The “willful” collaborative robot: opening a new era in the field of industrial manufacturing?

40 years ago, the firstindustryRobotwas born, which in turn boosted manufacturingautomationprocess; in 2014, as a global industryRobotOne of the “Four Families”ABBLaunched the world’s first collaborationRobotYuMi, opens a new chapter in industrial robotics.

According to the latest research report “Market Situation and Current Development of Collaborative Robots” by American market research firm ABI Research, the collaborative robotics sector is expected to grow tenfold between 2015 and 2020, from nearly $95 million in 2015 to 2020 of more than $1 billion. And, not just ABI, according to estimates by Barclays Bank’s production data analysts, the global market for collaborative robots will grow from $116 million last year to $11.5 billion by 2025, which will be roughly equivalent to the entire current industrial robot market. size of the market.

The “willful” collaborative robot: opening a new era in the field of industrial manufacturing?

ABI: Collaborative Robot Shipments

What makes collaborative robots unique?

A collaborative robot, as the name suggests, is a robot that can safely interact directly with humans in a certain area. Generally speaking, the operation of collaborative robots is relatively simple.

Unlike traditional industrial robots, collaborative robots are not on the same level as it is in size. In order to achieve the purpose of “collaboration”, the working distance between the robot and the human cannot be too far. Therefore, the size of the collaborative robot is small, and it can even be placed directly on the normal workbench.

Furthermore, since it exists as a collaborative human being, flexibility is of course essential. Taking KUKA’s collaborative robot LBRiiwa as an example, it has a total of 7 joint torque sensors, which enables its “one-arm” to rotate flexibly in 360 degrees, especially suitable for industries that require high flexibility, flexibility and precision. Moreover, the design once won the “Best Award” of the 2014 Red Dot Design Award (“Oscar” in the design industry).

What can collaborative robots do?

As we said above, collaborative robots belong to a branch of industrial robots. That being the case, its application range is also mainly industrial, such as the installation and distribution of items on the assembly line.

When it comes to the specific application range, according to a research report by IHS, more than 85% of the applications of industrial robots are currently in the automotive-related industry.

For example, the collaborative robot created by Ford and KUKA. The cobot, which Ford and Kuka spent two years building in secret, was unveiled last month at Ford’s Fiesta plant in Cologne, Germany. At work, the collaborative robot can help workers install car shock absorbers and ensure the accuracy and speed of shock absorber placement, thereby reducing the burden on workers. However, the collaborative robot has nearly 100% similarity with the LBRiiwa in appearance, and should be a “customized version” of the LBRiiwa.

However, with the gradual maturity of the automotive industry, the 3C industry, as an industry with relatively greater development potential and future demand, has naturally become the next goal of collaborative robots.

Why are collaborative robots so capricious?

Although cobots only “debuted” in 2014, according to ABI’s forecast, by 2020, its shipments will be 22.5 times that of 2016. In just 6 years, why can it be so fast? In fact, there are three main reasons for this.

The first is the need for SMEs to automate

Taking China as an example, there are more than 50 million enterprises in my country’s enterprise territory, of which SMEs account for 99%, and low-cost automation has always been the dream production mode of SMEs.

Let’s take a look at the cost of industrial robots. The price of traditional industrial robots is generally between 100,000 and 400,000 yuan, and the service life is 5 to 8 years. To apply them to their own production lines, it will cost 2 to 3 times more deployment costs. This expenditure is very small for profit. It is unaffordable for small and medium-sized enterprises; the price of collaborative robots is generally between 20,000 and 30,000 US dollars, but because the deployment process is omitted, the “big head” expenditure is less than that of traditional industrial robots. Therefore, based on the cost comparison, collaborative robots are obviously more suitable for small and medium-sized enterprises, and their demand will increase accordingly.

Followed by the needs of market development

The “willful” collaborative robot: opening a new era in the field of industrial manufacturing?

Global Consumer Electronics Equipment Shipments (Unit: 100 million units)

From the data, we can find that in recent years, the sales of 3C products have been growing steadily. The flexibility, flexibility and accuracy of collaborative robots just meet the requirements of 3C product accessories installation and other work. Therefore, the sales of collaborative robots cannot be low.

Finally, the need for technology

Due to the need for efficiency, people have introduced industrial robots on the production line, but due to the lack of safety, industrial robots can only be limited to a “prison”, coupled with factors such as large size, in order to complete some detailed The work is really too difficult for traditional industrial robots.

In this regard, collaborationrobotfills this void. For some meticulous work, its accuracy and flexibility can largely meet the needs of the work, and its slow speed also provides some security for humans.Like the assembly of 3C products, one side is collaborationrobotAccurate placement of parts and rapid human assembly on the one hand complement each other and greatly improve the efficiency of the production line.


For the “previously circulated on the Internet”robotAccording to the current trend, “human-machine collaboration” is the bright future!

The “willful” collaborative robot: opening a new era in the field of industrial manufacturing?

The human-robot collaborative robot is here to change the situation, it can directly work side by side with humans without the need to use safety fences for isolation.

How to make these robots work side by side with human employees directly and safely has become a hot research topic. This is how collaborative robots came into being.

1. Get out of the cage and fight side by side with others

When asked how they envision what robots might look like, most people think of large, hulking robots working in fenced areas of large factories, or futuristic armored warriors that mimic human behavior.

In between, however, a new phenomenon is quietly emerging: the emergence of so-called “cobots”, which can work directly side-by-side with human employees without the need for safety fences to isolate them. .

This type of cobot can hopefully bridge the gap between fully manual assembly lines and fully automated ones. So far, some companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, still think that robotic automation is too expensive and complicated, so they never consider the possibility of application.

Traditional industrial robots are generally bulky, work behind glass shields, and are widely used in the automotive industry and other large assembly lines.

In contrast, cobots are lightweight, highly flexible, mobile, and can be reprogrammed to solve new tasks, helping companies adapt to more advanced low-volume machining production to meet the challenges of short-run production.

In the United States, the number of robots used in the automotive industry still accounts for about 65% of the total market sales. The American Robot Industry Association RIA, citing observer data, believes that among companies that may benefit from robots, only 10% of companies have installed robots so far.

2. Plug and Play Robot

In the case of traditional robots, the capital cost of the robot itself is only 25% to 30% of the total system cost. The remaining costs are associated with robot programming, installation, and a dedicated shielded booth.

The “out-of-the-box experience” of cobots is typically less than an hour. That’s essentially the time it takes to unpack the robot, install it, and program the first simple task.

Why are collaborative robots user-friendly?

Instead of relying on skilled programmers, the new robot is equipped with a tablet-sized touchscreen user interface that the user can control by instructing actions on the screenmechanicalarm. Or, show it the desired motion path by easily holding the robotic arm. The interface conforms to most industrial sensor and programmable logic controller (PLC) standards.

3. Current famous collaborative robot brands:

Universal Robots, the current leader in the collaborative robot market, has won the Danish Enterprise of the Year Award! They have sold more than 5,000 robots worldwide with only 3 products, fully opening the application market of collaborative robots.

Revolutionized the robotics industry with their UR5 and UR10 robots and their innovative approach: the robots are lightweight, easy to install and have very intuitive programming. With its lower total cost, it brings robots to small and medium-sized enterprises that are ignored by traditional industrial robots.

The “willful” collaborative robot: opening a new era in the field of industrial manufacturing?

UniversalRobots is still a small company relative to a huge industry, but it has shown impressive growth momentum, with more than 300 dealers around the world and sales doubling every year, showing that they have gained market acceptance.

With a base price of around $30,000 and a payback period of less than a year, the company has created a new frontier in the industry and prompted other manufacturers to catch up.

Two-arm robot

As one of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers, ABB launched its first collaborative robot YuMi in 2014. YuMi was initially developed to meet the needs of the consumer electronics industry for flexible and flexible manufacturing, and will gradually be applied to more markets in the future. field.

YuMi is a collaborative dual-arm assembly solution that is both visual and tactile. YuMi’s arms are dexterous, wrapped in soft materials, and equipped with innovative force-sensing technology to keep human colleagues safe. Safety is embodied in the various functions of this robot, which allow it to work in an open environment.

From the precision parts of mechanical watches to the handling of mobile phone, tablet and desktop computer parts, YuMi can handle it with its precision, even threading needles.

The YuMi’s compact design has human dimensions and human limb movements, which make its human colleagues feel safe and comfortable – a feature for which the YuMi has won the prestigious Red Dot Award for Best Product Design.

The Boston company’s workhorse is the dual-armed industrial robot Baxter, which can perform advanced tasks such as removing defective products from a product line, packing finished products into boxes, and performing basic quality control checks. Baxter has a base price of $25,000, plus base, gripper, and hardware and software services. It has a 3-year lifespan and a 40-hour work week, making it very competitive in the labor market.

There is another single-arm robot, Sawyer, which is used for machine maintenance, circuit board testing and other delicate repetitive tasks and costs $29,000. Such robots are very popular in Asia.

In addition to the three mentioned above, there are also corresponding products from other brands such as Bosch, FANUC, KUKA, etc., especially KUKA, the price of the products is more expensive, generally more than 100,000 US dollars, if it is cheaper, it will be more attractive .

Companies like UniversalRobots are off to a good start, kuka,ABBAnd fanuc, etc. will continue to lead. The SME market is huge: 6 million companies worldwide, accounting for 70% of the manufacturing sector.

Many low-cost and easy-to-use robotic tools can be quickly applied to the manufacturing process of most companies, which is why it is not difficult to imagine that collaborative robots will show explosive growth in the past two years.

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Published on 09/07/2022