COVID-19, will it be able to strengthen collaborative robotics in our day to day?

Industry 4.0
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These are complex days in which today’s society is situated in a context never before known and for which, in many cases, its combat was not even considered. As Dostoyevsky said in his day, “a being who gets used to everything; that seems the best definition I can make of man”. Fortunately, and thanks to this ability, we continue to build a dynamic world that advances day by day filling our lives with technology, and this may be the time to use it in full force.

As the day’s progress in this state of health emergency in which we have been submerged for several months, we see how we are bombarded with news full of security measures, restrictions, and recommendations to avoid possible infections. To this day, and although it was still essential before, the value of public health, our well-being and tranquility when doing something so basic, such as living normally, has gained strength.

Along with all this series of measures, it has been possible to see how factories modified their production lines in a dizzying way, adapting them to growing needs. The revolution that is taking place is evident, and if we had already been seeking to adapt to the needs of our markets in a fast, flexible and efficient way, it is now when it is more evident that automation plays a fundamental role in this flexibility and adaptation of production[1].

COVID-19 Impact

Although some businesses have been severely affected by social distancing orders and stay-at-home restrictions, essential businesses such as food and beverage, medical supplies, and electronics continue to work from factories and home-based administrative staff. The result is a combination of companies and staff working in different formats amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Different manufacturers have reconfigured their lines to speed up medical supply, such as protective masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, fans, etc. to meet the needs necessary to overcome the pandemic[2].

Has the same happened in the collaborative robot market? Possible solution to jobs with the impossibility of teleworking or jobs where it is not possible to maintain the safety distance?

With these new rules, manufacturers must figure out how to keep their workers socially distanced while they work, and robotics has come to light. This keeps production running, efficient and much safer than before. At the same time that this pandemic appeared, there had been talk for years about a new concept of robotics, capable of interacting with people, easy to handle and install.

Robots capable of building synergies with workers, as well as working in a fully automated way, freeing the operator from the most dangerous tasks. More than ten years ago the concept of collaborative robotics was born, and it is today when it sounds loudest, having already contrasted its technology, as well as having undergone strong evolution throughout its development[3].

Collaborative robot market (cobots) in exponential development

The Global Collaborative Robots Market was valued at USD 182.36 million in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 10580.94 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 57.02% from 2017 to 2025[4].

Adoption of Collaborative Robots across New Industry Verticals to Boost the Market (source: Fortune Business Insights)

The emerging use of collaborative robots spans supply chain management, healthcare industries, and manufacturing. Cobots generally have lower power needs, while large autonomous equivalents use collision detection to avoid harm to their human companions, as well as other cobots.

These large autonomous collaborative robots are often versatile but take up space and are expensive. Most trading robots are already self-sufficient. Industrial robots play a vital role in the automotive industry and its suppliers. However, its use is restricted in new verticals due to high cost, large scale, weight, and complicated scheduling requirements. Social fear of robots controlling the workplace and replacing workers is another barrier to adoption.

Why use cobots?

The most recent upgrade of robots, programmed to work with people in a shared workspace, are collaborative robots. On the contrary, the dispute over collaborative robots is not likely to pass quickly. Some might see this as an enhancement of their workers, taking them through unmatched phases, or others might see it as machinery that surpasses the world’s workforce by eliminating multiple experienced jobs.

Cobots are meant to consciously counter this apprehension. A collaborative robot is simply not developed to replace the human worker. It was designed to support and improve the efficiency of the human worker. The cobot is often shaped like an arm and provides the worker with additional support. A cobot can learn tasks quickly by demonstrating and strengthening its learning when working side-by-side with humans.

Cobots, or collaborative robots, are robots intended for direct human-robot interaction within a shared space, or where humans and robots are in close proximity. It is for this reason, that some companies, the use of cobots is on the rise and their use is encouraged to stay safe during the pandemic, as some companies were seriously affected due to social distancing orders.

In future posts, we will be continue writing about technology and business trends for enterprises. Furthermore, we recommend consulting the following literature to continue your digital transformation journey:

The objective of this blog is to provide a personal vision of how digital transformation trends will be impacting in our daily activities, businesses and lifestyle.







By Fernando Castañolinkedin2

Senior researcher, his research interest includes Smart-sensor, Industry 4.0, Internet of things, and cyber-physical systems.

6580cookie-checkCOVID-19, will it be able to strengthen collaborative robotics in our day to day?

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