This past year, we saw many headlines such as “Cobot Deployment shines in COVID-19 Pandemic” and “COVID-19 is Driving Greater Demand for Cobots”. Even before the pandemic, we saw collaborative robots, known as “Cobots,” deployment transition from a breakthrough, early adopter technology to a familiar tool incorporated into businesses of all sizes.
Many businesses also took advantage of the Section 179 Tax Deduction—a first-year expensing write-off for equipment purchases. The deduction is based on the year you buy your collaborative robot and put it into service. That said, even we understand that the timing for implementation may not be suitable for every organization. So how do you know if your operation is ready for cobots?
1. You are looking to improve efficiency in your operations.
Whether you are looking to improve efficiencies in sorting, packaging, finishing, or quality control, collaborative robots go hand in hand with lean manufacturing principles. They can be easily moved about the production line and programmed to perform many different tasks. And they can be quickly deployed wherever they are needed most for fast ROI.
2. You are having trouble finding workers willing to do repetitive tasks or concerned about repetitive injuries your workers may suffer.
There is very little job satisfaction or opportunity for advancement in tedious and repetitive work. Yes, workers get a paycheck, but they often suffer from boredom and repetitive injuries too. Cobots offer the opportunity to offload tedious tasks, leaving the employee to use their creativity and intuition—two traits robots do not possess.
3. You see too many mistakes or a drop in quality on your assembly line.
When you rely on humans to do manual assembly or inspections, errors are inevitable. Quality inspections often require extensive decision-making. The more decisions the inspector must make, the more likely they will forget a specification or two. Even simple visual inspections are prone to human error when doing thousands every day.
Cobots make for better inspectors because they don’t forget the steps required and don’t care if they’ve looked at ten parts or ten thousand. As a result, you get the same quality decision-making at the end of a shift as you do at the start.
4. You are looking for automation that has many uses and can be moved easily.
A giant industrial robot may move seemingly at the speed of light and can lift and turn a car. Still, they can’t switch to new tasks at a moment’s notice. You hear a lot about cobots because they are easy to program and “train” even by people with no programming experience. It’s that benefit that makes collaborative robots a jack of all trades on the production floor. For example, a cobot can spend the morning doing machine-tending, then move to the assembly at lunchtime to cover for an employee. After lunch, they can be transferred back to the machine or head over to shipping to do some picking and packing.
5. You have a clear picture of the reasons for and have established business objectives for cobots.
The time to decide how you want to deploy your cobot isn’t after it’s unboxed. At worst, you find you’ve purchased the wrong robot; at best, you find something for it to do while you figure out a better place to deploy it. In short, you must know what you are attempting to accomplish with automation.
In addition to choosing the application you benefit from by adding a cobot, you must also determine if the robot will simply be working alongside humans or if you want it to communicate with other machines. You also want to set deployment goals and expected ROI to measure success and find areas for improvement.
Collaborative robots are just that—collaborative. They are designed and engineered to work alongside human workers, not replace them entirely. So, if you have tasks that require the accuracy of a robot and the problem-solving skills of humans, now might be the time to invest in a cobot. Elite Robot has three sizes to choose from, 3, 6, and 12 Kg payloads to fit most of the applications in a manufacturing plant. Starting at $14000.00 complete with a 6 DOF robot arm, teach pendant, and control box with software. Call us today for a quote or a demo of our collaborative robots.