Cobots in the industry
The vision of collaboration between humans and robots that was created years ago has become reality. With sensitive robot-colleagues, briefly "Cobots", KUKA proves: human-robot-collaboration is realizable now.
With their integrated sensors, they make it possible to automate delicate assembly tasks in the first place – ranging from assembling automotive transmissions through to inserting rubber plugs or handling flexible parts. If unexpected contact is made, cobots, for example, reduce their speed and thus the kinetic energy to an extent that prevents injury. When people and robots can work safely together, many conventional safety precautions become superfluous. Additional costs that would normally be required for safety technology and protective fences can be dispensed with. Workers and robots can share the same workspace without any concerns. In this way, expensive feed systems and production floor space can be saved.
Without doubt, cobots will play a key role in Industrie 4.0 – not only directly as part of modern production, but as data gatherers that can communicate all relevant information to IT systems in real time if required. Information that can be processed immediately and sent back to production. Knowledge that can be used for optimizing production successively or autonomously. At present, no other component in the production process is capable of carrying out this supporting role as well as modern robotic systems.
Man remains at the center of production
The crucial point is to achieve open communication and simple integration. This makes cobots virtuosos for modern, networked production and logistics which will link together automation solutions with services and databases within the foreseeable future. However, a factory staffed by robots alone will remain an illusion, even in the smart factory. People will remain the central focus. However, robots will make people’s jobs less arduous, will support people and give them entirely new capabilities.
This means the workers and logistics experts will be able to carry out their jobs even more efficiently, with greater concentration and, above all, more ergonomically. This aspect is becoming increasingly important, especially in a society that is aging to an ever increasing extent – worldwide. An ever smaller number of people in employment will have to generate the entire productive output for the social systems. It will only be possible to meet this challenge by employing the available workforce in a much more productive way than in all previous generations
With LBR iisy and LBR iiwa, cobots in different payload categories, KUKA already offers central, key technologies for a wide variety of tasks involving cooperation between humans and machines: collaborative robots, mobile assistance systems, autonomously controlled vehicles and intelligent, digitized automation solutions which reduce the burden on humans in a variety of ways.