According to international experts, it is increasingly important for European industry to strike a balance between people creating high added value and robotic solutions that perform repetitive tasks. This increases productivity, attractiveness of jobs, and the quality of production. The development of Cobots is one of the ways to achieve this.
The following Announcement is based on the article written by MITA – the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology.
Cobots or collaborative robots are a novelty in the robotics industry. Their rapid success in various industries has led to product innovation, with the emergence of 4 major types of these collaborative robots: Safety Monitored Stop, Speed and Separation, Power and Force Limiting, Hand Guiding. All of these are designed to communicate with people in a common space or to work safely up close. Cobots, unlike traditional industrial robots, are designed to operate autonomously, ensuring safety, security from contact with humans.
Cobots are Making Their Way into Business
Representatives of the Lithuanian Robotics Association (LRA) acknowledge the importance of cooperating robots. They are often described as the future of industries where robots and humans will work together even more efficiently with robots helping with the toughest and most unpleasant tasks and humans will be able to easily train robots for increasingly diverse and complex operations.
Elinta Robotics, one of the founders of the Lithuanian Robotics Association, is among the strongest robotics companies in our country. In Lithuania, it represents the world’s leading robot manufacturer FANUC, which recently released the CR series Cobot (CR-15iA), which can be adapted for lifting heavy loads.
This robot works in such a way that a person uses it as a mechanical assistant, manually pointing the robot to the load and lifting it with the help of a Cobot (lifting capacity reaches up to 35 kg). This way, a human can work right next to it in cooperation and without any danger.
Also, such a Cobot can operate in human trajectories which is the main feature of this robot because it is able to move and then repeat the same movements. This reduces the need for complex robot programming – the Cobot can be trained to perform the necessary operations.
The application of this robot is very wide – from assembly operations, internal logistics (product/raw material transfer, palletizing), packaging, 3PL (3rd party logistics) warehouses, where orders for customers on individual pallets, as well as quality control and other applications.
“In the Lithuanian manufacturing sector, applicability of such robots could be useful for partial, not very fast assembly operations, where one action is performed by a robot, another by a human, then again by a robot, and so on“Aurelijus Beleckis, CEO of Elinta Robotics.
Another applicability of Cobots could be in the service sector: “Already in the world, cobots are baking burgers, pouring beer and making coffee. At present, when the service activities in the world are severely limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, such solutions could also work well,” said Aurelijus Beleckis.
Another application is the integration of Cobots with AGV autonomous robots. According to A.Beleckis, such solutions could increase the efficiency of e-commerce warehouses and e-food stores or completely change the collectors of goods. In the goods/food warehouses Cobots together with AGV robots could assemble orders and deliver them for export, or (un)load the shelves and work without disturbing the customers in the store.
“The current trend for large corporations is making Cobots one of the priority plans. When annual plans and investments are considered, they receive a lot of attention. Therefore, it is also related to the development of the company’s image. As cobot technology is not yet so developed, these companies feel obliged to contribute to its development. Like electric cars or solar panels – which have not yet paid off so much, but are very popular in society”, Aurelijus Beleckis, CEO at “Elinta Robotics”, shared his thoughts.
Cobots take part in international projects
The robotics company Factobotics, another founding member of the Lithuanian Robotics Association, won the first international internal logistics L4MS competition in 2018. The L4MS project aims to promote innovation in the field of internal logistics robots and to improve the internal logistics of European Union companies.
In the new project, an internal logistics solution OHTider was developed in cooperation with the sewing company Devold.
This solution works like a spider robot, which moves freely around the desired area with the help of 4 cables and delivers raw materials/sewing clothes to the tailors in the workshop. Since one garment can have more than 10 operations performed by another sewing operator, there is a lot of logistics work in the sewing workshop.
At the moment Devold productivity growth is limited by the traditional raw material logistics systems – wooden carts used in the sewing department. The new system is unique in that, instead of the floor-driving autonomous mobile robots, logistics will be performed over sewing-operators’ heads, not only saving floor space, but also optimally controlling the path of raw materials and work in progress between different sewing operations.
This unique system can be considered a Cobot, as it will work together with employees, close to people, without excessive safety measures. Security is considered the central axis of this robot.
Factobotics, together with Devold, plans to co-establish a spin-off company and further commercialize this unique in-house logistics solution on the market.
MITA Pojects to Promote Robotics
Digitization is most emphasized as a means for manufacturing companies to remain competitive in order to increase production efficiency and develop new high value-added products. At a time when the world is facing the COVID-19 outbreak, digitization has its advantages – easily accessible data, smooth work organization, uninterrupted production chain.
MITA carries out various projects aimed at promoting digitization and robotization:
- Lithuanian Robotics Association takes part in the Smart Inotech for Industry project and provides consultations to industrial companies, starting with the assessment of the company’s level of digitization (audit) and prepares recommendations for specific technologies in order to increase the efficiency of the company’s operations. Find more information HERE.
- The InterinoLT project is focused on innovative Lithuanian companies, revealing their potential in the international market. In order to realize that potential as successfully as possible, a business needs all kinds of help – from assessing the potential of the company’s services and products, evaluating opportunities for realization in the international market, finding customers or partners to attracting investments. Project experts are ready to help Lithuanian companies.
- AI BOOST is an initiative of MITA to promote the artificial intelligence ecosystem in Lithuania. During the initiative, consultations are provided to companies and start-ups on the issues of artificial intelligence, discussions on the topic of artificial intelligence in society are encouraged and Lithuanian achievements in the field of artificial intelligence in Lithuania and abroad are announced.