A Review on Collaborative Robots
The term robot is from the Czech word robota, which translates to forced labor. Robots are utilized when there is an urgency to reduce danger to humans, continuous processes are to be carried out, or more strength than humanly possible is needed.
As contrasting as they appear, the human arm and the robotic arm are very similar and share common characteristics. They have the same underlying composition of linkages and joints. This in itself, is a vivid depiction of most robots due to the repetitive tasks they carry out. This is descriptive of collaborative robots, which are universal robots in a sense.
Collaborative robots are a new addition to the robot industry. Their immediate success in a wide range of sectors has spurred rapid product innovation. There are different kinds of collaborative robots available in today’s market, and this review will look at them and their functionality as well.
What Are The Different Kinds Of Collaborative Robots?
Safety Monitored Stop Cobots
Collaborative robots established as safety monitored stop are intended for applications that have minimal or no contact with manual operators. They are giant industrial robots that work autonomously but also require manual input from operators for the work to be finalized.
Cobots falling under this category are fitted with an external sensor that comes to life when a manual operator is in its working space. When it senses a manual operator in the surrounding, it will stop to negate the risk of injury to the operator. It will continue working if the operator boots it up manually.
Speed & Separation Cobots
Collaborative robots that fall under this category are very similar to the safety monitored stop robots. The key difference between them is that speedand separation cobots tend to interact a lot with manual operators.
These cobots are more advanced and are fitted with two tiers of security; vision and motion sensors to slow down operations when a manual operator approaches them. They also cease operations altogether when the operator is too close to the robot.
Power & Force Limiting Cobots
Collaborative robots in this category are widely considered the best for any industry to have concerning the safety of manual operators. They are the ultimate collaborative robots and can work seamlessly even with manual operators in the vicinity.
These cobots do not require motion and vision sensors to avoid injuring operators. Instead, they are fitted with intelligent collision sensors that prevent contact with manual operators. These cobots also feature force limitation capabilities to negate the risk of injury to the employees.
Hand Guiding Cobots
As the name suggests, these are collaborative robots that are equipped with a hand-guided device by which a manual operator uses to control the motions of the cobot. When in fully autonomous mode, the cobot will only respond to the operator’s hand guiding inputs.
This allows the cobot to, for instance, hold in place heavy equipment as the operator manipulates it to move to the required location. This negates the operator’s risk of repetitive stress injuries. Cobots in this category save on time during programming enabling the factory to run regularly with minimal downtime.
Skin Sensing Cobots
Collaborative robots that full under this category are the rarest but probably the most secure robots when it comes to the safety of operators. These cobots employ tactile sensing of all kinds to detect an impact.
Generally, what the sensors do is monitoring the conductivity of the robot’s body and usually make the cobot to halt when it reaches a certain point. These robots are very complex and capital intensive for a manufacturer. But considering that they can stop before they come into contact with something say an operator is very impressive.
To sum it all up, what has been pointed above is a small fraction of the cobots that are available in the market today. When making a purchasing decision, ensure that the cobot is safety rated and approved by a third party.