Whatever your objective, whether it’s to increase throughput, reduce costs, improve quality control, gain margin on your product or increase your production range, automation could be the answer! This field is particularly interesting because it covers a wide range of possibilities: automation of object movement, welding, vision, or control operations.
However, when you embark on an automation project, it’s crucial to ask yourself the right questions beforehand, so you can choose the right equipment for your needs and reap the maximum benefits.
Today, we’re going to answer just one of them: should I install an industrial or a collaborative robot?
This article will tell you which robot is best suited to your automation needs and objectives, depending on your production rate, budget, and available floor space.
Merkur will help you make the right choice, presenting you with the essential questions to ask yourself to make the right decision, as well as the advantages and applications of each of the two robots.
Now you can choose with a clear conscience!
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making your Choice!
First of all, there are many similarities between robots and cobots. They operate and are programmed in very similar ways. It is therefore possible to transfer the same program from a robot to a cobot and vice versa, as they share the same communication protocols. What’s more, they are often equipped with the same controller.
However, it’s how you integrate them that’s different. The choice is yours.
This choice depends on a number of factors, including your initial needs, your specific application, and your final objective. Here are a few steps to help you make an informed decision:
- Define your needs and objectives in the form of specifications, and ask yourself the following questions: What task do you want to automate? What are your objectives in terms of productivity, quality and efficiency? What load will the robot have to handle? How complex is the task (simple, repetitive, complex)?
- Assess the working environment: are there human workers in the vicinity of the robot? What safety standards and regulations apply?
- Consider the costs: What’s your budget? Compare the acquisition, integration and maintenance costs of the two options.
- Consider flexibility: Does the task require flexible, easily reconfigurable automation? Will the robot be used for different tasks over time?
- List and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each robot. This is what Merkur suggests below.
The Collaborative Robot, Renowned for its Flexibility and Safety!
Here are the main advantages of the Cobot:
- Quick installation: the cobot reduces your production downtime.
- Flexible installation: your cobot can be installed and used anywhere. No special safety cage is required. This means less investment.
- Genuine partner, thanks to its cooperation: the collaborative robot gives way to real interaction between man and robot. The cobot does not replace the human, but rather enhances the value of your teams. In fact, your employees will be able to concentrate on higher value-added tasks, such as programming the cobot or other tasks that are more difficult to automate.
- Safety: your teams can interact with the cobot because it has no sticky areas. The cobot is equipped with special safety features. It stops at the slightest danger.
- Adapted to confined spaces: the cobot saves space on your floor.
- Vision-based quality control – Presence/Absence – Inspection of certain types of defects on a part!
- Reduce the risk of hazards, as your teams can move around,
- Minimize changes to your factory layout. The cobot is easy to install.
- Reduce your production costs or increase product margins.
- Limit your investment. A cobot and the robot have the same purchase price. What will make your price vary is their application. Collaborative robotic cells cost considerably less than traditional robotic cells. Industrial robots require a closed enclosure. This can be expensive.
- It’s flexible: it can be easily moved, reinstalled and reprogrammed.
- It requires less installation and safety equipment, and therefore less maintenance.
For all these reasons, cobots are now widely appreciated on floors and adopted by teams!
Industrial Robots are Renowned for their Precision and Speed!
- Load capacity: Industrial robots are generally designed to handle heavier loads than collaborative robots. This makes them ideal for tasks requiring significant force, such as lifting heavy objects on production lines.
- Speed and precision: industrial robots are often faster and more precise than collaborative robots, making them suitable for manufacturing tasks requiring high precision and production rates. They are also highly repeatable.
- Reliability: industrial robots are designed to operate continuously in demanding industrial environments, making them more reliable in the long term.
However, it is important to note that industrial robots are often less suitable for direct collaboration with human workers due to their power and speed, requiring physical isolation for safety reasons.
Up to speed: we recommend a standard industrial robot that can go fast and move quickly: 4m /second. A cobot, on the other hand, is limited in its speed of movement.
In conclusion, the choice between an industrial robot and a collaborative robot depends on your needs and the application you are looking for. We recommend that you start by clearly defining your objective, assessing your working environment and considering the costs associated with the projects.
The cobot offers flexibility, rapid installation, intrinsic safety, adaptability to confined spaces and flexible plant layout. It is ideal for applications such as vision-based quality control and production cost reduction.
The industrial robot excels in load capacity, speed, precision and reliability, making it suitable for demanding tasks. However, it requires physical isolation for safety reasons. It’s ideal for high-speed production.
Whatever your decision, it’s advisable to consult robotics experts to help you make the best choice for your business.