500kg.

As cobots get new uses in different industries every day, this feature will enhance their appearance in industries such as construction where people need to move heavy loads from one point to another frequently.

4. Development of independent robot apps

Cobot manufacturing companies are making it possible for people outside the cobot manufacturing ecosystem to develop apps that can be used to offer more functionality to the robots. This will be made possible by the already in progress development of an ecosystem like a “cobot app store” where people using the cobots could download different apps for the different functionalities that they need on their cobots.

This is likely to spur the use of cobots even away from industrial service.

5. Wearable cobots

Cobots are compact and cannot easily lift heavy loads which is a specialty of other types of machines. However, industries using cobots deal with heavy products that need lifting. To address these, cobot manufacturers are developing wearable exoskeleton robots that assist their human colleagues to lift heavy objects without strain. This kind of wearable robots help eliminate the effect of lifting heavy weights on the human body.

Wearable robots can also be used in the military to protect and enhance the capabilities of the wearer.

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