The Differences Between Collaborative and Industrial Robots

As the world of robotics continues to become a fast-growing industry, so does the way in which we use them. Collaborative robots and industrial robots are quickly becoming staples in modern factories and businesses.

In this article, we will explore the significant differences between cobots and traditional industrial robots. We will also discuss the benefits of each type of robot and how they can be used in today’s factories and businesses.

Understanding Their Differences

To understand the differences between these two types of robots, we must first know what they are and do.

Industrial Robots

Industrial robots have been around for decades. They are large, expensive machines used for repetitive tasks in manufacturing and other industries.

Industrial robots are generally used by businesses that require high production volume or need to perform tasks that are too dangerous for humans. For example, some industrial robots are used in auto assembly lines and material disassembly tasks.

These robots are extremely powerful and can lift heavy objects or perform delicate tasks with precision. However, they can also be dangerous if not used properly.

Collaborative Robots

Collaborative robots, or cobots, are a new type of robot designed to work alongside humans. Cobots are smaller and lighter than industrial robots and can be mounted on mobile bases.

Cobots are equipped with sensors and software to interact with their human co-workers. They are designed to be safe to work with, following a risk assessment, and can be easily integrated into existing workflows.

This robot is often found in manufacturing or industrial settings like warehouses and factories. However, cobots are also being used in other industries such as healthcare, food and beverage, and retail.

Cobots can be less expensive than industrial robots and are used for various tasks. For example, some cobots are used for packaging or material handling. Others are used for welding, fabricating, or machine tending.

Benefits of Industrial Robots in Industrial Operations

Industrial robots offer several benefits for businesses. They are primarily used to increase production speed and accuracy while reducing production costs. Here are some of the other benefits industrial robots offer:

Employee Safety

Industrial robots can also be used for tasks too dangerous or difficult for humans to do. For example, some industrial robots are used in hazardous environments like nuclear power plants and chemical plants. This allows businesses to keep their employees safe while still getting the job done.

Reduction in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

Another benefit of using industrial robots is reducing personal protective equipment (PPE) required. An excellent example of this is welding robots. When they are used, employees do not need to wear welding masks or gloves.

This can increase employee comfort and productivity while also reducing the cost of PPE.

Flexibility and Efficiency

Industrial robots are also very flexible. They can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks to accommodate changes in the manufacturing process. Additionally, they can perform most of the work while the employee can focus on other essential tasks. This increases efficiency and reduces the need for additional staff.

Handles Slow, Repetitive, and Tedious Tasks

Another benefit of industrial robots is that they can handle many repetitive and tedious tasks. This allows employees to be reassigned to other functions that may be more interesting or challenging.

For instance, an industrial robot can be used to handle the task of applying a coating to a product. This is a type of repetitive task that a robot can easily take. When utilized correctly, industrial robots can help businesses improve their overall productivity.

Benefits of Collaborative Robots in Industrial Operations

Collaborative robots offer many of the same benefits as industrial robots. However, there are some key differences. Here are some of the benefits cobots offer:

Enhanced Partnership & Collaboration with Humans

One of the main benefits of collaborative robots is that they are specifically designed to work hand in hand alongside humans. This works by allowing the robot to compensate for the human’s abilities and limitations.

For example, if a human worker is slow or has limited dexterity, the cobot can be programmed to work slower or perform the task with more precision. This enhanced partnership between humans and machines can increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

Ease of Use and Training

Another benefit of collaborative robots is that they are effortless to use and require minimal training. This is in contrast to industrial robots, which can be challenging to program and require specialized training.

This makes them ideal for businesses that want to automate their operations but do not have the time or resources to invest in training their employees on how to use industrial robots.

Easy Programmability

One of the main advantages of collaborative robots is that they are easier to program. They are designed to be user-friendly and require minimal training or specialized training.

This is in contrast to industrial robots, which can be difficult to program and require specialized training. For example, a business that wants to automate its assembly line can do so quickly and easily with a cobot.

Additionally, cobots can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks. This makes them very versatile and can be used in various industries and applications.

Increased Safety

Another benefit of collaborative robots is that they offer increased safety for workers. They are typically designed to have sensors that allow them to stop if they sense a human in the way.

This is in contrast to industrial robots, which do not have these safety features and can pose a danger to workers if they are not adequately trained on how to use them. Cobots are also equipped with software that allows them to stop if they sense an obstacle in their path. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace.

Fast and Easy Setup

One of the main advantages of collaborative robots is that they can be set up quickly and easily. This is in contrast to industrial robots, which can take days or weeks to install and set up.

This is because cobots are designed to be plug-and-play. This feature makes them ideal for businesses that want to automate their operations but do not have the time or resources to invest in setting up industrial robots.

Increased Productivity

Another benefit of collaborative robots is that they can help businesses increase their overall productivity. This is because they are meant to function with humans and are designed to perform various tasks.

For example, a business that utilizes a cobot to automate its assembly line can increase its output by having the cobot work alongside human workers. The machines focus on precision while humans focus on specific but equally vital tasks. This can lead to a significant increase in productivity and efficiency.

Cost-Effective

Finally, collaborative robots are also very cost-effective. This is because they are typically less expensive than industrial robots. Additionally, they do not require the company to invest in specialized training or knowledge.

This makes them ideal for businesses that want to automate their operations but do not have the budget to invest in industrial robots.

Overcome Manufacturing Challenges

In today’s hypercompetitive market, there are many challenges in manufacturing workplaces that can be straightened out with the help of both collaborative robots, also known as cobots, and traditional industrial robots.

For example, a business might want to automate its operations but does not have the time or resources to invest in training its employees on how to use industrial robots. In this case, a cobot would be an ideal option.

Meanwhile, industrial robots offer a few benefits of their own. They are typically more durable and can handle heavy-duty tasks. Additionally, they can be programmed to perform more complex tasks.

Finally, it is essential to note that both types of robots have their advantages and disadvantages. They improve productivity, give employees the flexibility to focus on other tasks, and help maintain overall safety in the workplace. It is up to the business to decide which type of robot is best suited for its needs.

John Henry Foster is a leading provider of high-quality robotics solutions designed to increase productivity, consistency, and safety. To know more about how our cobots can help your business, contact us today. Our team is always ready to answer any of your questions. 


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