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Cobots will play an important role in helping to fill the UK’s skills gap

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Traditional robots certainly have their place in the realm of modern manufacturing and their abilities are continuing to impress us. However, they can be expensive, inflexible and complex which can pose problems for companies. 

cobots robots manufacturing skills gap future of robots

(Imaged sourced via Kuka)

Peter Machin, field application engineer at Rethink Robotics said:

“What might start out as a £20,000 or £30,000 industrial robot arm can cost well over £100,000 to finally implement on the factory floor, then it takes up enough space to build a house on.”

Collaborative robots

Cobots are small, lightweight, easy to programme and most importantly, they are clever. Appearing more than 50 years ago, following research funded by General Motors, they are an efficient way for companies to take their first step into the world of robotics. With enhanced safety functions such as soft skin and force-limiting sensors, they are perfect for working in close proximity to humans. 

Machin added: 

“What we want to automate now are the repetitive human tasks. They tend to be straightforward: pick that part up and place it somewhere else.” 

“The robot is really like another fellow worker. It’s not seen as a threat and we’re seeing it actually create employment.”

Working alongside people, Cobots can handle tasks such as lifting and handling which leaves tasks that require specific skills down to the humans. It also assists people with avoiding injury as the robots are undertaking the dangerous tasks. Another advantage is that Cobots, along with pre-programming, can be moved and be up and running within minutes. 

Jaguar Land Rover has implemented Cobots at their Solihull plant where they perform various tasks such applying sealant, picking up and moving car parts, and fitting objects to vehicles. 

Cobots will play an important role in helping to fill the UK’s skills gap by freeing-up human time to enable us to do tasks that require more dexterity. 

Fircroft is currently recruiting for a wide variety of manufacturing jobs. Register with Fircroft today to apply.

Tags: Engineering
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