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Robotics, FANUC, Technology

The Cobots are Coming! The Cobots are Coming!

September 30, 2016

Science fiction films dating back to Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic, Metropolis, have long warned that robotic machines may eventually surpass and dominate their human inventors. While there is no doubt that robots and robotic devices are getting smarter, that artificial intelligence continues to evolve, and that driverless cars are becoming a reality, so far we humans are more likely at risk of a Zombie Apocalypse than a robot rebellion.

That being said, don’t be surprised if your next employee or coworker is green, easily lifts 35 pound workpieces and doesn’t have much to say.

The latest evolution of industrial robots is the collaborative robot, or cobot. It is, in fact, designed to work even more closely with its human coworkers. Ford Germany, for example, uses cobots to perform some of the heavy lifting on the assembly line.

Recently, Gosiger Automation partner, Fanuc, introduced the first collaborative robot, CR-35iA designed for machine tending and other operations.

How is this cobot different from a typical industrial robot? It incorporates highly sensitive contact sensing technology, a soft outer shell and vision systems so it can safely work right next to a human coworker. The Fanuc model is also the only cobot capable of lifting a 35-pound object.

The big advantage for manufacturers is that the Fanuc CR-35iA cobot provides the opportunity to eliminate work cell enclosures and allows machine operators to continue working alongside the robotic arm while it loads and unloads heavy workpieces. This saves valuable floor space and, with human and cobots working together in the same space, can speed up production times.

Hopefully the cobots will also help us fend off the Zombies.

To learn more about collaborative robots and other leading manufacturing technologies, contact your local Gosiger office.