There has been an increase in the reliance of artificial intelligence, commercial and industrial robotics, hardware gadgets, and software interconnectivity. Continued adoption of these advanced technologies has accelerated the enactment of the much anticipated fourth industrial revolution.
Experts in robotics predict that the overall robotics industry will be worth approximately $210 million by 2022. As competition grows, many entrepreneurs will want to automate their processes to increase productivity and improve customer experience.
Before deploying robots in the workplace, entrepreneurs will need to understand how to do so successfully. In this article, we shall discuss what you should know to facilitate safe robotic deployment.
Deploying Collaborative Robotics Successfully
Without proper deployment, new technologies could endanger human lives. Before deploying robots, every responsible organization should have a robust strategy to guarantee a safe implementation process. An effective strategy should cover the following factors.
· The Collaborative Robotics Implementation: To Hire an Integrator or Do it Yourself?
Collaborative robots are user-friendly and ideal for DIY implementations. Companies with simple applications may consider in-house automated deployment because they are cheaper. DIY automated deployments are also ideal for startup companies with little or no automation budgets.
Remember, the quality and quantity of educational guidelines and resources that different collaborative robot manufacturers provide vary. Startup companies or those with limited or no prior robotic experience should choose cobot brands that offer sufficient online education, training, and support to deploy cobots in-house.
Companies running complex applications, or if the in-house workforce is incapable of completing the deployment process, can choose any of the following integrations.
- A Value-add dealer is the cheapest option. This dealer offers technical help to promote a sale and recommends ideal computing and configurations.
- A lean integrator often targets specific applications and evaluates integration time weekly.
- A traditional system integrator develops a collaborative robot-based cell from the ground up and integrates all the required hardware and peripherals in a turnkey unit. Traditional integrators evaluate lead times monthly, making the process one of the most expensive integration processes.
Integration of Collaborative Robotics and Human Employees
Have a plan for integrating your existing business technologies, operations, physical workspaces and procedures with advanced robotic technologies. Often, human employees and robots collaborate in low-skill or even unskilled surroundings such as manufacturing plants and warehouses.
Still, they could also collaborate within skilled surroundings like in mining operations where human workers may be at risk or robotic surgery where human expertise is reinforced with robotics.
Organizations can achieve the ideal deployment for collaborative robots by determining how they can enable employees to execute previously impossible tasks. For example, utilizing surgical robots to execute small actions and automating repetitive and strenuous tasks prevents injuries.
Collaborative robots will need tremendous installation works and the input of legacy integration experts. Robots should be designed to accommodate varying scenarios because they lack intuition, and humans are unpredictable. Organizations should prioritize safety in the integration and roles for each robot to prevent them from causing human harm.
· Determine the Collaborative Robot Application Predisposing Factors
Each application is different and comes with unique challenges. Some of these risks are ingrained in the application, like arc welding. Other risks emanate when more complexity is added, like incorporating a vision system in a collaborative robot cell.
Other risk factors include high temperature or moisture levels in the environment. It is worth mentioning that your robot handling and maintenance practices will determine its lifespan. Consider acquiring an application risk catalog and use it to make an informed examination of the predisposing factors.
· Develop the Business Case for a Collaborative Robotic Investment
While the collaborative robotic case can be fascinating, many executives need a comprehensive ROI (return on investment) before making any automation-based decision. Acquire a return on investment worksheet and guidelines which help you learn how to determine benefits from a collaborative robot installation.
Authentic ROI values surpass labor costs, and robots come with OEE (overall equipment effectiveness). OEE is an assessment of equipment’s utmost potential while operating versus how adequately it is used, and OLE (overall labor effectiveness.)
OLE determines how adequately an organization is adapted for variables like quality, throughput, and availability, and how it leverages its high-performing staff.
· Choose the Suitable Accessories for a Robotic Application
Collaborative robotic platforms facilitate a wide range of applications such as large-scale palletizing and accurate inspection tasks. However, you will need end-of-arm tooling to complete the system.
Remember, every cobot is unique, and you should do your due diligence and invest in collaborative robots that feature a wide array of software, hardware, and end-of-arm tooling peripherals. It should also feature a plug-and-play certification. Further, work with collaborative robot brands that know how the equipment is utilized in different applications. Such brands often provide you with comprehensive application kits complete with all the hardware and software you need to start executing a particular task.
· Training (Upskilling) Employees to Assume Collaborative Robot Operating Roles
To guarantee a hassle-free upskilling of in-house staff, entrepreneurs should choose high usability cobots. When you can easily program a robot using a smartphone, teach pendant, or tablet computer, you will have eliminated one of the significant upskilling barriers. You will then need to choose a cobot agent to advocate for the technology.
Collaborative robots are associated with a charming effect, and the big challenge will be to determine the right agent for the task. Choose robotic brands that offer training and education resources to simplify the training process, and minimize implementation times. Quality is also a critical factor to consider. Choose appropriately-developed cobot teaching curriculums, especially those that come with a genuine industry-acknowledged certification.
· Perform a Collaborative Robot Research
In today’s information overload age, many people struggle to navigate it and differentiate right from wrong. Getting genuine information can be difficult, but you can find reliable data from real case stories. For example, white papers come in handy to help you aim at a specific application, industry, or topic. With numerous brands in the collaborative manufacturing industry, you want to get information from reputable companies.
Are you considering deploying robots in your organization? Remember that employees will take time to adapt to new technologies. One of the best ways to execute the deployment process is through communication and incorporating your entire team into the planning process.