Collaborative robots deployment often has a high visibility throughout all levels of an organization, whether it is in manufacturing, packaging, or research.
What is very clear is that the process of conquering the learning curve and the ease with which the robot operates makes it perfect for easy programming and maintenance which are beneficial to an organization.
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Advantages to be maximized
Return on Investment
This is perhaps the most straightforward aspect where implementation times can quickly add to the upfront cost of a new robotic implementation.
Even if one robot arm is repurposed as needed, each new application will take some amount of time and investment on top of the required hardware. Reducing this time not only increases the flexibility of the platform but the ROI/payback as well.
Capacity and Capability
Depending on the scale of the operation and the associated goals when implementing collaborative robots, it is not always possible for a single person to evaluate the available opportunities and program them all.
Minimizing the technical threshold required to deploy and monitor them makes it much more likely that the same employee doing the automated tasks can be repurposed into a robot explorer hence an easily programmable system can act as a labor multiplier.
Elevate the Workforce
It is common for manufacturers to have difficulty finding employees to do dull, dirty, or dangerous work. The historically low unemployment rate is undoubtedly a good thing for the economy at large, but employers looking to fill operator positions find it hard to make laborious jobs appealing with the widespread availability of jobs.
Strategically re-purposing unskilled workers not only enhances the organization but also the workers’ skill sets, receiving reasonable pay increases to match the added value of the position will increase employee fulfillment. This is a win-win since the employee gains added skills, expertise, and job satisfaction while the company is able to be competitive as an employer thus reducing their turnover.
Downtime and Recovery
Given enough time, any sophisticated system needs troubleshooting, debugging or fixing at some point. The loss of production caused by such downtime often causes intangible drawbacks such as frustrated technicians.
It is therefore important for the platform to be easy and quickly serviceable by having a robust support system in place which helps the end user in times of need.
Because time and resources are limited, there is an opportunity cost for projects whether during deployment or servicing, therefore, programming and support should be accessible to minimize this opportunity cost and further improve the ROI of projects.
How to realize these benefits
One way of tackling the learning curve is by investing in a system designed to be easily programmable. On the universal-robots.com platform, ease of programming is a driving idea behind their cobots interface.
While minimal programming experience always helps in a production task, the time for training on a UR robot is reduced to 1.5 days on average. The UR+ ecosystem also provides a certified list of accessories that are guaranteed to integrate easily with the collaborative robot.
An alternative to obtaining an easy-to-use platform is to develop an internal robotics team and build their expertise in deploying other major industrial robotic brands, effectively creating an in-house integration team. While this does require certain personnel and investments in training for the first application, every subsequent project takes less time as the team conquers the learning curve.
This internal innovation and expertise provide a competitive advantage by granting the ability to quickly increase capacity and capability in industries where new products are regularly brought to market.
If developing a team internally is not possible, it could also be feasible to bring in a third party who will provide support and integration. Acquiring a Collaborative Robot is an exciting proposition, and it is natural that the ease of programming and support is desirable.