Welcome to the ultimate duel between cobots and robots!
For decades, conventional industrial robots have reigned supreme in manufacturing. They have offered business automation solutions that can complete repetitive tasks and reduce manual labor.
Recently, collaborative robots have entered the ring as enemies of conventional industrial robots. They may look like some conventional industrial robots, but they are lighter and easier to use. Businesses have started adopting cobots at an impressive pace.
Which is the best? Cobots or robots?
It’s time to put these two types of robots in competition once and for all.
Get ready for our duel between cobots and conventional robots.
Let’s meet our competitors!
Competitor 1: Conventional industrial robots
In the first corner we have a conventional industrial robot, a machine designed for speed and strength.
Industrial robots have been used for nearly 70 years in automated manufacturing processes. They are typically used for high-speed, repetitive tasks such as welding, painting, and assembling large parts. They have the advantage of being able to work quickly and efficiently once placed on a task of their choosing.
For decades, robots have been pitted against humans for their increased speed, accuracy, and regularity. In most cases, industrial robots win…and human workers are not always happy!
Conventional industrial robots are often large and powerful, requiring safety barriers to avoid harm to humans…a formidable foe.
Industrial robots perform machine feeding operations.
Competitor 2: Collaborative robot
On the opposite corner, we have a newcomer to automation: collaborative robots.
Cobots are designed to work alongside humans, providing extra assistance on the production line or for other tasks. They are often smaller and lighter than conventional industrial robots, requiring less time, budget and energy to operate.
This isn’t the first time cobots have faced off against their robotic cousins. In recent decades, they have also been challenged by humans for their safety and regularity in tasks. And, often, humans seem more satisfied with these associations than conventional robots.
Let the duels begin!
Robots and cobots each have their advantages and disadvantages.
Conventional industrial robots can become very powerful and efficient machines capable of performing complex production tasks repeatedly for months on end. However, implementing them takes time and is expensive.
Cobots, on the other hand, are lighter and more affordable than conventional robots. They are easier to program and can work safely with humans. However, they tend to be slower and less powerful.
Who will win in our duel?
Let the competition begin!
Chapter 1: La force
The first half is power. In terms of strength, industrial robots tend to be stronger. Some can lift hundreds of pounds with ease.
Cobots, on the other hand, have a more modest lifting capacity. Even with higher payload capacity cobots on the market, such as the UR20 with a payload capacity of 20 kg, this is still not much.
Round 2: Speed
In terms of speed, robots are generally superior and are able to move at great speeds unattainable by humans… but the comparison is not that simple.
Traditional industrial robots generally move much faster than cobots, allowing them to perform complex tasks quickly and efficiently. Cobots often move slowly, but only to respect the safety margins around humans. They can often move at the same speed as robots.
Round 3: Flexibility
When it comes to flexibility and versatility, cobots are at the forefront. You can quickly and easily reprogram cobots to perform a variety of tasks. Switching between program and robot tasks can be done in just a few minutes.
With conventional robots, reprogramming is usually a long and arduous process, requiring production to be stopped while it is in progress.
Round 4: Cost
The true cost of a robotic solution can be difficult to clarify. With conventional industrial robots, there are various extras that you have to pay for that may not always be obvious at first.
Cobots are generally more affordable. Plus, its ease of use means you don’t have to pay high integration fees to get it up and running.
Chapter 5: Security
This was the round where the cobots had an “unfair advantage”.
Traditional industrial robots must be enclosed or require special security systems to operate safely in the vicinity of humans.
Cobots are designed and built with human safety in mind. You can house cobots in your facility without guardrails and know that your human workers will be safe beside them.
Chapter 6: Efficiency
In terms of effectiveness, it’s a tough contest to judge.
What is efficiency in terms of robotics? What kind of efficiency are we talking about?
There are various forms of efficiency. Conventional robots can be efficient because they move and complete tasks quickly. But cobots can be efficient because they take less time to program.
Chapter 7: Heavy
There’s no denying that industrial robots are real monsters in terms of weight. Industrial robots can weigh 3 or 4 times the weight of a cobot with the same load capacity.
Heavier doesn’t mean better. The higher weight of a conventional robot means you need a stronger support structure underneath and makes it more difficult to move the robot.
Chapter 8: Precision
Conventional industrial robots generally have an advantage when it comes to precision, and for a simple reason: rigidity. The heavy structure has the advantage of generally making the robot more rigid, which can improve its accuracy.
Some cobots are as accurate as some conventional robots, but in general robots are more accurate.
Chapter 9: Usefulness
The final round is ease of use. And here the cobot clearly wins.
Conventional industrial robots require special programming and maintenance which can be time consuming and difficult for those without robotics skills.
Cobot is designed to be much more user friendly. Its intuitive interface allows almost anyone to quickly learn how to program and maintain cobots.
And the winner is…
After a long and fierce battle, the winner is… the cobot!
But there is a minus…
As with any technology, the real answer to the question “Which is best for me?” is … it depends!
In our duels, cobots may have the advantage in terms of cost, safety, and ease of use. But the type you need depends on your specific needs. It’s up to you to decide which factors are important to you.
Whether you choose a cobot or a conventional robot, both offer sophisticated automation solutions that can dramatically increase the efficiency and consistency of your tasks.