What are the Different Types of Robots in Manufacturing?

 

Robots are becoming more of a common presence on the manufacturing floor, and they’re boosting productivity and revamping processes across the board. 

While these amazing machines come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they’re generally divided into two different categories within the manufacturing industry. Industrial robots are larger and stationary, and collaborative robots are mobile and smaller. 

Below, we’ll talk about how each type of robot contributes through their various applications. 

Industrial Robots

Industrial robots are usually larger, stationary equipment that are designed for high-speed production with high accuracy and at large volumes. They typically have large work envelopes and operate within a cage to keep any nearby workers safe from their high-speed operations. 

Because of their size, the long set-up time and lengthy programming, as well as the safety measures that have to be built around them, industrial robots are best suited for production processes that will continue with little change for long periods of time. 

The best use-cases for industrial robots are when a manufacturer needs to maintain a high output volume of something for a long period of time. They’re generally much more expensive than their smaller counterparts, but these industrial mammoths will make up for the investment with their constant and consistent output. 

Collaborative Robots

Typically called “cobots,” collaborative robots are generally more mobile and designed to be worked with rather than worked around on the manufacturing floor. They’re smaller and can be adapted to various tasks as needed, often working as part of a mixed production chain that also involves people. For instance, maybe the cobot is producing an item and then handing it off to a person for the next step in the production chain. 

Not only are they small, but cobots are generally more user-friendly. Whereas industrial robots take a lot of skill and time to program for a single repeated operation, cobots can be easily programmed for different tasks on the fly. 

Another big difference is that cobots are safe to be around, after risk assessment of course. Industrial robots live inside of cages to keep everybody safe, but cobots are designed to be right there with their human counterparts in the workspace. Combined with their task flexibility and relatively low cost of entry, cobots are a great place to start for small or mid-sized manufacturers looking to get in on the robotics revolution. 

Now We Just Need the People

With both collaborative and industrial robots finding their places in modern manufacturing, one problem remains: We need to find and train a workforce that will be capable of operating and working alongside those robots. 

The ARM Institute has made it our mission to connect potential workers with the training they need to find careers in the world of robotics and automation, and that’s why we created RoboticsCareer.org. The site features an easily searchable database of training and education programs around the country, making it as convenient as ever for manufacturers to upskill their employees to work with their robotic counterparts. 

To find out more about what we’re doing at The ARM Institute, sign up for our newsletter or reach out and contact us directly.

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