A collaborative robot collaborates with humans in a defined space without risk of serious injury or accidents. The appeal of a cobot is not only its collaborative aspect, but also its ease of installation and return on investment (ROI). The collaborative robot series has taken off in a variety of industries, enabling new technological breakthroughs and the introduction of technology into non-manufacturing environments.
A cobot is a robot that allows workers to safely interact with the robot in a collaborative space, with minimal risk of injury or damage. Cobots achieve this high standard of safety with a rounded design, safety-rated stop monitoring, force limitations and a compact body. They also offer users a state-of-the-art yet user-friendly programming interface.
A company looking for collaborative automation would first need to determine the task it needs to automate, risk assess the solution and consult with an automation solutions provider. While cobot technology is advancing at a rapid pace, these robots still have certain limitations. Most common collaborative robots can only handle smaller payloads between 3 and 16 kg, with the highest payload limit of 35 kg.
This is a cost-effective option to typical industrial robots and they are perfect for people who are new to robotic automation. Another reason for their expansion is their ability to automate activities that previous industrial robots could not, such as small batches or high-mix components.
Collaborative robots are classified according to their different reliability and systemisation capabilities.
Power and force limited: the most common type of collaborative robot. These have built-in sensors that allow the cobots to detect force and stop to avoid collisions. They also have rounded edges to reduce force and soften collisions.

Safety-supervised stopping: The safety-supervised stopping category includes cobots with minimal human interaction. Traditional industrial robots that have been integrated with sensors to stop activity when a person is detected in the work area are the most common forms of cobots.

Speed and separation: Traditional industrial robots are also used in collaborative robotics for speed and separation. These cobots differ from safety-controlled stop cobots in that they are equipped with advanced vision systems. When a human enters the work area, these robotic vision systems detect him or her. If the worker gets too close, the cobot can slow down or stop completely.

Manual guidance: Operators can control the movement of a hand-guided cobot in autonomous mode by steering it manually. Cobots can now assist workers with tasks such as lifting heavy goods. Hand-guided programming for cobots does not fit into this category because it is done in instructional mode rather than automatic mode.
In 2019, global revenue for collaborative robots was $669.9m, with 22 459 robots dispatched.
Advances in automation technology make it effective in a variety of applications, and the low initial investment makes it attractive to a wide range of manufacturing sectors both inside and outside the industry.

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