Co-Bots can already help with 70-80% of the tasks*
What is it like, when some of the greatest minds in the robotic industry come together and exchange their ideas for the future?
Absolutely fantastic and we are grateful to have been able to join the online panel discussion with Mark Cuban (Entrepreneur and Robotics Investor), Enrico Krog Iversen (founder of Universal Robot and now CEO of OnRobot) and Rob Goldiez (Hirebotics) organized by the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).
As a common-sense among the participants, the crisis certainly did support some movement towards innovation. Further support of this development resulted in the situation that a lot of companies got caught in their supply chain and are often too concentrated on 1-2 suppliers.
In conclusion, the panelists came up with are two reasons that especially drove this development:
- with the help of collaborative robots (Co-Bots), social distancing can be maintained in the factory
- shortage of labor issues can be solved
That is why during Covid, new clients find robotics, especially Co-Bots, very approachable and a good reason to test. In some cases, companies could be delivered with robot automation technology within just a couple of days. According to Mr. Iversen, set up and installation is done in only half a day. In many cases, ROI could be achieved within just 2-3 months.
Is it the right question to ask in which areas robot applications can bring value today or should we rather ask what kind of tasks can be already handled today?
Many companies think they are different and that it is why this and that rather not applies to them. If we think honestly, there are often similar processes across industries and there are a lot of tasks that can be automated today.
For example, all kinds of quality inspections, sorting, surface treatments can be automated easily. Mr. Iversen mentioned that already up to *70-80 % of the tasks that are carried out in a normal factory can be automated today. And it is both safe and easy to work with.
Aren’t you going to take the jobs from the people?
There is a bit of disruption, yes, but not extreme. Compare it with the development in the music industry, from LP to CD to streaming so Mr. Goldiez.
The overall expert’s experience is that robots do not take away jobs, the opposite is the case from their point of you, they create value. In the opinion of the panelists, collaborative applications with Co-Bots create so much more value that it is no wonder that the outlook for the industry is very attractive and smart investors like Mr. Cuban already take part.
Why are so many companies still not using the potential of automation via robots today?
There clearly is a high potential to optimize production but it is often the fear of something new, that holds decision-makers back. So yes, sometimes people are scared of a situation in which a robot does a certain job.
They might think, “It is not useful for us or I can do it better than the robot.” What they do not understand is, that they are not competing with the robot and that it is rather the collaboration between human and robots that creates positive impact.
Moreover, the dirty and dangerous jobs are often boring. Automation can take the boring part out of the workday. People can spend their time creating more value for the company.
The limitation often has to do with a lack of communication and the company decision-makers and owners should be more aware of the tremendous benefits. So it is good news, that most of the concerns can be solved by examples and education.
The expert’s advice: start simple, with a dirty, dollar, dangerous, and/or repeatable job.
Put the people in the position to organize the collaboration with the robot and let the robot do the work. The overall experience is great, the panelists agree. Once established, people love to work with their co-bots and cannot imagine a worklife like before.
Manufacturers are constantly hiring. There will be more people and more automation than ever in the coming years. According to the experts, there is a trend for more customization that leads to flexibility in production while maintaining efficient processes, safe space and fast deployment time at the same time.
The collaborative applications with Co-Bots allow 10-15 faster production times. Since automation competes on the total value creation, it helps manufacturers to be globally competetive.
Automation via robot technology is on the rise. These technologies can optimize the way people work. When implemented thoughtfully, robot automation can improve overall production processes and can help to increase value.