The cobots are coming, and if you're still not acquainted it with who they're and what they're capable of, it's time you did!

Cobots is basically a short form for collaborative robots, who have been conceived and designed to work alongside mankind in various fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, warehousing and logistics etc. They're predominantly employed for repetitive tasks wherein intelligent support systems, using cobots, assist the factory workers. Though available since a long time, the technology is expected to skyrocket at an exponential rate in the coming few years.

The recent evolutions regarding both the technologies and the market have been actively contributing towards its escalating demand. Case in point, DHL recently announced a partnership with Locus Robotics, which is not just limited till the factory or the warehouse. In fact, IoT and cobots have a crucial role to play in the digital transformation of healthcare. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), there would be a 50 per cent increase in robot usage in hospitals for delivery purposes by the year 2019. The numbers are expected to be even higher in the consumer space.

According to tech experts, cobots are expected to play a crucial role in the development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0.

How are Cobots different from industrial robots?

In a number of tasks, the company doesn't want to or mainly can't completely automatically a particular operation. So, this is where cobots are preferred over industrial robots. They're basically used to assist the factory workers, rather than replacing them.

According to IDC, by the year 2018, about 30 per cent of all new deployments of robots will concern smart cobots that will operate three times faster and would be safe for work around humans.

Let's look at some typical characteristics of cobots that makes them different from other industrial robots.

Collaborative by Nature

Traditional industrial robot are designed to complete a specific pre-defined task without a need for any collaboration within a physical workspace. Human safety isn't a priority during the designing of these robots. They are just designed to do their assigned tasks. On the other, as stated above, cobots work in collaboration with workers.

Comparatively Lightweight and Mobile

As compared to typical industrial robots, cobots are much more light in weight than their industrial counterparts. Their lightweight makes it easier for them to collaborate with workers.

Smart Sensors and More

A cobot is much smarter than an industrial robot. These collaborative robots are equipped with smart technologies, systems and sensors that are related with Internet of Things and/or specific systems, depending on the use case.

Simple to Use

A cobot is simpler to use than most of the traditional industrial robots currently available. Since cobots have to collaborate with human beings, they're much less complex than industrial robots that have work on their own.

Meet YuMi, the Cobot

ABB manufactured cobot, YuMi was unveiled two years ago at Hannover Messe as a ‘vision for the future. Since its ‘launch’, YuMi has been deployed in several business pilot cases. ABB has now announced and showed next generation cobot, called Roberta. There are several such cobots in action currently.

[Top Image: Robotiq]

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