How has the pandemic affected the global Cobot market?
The global pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in countries worldwide significantly impacted the economy in 2020. As a result, employees were furloughed, businesses closed, and many like Esteé Lauder went entirely digital.
As we have slowly emerged from the ravages of Covid-19 and life is starting to look more familiar, businesses are facing another hurdle in their efforts to bounce back from the restrictions they faced during the height of the pandemic.
Due in part to ‘The Great Resignation’, the global job market has seen companies struggling to find the talent they need to help them take advantage of the resurgence in economic activity. In the UK, vacancies rose to a record high of almost 1.3 million in the three months to January 2022, an increase of 690,000 over the same period in 2021.
In many industries, businesses are looking to robotics, particularly Cobots, to help increase efficiency and productivity while allowing their current employees to take on other more complex tasks.
How are Cobots helping companies across the world boost productivity with less staff?
A key driver in manufacturing for automation using Cobots is the shortage of employees and the difficulty in recruitment. Though this can’t all be blamed on the pandemic as it is estimated in the US alone, 2,000 baby boomers are retiring every day in the manufacturing sector, removing their years of expertise from the operations.
Additionally, industries that have traditionally resisted any form of automation are now finding ways to utilise Cobots to improve productivity, efficiency and safety. For example, construction companies are beginning to automate installing dry walling using Cobot arms with astonishing accuracy while saving human workers the risk of ergonomic strain or injury.
Other sectors embracing automation, particularly Cobots, to enhance efficiency and overcome the issues with the current talent shortage include scanning robots in grocery stores to check on stock levels to automated vacuum cleaners that work entirely in the background saving 60 – 70% of the cost of commercial cleaning.
Cobots are proving to be popular in eCommerce fulfilment centres in the US, enabling a
200% increase in productivity working alongside the human workforce.
How Cobots are changing Manufacturing and industry
Cobots are revolutionising how the human workforce can work safely and collaboratively with robots in the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Traditionally robots used in heavy industry have to be shielded to protect the human workforce working in their vicinity. This is because they have no way of knowing if anything is in their way; they’re there to perform a task, but their size can be a danger to others in the same area.
On the other hand, Cobots are specifically designed to work in close proximity to humans and are inherently safe. This safe working environment is achieved by power and force limiting, speed and separation monitoring and safety monitored stops. They are also fitted with an array of sensors for tactile sensitivity, accelerometers, 3D cameras and lasers to trigger an action.
Cobots aren’t designed to remove the need for your employees but to work alongside them and enhance productivity and efficiency while reducing the need to employ additional staff, which given the difficulty that employers in every sector are facing, can only be a good thing.
Most surprisingly is the cost of Cobots compared to traditional robots. GEKU Cobots start from as little as £16,000, and they have models with payload capacities between 3kg and 20kg. Compared to large, non-collaborative robots, this cost is significantly less and the payback far quicker.
Industries that have traditionally used robotics for decades, like the auto industry, which use them for welding and spraying, have begun to consider Cobots for final assembly jobs.
For example, Dutch car maker Stellantis N.V. uses Cobots for final assembly in their factory in Turin, Italy, which produces the new electric Fiat 500. Tesla has said it plans to launch a humanoid robot to work in its factories alongside its regular employees, initially carrying items around its factories but could address the labour shortage issue over time.
GEKU, a leading supplier of industrial robots, can now provide a range of Cobots from dexterous and nimble at the smaller end of the scale to larger Cobots that can lift and stack items or unload vehicles.
GEKU’s Cobots are suitable for businesses who want to begin their automation journey without the prohibitive costs of traditional industrial robots.
With the skills gap that currently exists in manufacturing and other industries, Cobots may be a way to transform production processes without significantly impacting your human employees.
Several cobots are available ‘off-the-shelf’, giving the flexibility to suit various needs. When customised with various tools like cameras, suction cups and welding tips, they have endless applications.
If you’d like to learn more about Geku cobots and see what they are capable of doing, we’d be happy to come to your premises to demonstrate our cutting edge range of cobots or alternatively, visit our facility in Kent to see for yourself how versatile and safe our cobots are and the impact they could have on your productivity and profitability.
Call Chris Burton to book a demonstration.
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