The labour market has undergone significant changes in recent years, partly driven by the pandemic and evolving immigration regulations. Businesses are seeking advanced technologies to work alongside humans in response to the changing environment. As a result, one popular solution arising on the scene is the integration of collaborative robots, often called “cobots”. This trend is gaining substantial recognition across diverse sectors, including construction, automotive, agriculture, healthcare, and, notably, the food industry.
In this blog post, we will delve into collaborative robotics’ advantages and practical applications, especially focusing on its transformative role in food production processes.
What are collaborative robots?
According to the Robotics Industry Association (RIA), collaborative robots, or cobots, are specifically engineered to cooperate with human counterparts within a shared workspace. Unlike traditional robots operating behind barriers or in isolation, cobots are designed to enhance productivity and improve working conditions by assisting with tasks that require precision rather than completely replacing human workers. In other words, in this collaborative environment, cobots are primarily responsible for handling repetitive and ordinary tasks, freeing human employees to focus on more complex responsibilities. Therefore, cobots are different from regular types of machinery because they are known for their accuracy, reliability, and repetitive capabilities, complementing their human partners’ cognitive and problem-solving skills.
What are the benefits of collaborative robots?
A recent report shows that cobot sales are projected to reach $5.6 billion in 2027, which accounts for almost one-third of the entire robotics market. This shockingly high number resulted from the numerous benefits and potential that cobots can bring to businesses. Here are some of the significant advantages of collaborative robotics:
1. Improved Safety
The ability of cobots to collaborate with humans without elaborate safety barriers or cages is one of their main advantages. They have cutting-edge sensors and safety features that enable them to recognise and react to the presence of people, lowering the possibility of injuries.
2. Easy Integration
Cobots are often made to integrate easily into current production systems and lines, minimising interruption and downtime while being implemented.
Collaborative robots are created with the capability to be effortlessly programmed and reprogrammed to perform a wide range of tasks. Thus, this adaptability enables them to respond to evolving production requirements effectively, enabling swift configuration across different applications.
4. Quick Return on Investment
In many cases, cobots can offer a relatively short payback period due to their ability to increase production efficiency, reduce labour costs, and improve product quality.
5. Enhance Employees’ Satisfaction
By automating dangerous, tiring, repetitive and monotonous tasks, cobots allow human employees to focus on more engaging and creative aspects of their jobs. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and motivation.
Collaborative robots’ applications in food industries
Now that we’ve established the benefits and their versatility in various scenarios, let’s explore some real-life examples of how cobots are applied within the food sector.
1. Fruit Picking
The future in the food industry: Millitec’s perspective
The rapid growth in the collaborative robotics market indicates a promising future for this technology, especially within the food industry.
Furthermore, Millitec is well-equipped to leverage advancements in food automation production. Our unwavering commitment to innovation will deliver cutting-edge solutions that meet the sector’s ever-changing needs. Whether it’s robotics, conveyors, or packaging equipment, we’re here to provide holistic solutions that streamline your food production processes and elevate your business to new heights.