The barrier between robot and cobot has continued to blur over time, especially as cobots become more versatile in their overall application and increase their weight tolerances. Some vendors are even exploring dual-mode robots capable of switching between an unguarded cobot mode and a more traditional heavy industrial mode. This blending of capabilities is blurring the line between robots and cobots, with the potential for some robotic deployments to fulfill both roles.
Cobots have seen their role in processing steadily expand as IP69k construction standards, AI/machine learning, and enhanced robot vision systems become more common and affordable. Adoption in processing has also accelerated as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, particularly in the food industry.
In just the last few years, robotic capabilities in primary packaging have expanded significantly. With the advent of tactile sensors, AI-supported vision, and innovative EoAT designs, cobots are finding new roles in primary packaging and expanding their reach into new manufacturing markets. An ongoing challenge for manufacturers will be understanding the depth and breadth of these new capabilities and how to most efficiently apply them.
Cobots are playing a key role in improving the efficiency of secondary packaging operations. From secondary packaging material handling to visual inspection, robots are driving new levels of efficiency and speed that help manufacturers manage production costs and increase throughput.
Source: PMMI Business Intelligence report 2022 Robots and Cobots: An Automated Future.
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