Human and Robots? The emerging of collaborative robot

Are you a young and passionate engineer who is looking for how to increase your productivity without expanding the labor? Then you should take a look at this article. Ever since the invention of robot, the productivity of the manufacturing industry had significantly improved. Robot is a machine, one programmable by a computer which is able to carry out complex series of actions automatically. However, robot often gives consumer impressions of bulky, dangerous (without proper training) and most of the time not user-friendly. As the advancement of the technology and the demand of the market nowadays, manufacturing industry demands more and more out a conventional automation is able to provide, plus the increasing concern of human factor engineering and ergonomics, all these cause the emerging of cobot.

What is Cobot? 

cobot

In urban vocabulary, a cobot is a contracted term for collaborative robot. Generally, Collaborative robots are complex machines which work hand in hand with human beings. In a shared work process, they support and relieve the human operator.” – by Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette (Production Engineer at Robotiq) .

To put it into simpler terms, a cobot is a robot which interacts with the userefficiently to complete the desired and complex tasks without having problems and challenges. For example, during production the operator has to perform repetitive actions to ensure output, but the repetitive postures mostly will cause fatigue among the operators which will decrease the productivity or even more serious problem like Muscular Skeletal Disease (MSD). So in this case, what if there is a machine which is simple enough to use when you request complex operations meanwhile it can help you reduce issues like MSD? Yes, the answer is cobot.
By integrating collaborative robot into production, the benefits are:For example, during production the operator has to perform repetitive actions to ensure output, but the repetitive postures mostly will cause fatigue among the operators which will decrease the productivity or even more serious problem like Muscular Skeletal Disease (MSD). So in this case, what if there is a machine which is simple enough to use when you request complex operations meanwhile it can help you reduce issues like MSD? Yes, the answer is cobot.

  • Safety – Traditional automation requires fencing and intensive training before handling the robot to ensure the safety of the operator. However, operator can interactively handle the collaborative robot without any risk. For example, cobot will have safety features like emergency stop button, external force sensors to detect any external forces and stop immediately to prevent accident, or even proximity safety feature(cobot will operate at lower speed when operator steps into the cobot’s operation proximity).
  • Flexibility – Companies today are always trying to diversify their products for multiple income generation, but with conventional robot, every new product will require reprogramming and resetting, the interval time usually will affect the productivity of the operation. So, with the aid of collaborative robot, the reprogramming and resetting time interval will be significantly shortened as the user interface is straightforward for the user even without any prior knowledge to coding, hence the productivity can be effectively boosted.
  • COBOT roadshow

Want to experience working with COBOT ? Join us 

  • User-friendliness – To maximize the use of the automation, we have to simplify the interaction between the user and machine. The functions of cobot are straightforward and easily programmable, so simple even a child is able to master the command of the robot, that is the goal of the robotic manufacturers. Comparatively, traditional robotic manufacturer will provide training for their customers after the purchase, this will lead to troublesome situation when the trained personnel is on leave or resigned.

Cost – If the installation of the new robot requires very high capital, then the ROI period of the company will be extended. Financially, it is always undesirable, after all business is business. However, with the advancing information technology and material science we have today, the cost of installing collaborative robot is getting relatively lower and sometimes even lower than conventional robot. Furthermore, with the possibilities of Cobot able to achieve, the ROI is promising.

In conclusion, machine and robot undeniably help to improve our daily productivity, ideally we as human would even wish that robot can fully perform our daily tasks, but there are still limitations. The idea generation of collaborative robot has completely redefined the interaction between human and robot, it makes a big milestone for what collaboration between human and machine is able to achieve and the possibilities are limitless.

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References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robot
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobot
https://www.universal-robots.com
http://blog.robotiq.com/what-does-collaborative-robot-mean

3D-Printing Method Creates Shape-Shifting Objects That Change Permanently

A cross-institutional team of researchers has developed a new 3D-printing method that creates objects that can change their original shapes permanently in response to heat. 

A cross-institutional team of researchers has developed a new 3D-printing method that creates objects that can change their original shapes permanently in response to heat.
 

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China developed the objects by printing layers of shape-memory polymers that each respond differently when exposed to heat.

The team used computational simulations to design composite components in which the stiff material has a shape and size that prevents the release of the programmed internal stress from the soft material after 3D printing, said Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Upon heating, the stiff material softens and allows the soft material to release its stress and this results in a change in the product shape.

“In our new approach, the part is composed of two materials, one is soft and one is stiff,” he toldDesign News in an interview. “We use their property difference as well as some residual strain developed during the printing process to drive the shape change. The second shape can be designed by carefully placing the two materials at different spatial locations in the part and the printing parameters.”

shapeshiftingobject

An object printed with a new 3D-printing method that allows for permanent shape shifting in response to heat. A cross-institutional team of researchers from three universities has developed the method, which has applications for biomedical devices, toys, robots, as well as others. (Source: Georgia Institute of Technology)

While other 3D-printing methods devised by researchers have allowed for shape-shifting objects, those objects would change back to the printed shape once the environment changes, Qi said. The new method is novel in that the object that shifts stays that way, he said.

Another advantage to the method is that it is easy to implement, which means a complicated shape change can be achieved quickly and easily, Qi added.

The new 4D objects created by the method can provide various new product features, such as allowing products that could be stacked flat or rolled for shipping and then expanded once in use, researchers said.

The design also is ideal for applications where a designer would like to have the part to change from one complicated shape to another one—“for example, a biomedical stent or biomedical devices that can be used in minimum invasive surgery,” he said. “It may also have the potential for use in electronic devices, or packaging, where some initial parts are put together but later can assemble into a new structure.”

Other applications for the method include the design of robots and toys that have similar design needs, researchers said. They published a paper on their work in a recent edition of the journal Science Advances.

Qi’s team currently is using a commercial printer, which limits their choice of materials. In the future, he said the team hopes to have more materials available to them for better control and better designs.


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Researchers are continuing their work to integrate the method into formal design tools, Qi added.

“We are also exploring potential application for deployable structures and devices in our lab,” he said. “We are also open to industrial collaborations so that our work can be transferred to practical industrial applications.”

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

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Source @DesignNews